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Self care is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. It honestly doesn’t matter whether you have trauma memories, other mental health concerns, physical concerns, or none of the above. Without self-care, we will become a person we do not want to be and generally are not. I am sitting here on vacation and the first thing I said to myself is “I’m on vacation, I’m not going to blog this week.” However, as I thought about it more, I decided to do so because it is a reminder to myself just how important vacation and self-care is. By writing about self-care, I am reminding myself what self-care is and why we use it. It actually reinforces self-care by writing about it. So, I decided I will take a few minutes this morning to write about self-care.

What is self-care first of all? Self-care is anything you do that rejuvenates and replenishes you. Everyone has a different definition of what rejuvenates and replenishes them, but generally it is anything that gets you away from the day-to-day grind and stress. It does not have to be long, like a vacation, to be self-care. Self-care can be: massage, acupressure/acupuncture, reiki, walking/jogging/exercise, meditation, going out with friends/family, laughing, taking a day trip somewhere, using your senses (putting on lotion, looking at a beach scene, listening to relaxing music, eating your favorite food), spending time with your significant other just the two of you – away from the kids, using breathing techniques, and much more. Please comment on any self-care techniques I missed that you use. The more ideas out there, the better. Sometimes it is hard to think of ideas for self-care in the middle of stress!

Work can be very stressful (work can be any job you have that you get paid for or it can be other things such as parenting, or caregiving for a loved one). This stress causes many physical problems from high blood pressure to heart problems, to digestive problems, to headaches, to repetitive injury problems (carpel tunnel), and more. If we don’t take the time to separate from the stresses causing these physical problems, they can intensify and impact different areas of our lives. Just decreasing stress for 30 minutes per day in the middle of that stress can have beneficial health benefits. However, this generally isn’t enough. It is important to make time for self-care regularly. Go for that massage monthly, go on that vacation you “don’t have time for.” Treat yourself. Make yourself a priority and you will stay the person you are and want to be.

What are some of your barriers to self-care? Sometimes people believe they need to do it all – nobody can do the job as well as I can. If I’m not here, things will get missed or done wrong. Sometimes people don’t have the needed support (child or elder care), sometimes people believe self-care is selfish, sometimes people think they have to have money and don’t have it. Whatever your barriers to self-care, talk about it here or with someone who you trust. It is important to work through those barriers so you stay healthy. You cannot do what you currently do if you are not healthy!

As I said above, I am blogging while on vacation. To me, this blog is a reminder of how important self-care is. However, I have not checked my work email, I have not done anything else that is work-related. This is a time for me; to rejuvenate and replenish so when I return to work, I will be ready and have the energy to do what I love doing.

In America, we are in a work-aholic culture right now. This mind frame is not a good one. Good work ethics is important, but working yourself into health problems is not. I hope you are able to discuss what some of your barriers to self-care are, you are able to work on these barriers to decrease them, and are able to use self-care regularly to stay happy and healthy!

Please share any comments you have!