In the inaugural conference of the International Center for Self-Care Research held in Rome, Italy, they concluded that people with chronic conditions need to assume responsibility for their own health and be actively involved in self-care. Many other similar research and studies, also highlighted the importance of a regular, intentional process of devoting oneself to preserving and sustaining mental health.
The World Health Organization officially recognizes workplace ‘burnout’ as an occupational phenomenon. Mounting pressure to do and be everything at work, and at home, only breeds exhaustion, overstimulation, and anguish. Sadly, we often don’t recognize that toxic stress that may be negatively affecting our health until we get sick.
Taking breaks, rest, and time off seem like luxuries in this age of hurriedness. Though the idea of self-care gets a lot of attention lately, the first self-care publication was in 1946, with a peak in 2015 when 2457 articles were published, I often find resistance to the suggestion of self-care in my clinical work. Many people still struggle to understand what it means and how to get enough of it. It is certainly not just a feel-good or self-indulgent sentiment.
Self-care helps shape our mood and our stress levels, whether we feel overwhelmed or in control. It is the way you choose to live your life, and this includes how you relate to yourself and your environment every moment of the day. Engaging in self-care is a way of flagging yourself that you matter amid stressful situations.
“An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly.” – Unknown
Self-care can come in different forms:
- Breathing Space: Getaway, at least for a while, from toxic people, duties, environment, etc.
- Community: Build a stable and positive support system with friends and family and do spend time with them.
- Self Talk: Be aware of your habits of unhelpful thinking and silent the inner noxious critic.
- Lifestyle Choices: Ensure you have a quality sleep pattern, eat well, hydrate yourself regularly, and good exercise habits.
- Leisure: Finding opportunity and space that you can enjoy the moment in activities from which you get lost in. There is life after work!
- Learn to Say “NO “: Set mental boundaries. When you feel nervous about offending others and tend to rate others’ needs more highly than your own, it is a sure sign that you’re heading for burnout.
- Prayers: Prayers are often contemplative and reflective; as such, it allows for inner healing as you become attentive to the movements within you, and how your external experiences are affecting you. Prayer is not only the place you can grapple with your pain but also where you can find inner peace.
Engaging in self-care does not need a lot of time, money, or finding new exotic novel activities. Start with finding your breathing space, changing your self-talk, taking care of your physical and emotional health, and being mindful of your lifestyle choices; you will be well on your way to living a genuinely self-caring life.
“Self-compassion is simply giving the same kindness to ourselves that we would give to others.” – Christopher Germer
“He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters… He RESTores my soul.” Psalm 23:2-3
“He said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some REST.'” Mark 6:31
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
“Nourishing yourself in a way that helps you blossom in the direction you want to go is attainable, and you are worth the effort.” – Deborah Day
Fred Tokè aka Dr. Tokèmon