Self-care has become associated with giving ourselves luxurious treatments such as a day at the spa, a body massage, an exotic vacation, or a mani-pedi. While these activities are great for our well-being and can be part of a self-care routine, self-care is more than pampering yourself. It is developing a deeper relationship with yourself. Self-care is getting to know yourself on a deeper level and making yourself a priority, taking responsibility for your well-being, happiness, health, and needs.
“Self-care is being willing and committed to rejuvenate your soul and find your center—the place of unshakable peace and stability where you can weather the storms of life.” Self-care is learning to set healthy boundaries in relationships, forgive yourself for absolutely everything, or let go of a job that no longer serves you. It can also be: taking care of neglected medical/dental needs or saying no to toxic demands. It is not always about feeling good but achieving balance in your life and nurturing your mind, body, and soul.
Self-care is unique to each individual. What works for another may not work for you. You have to pay attention to your own needs and what is out of balance in your life. There are many dimensions of self-care, and they include: physical, spiritual, emotional, intellectual, vocational, and social. Each of these dimensions is part of a whole and needs to be acknowledged to achieve a balanced life. Engaging regularly in self-care activities enables you to face any circumstances in your life. The benefits are immeasurable.
The first step in a self-care routine is assessing where you need more care or balance in your life. Self-are is not always an easy path to follow. For example, let say that you are involved in a toxic relationship. You have hesitated about leaving the relationship, thinking that you can change the person by loving them. In this situation, self-care may mean seeking professional help. Self-care is an act of love you give to yourself.
Once you have identified what your needs are, you may want to start with something simple. Some suggestions include: spending time in nature, breathing deeply, starting a gratitude journal, living in the present moment, meditating, listening to the still small voice within, eating healthy and nourishing foods, being kind to yourself, or getting enough quality sleep. No matter what you chose to do, self-care connects you to your true self: one with God.
Rev. Dr. Maryse Nazon is a multilingual minister, psychotherapist, consultant, coach, college professor, and trainer. She holds a Doctoral degree in Psychology, Master of Divinity, is a certified Substance Abuse Counselor (CADC) and Co-Occurring Substance Use and Mental Health Disorder Professional (CODP I). She is currently the Alcohol and Other Drug of Abuse (AODA) Certification Program Coordinator at Chicago State University. She is the mother of one daughter.