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Self-Care as Prevention

Self-care has become the new buzzword in mental health, recalling images of yoga, meditation, and treating oneself to various methods of relaxation. While all these activities can be helpful, self-care should be perceived as efforts to prevent significant mental health issues. Self-care does not have to cost money or take hours to complete and should be a daily focus on those activities and behaviors that help us to cope with the stress of daily life, whatever that looks like.

It would be nice to be able to go to yoga or get a massage every week, but for most of us that is a luxury that is unattainable. When considering how to practice self-care, we should be thinking about how we talk to ourselves and practice self-compassion. Silencing that inner voice that tells us we are not doing enough, that we are not good enough, is an important self-care skill. Giving permission to be kind to ourselves and take time for relaxation is the first step.

We all have so many obligations and responsibilities in our lives that we often let self-care fall away, thinking that we do not have time for it. One of the easiest ways to rectify this is to set reminders in our phones for self-care activities, even if it is just 5 minutes of deep breathing or journaling. Using a positive mantra throughout the day such as “I am good enough; I have done enough” can inspire more positive thought patterns. Fostering supportive relationships with family and friends that can pick us up when we are struggling is essential to self-care. Self-care is not about indulgence but about the prevention of burnout and mental health deterioration. A little can go a long way.

Original material found at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/rethink-your-way-the-good-life/201910/self-care-isn-t-selfish-or-superficial?collection=1134550