Self-care is more than playing hooky.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Taking care of yourself

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Don’t confuse self-care with trips to the spa or vegetating.

When you hear the term self-care, do you think pampering? There’s a lot more to self-care than scented candles or taking an extra day off. Human beings are complicated. We need to take care of both our physical bodies and our emotional lives. Examine the various aspects of your life and make sure you are including self-care in everything you do.

Car care doesn’t involve letting the car sit in the driveway. A car that isn’t driven slowly deteriorates. If you’re not challenging yourself, you’re not growing. Include forward motion, moving towards goals as part of your self-care. Self-care may also consist of a life makeover.

Self-care includes increasing your self-confidence by tackling challenges.

Self-care includes training for that marathon or writing that novel, maybe both. When people age, the major regrets they have are often for the things, they didn’t do. I’ve never heard anybody say they regretted not spending more days sitting on the couch. I have heard people say they always wanted to learn a foreign language or finish a college degree.

Self-care needs to include self-improvement.

Stretch yourself both physically and mentally. Join a gym or take up exercising. Take up a hobby. Sign up for that class whether it’s in person or online. Anything that requires effort on your part can also bring emotional rewards. Do things you can check off on your list of life goals. Look here for more information about making self-care a part of your self-improvement program. 

Do something at the edge of your comfort zone.

Avoiding things that make you uncomfortable may feel like you’re protecting yourself from anxiety, but if you avoid that anxiety for very long, your comfort zone will continue to shrink. Self-care can include challenging herself to do things that feel just a little uncomfortable or scary.

Self-care includes getting rid of things that are holding back.

Eliminate the things that are holding you down. Trying to do too many things results in not getting anything done. Self-care includes giving up activities that you’re doing because you “have to” not because you want to. Pulling out the weeds allows room for the plants to grow. Eliminating unnecessary activities allows you to grow.

Cut the toxic people out of your life.

Examine your relationships. If your relationships can be improved, put the work in. The people you spend time will influence the way you feel. If someone in your life is dealing with a mental health challenge, then encourage them to get help. Eliminate negative people from your life where possible. If there are negative people you absolutely must deal with, try to limit the time you spend with them.

Doing less accomplishes more.

Businesses periodically take an inventory, and they get rid of the things on the shelves that take up space but don’t contribute to making a profit. It’s a good practice to inventory your life periodically. Eliminate as many of those needless activities as possible so that you free up time to spend on the important things. Stop spending so much time reading emails and spend a little time unsubscribing to the mailing lists that don’t bring your life any benefits.

Reevaluating your goals is a part of self-care.

Don’t be the person lost in the woods wandering around in circles. Don’t waste your life pursuing goals that don’t matter. Time spent getting clear on your values and decided whether what you are doing is taking you towards the goals you really want to reach is time well spent. Don’t waste time pursuing goals that are no longer meaningful to you.

Self-care includes time spent maintaining your body.

Sleep is not a waste of time. It is an essential ingredient in self-care. Your body has a natural rhythm. While people vary slightly in their need for sleep if you’re not meeting your bodies need, your lack of sleep will increase negative emotions like depression, anxiety, and irritability. Getting plenty of sleep will make for a happier, healthier you.

Include a healthy diet in your self-care.

A healthy diet doesn’t have to be bland and boring. Occasional indulgence makes life more fun. Try to include a lot of healthy food in your diet, so the occasional splurge doesn’t become your regular diet.

How will you go about improving the self-care you do in every part of your life?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Four David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

Planned Accidents  The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon.

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.