Some people have been taught that focusing on oneself in selfish. To this I pose the following question: “If we do not care for ourselves, how will be able to be present and healthy in order to assist others?” The answer is clear: We will not be able to help others unless we first take good care of ourselves. Therefore, self-care is NOT selfish, but essential. The following are ways in which one can develop good a Self-Care Regimen:
- Sleep Hygiene: Good sleep is essential to health and wellbeing. 7-8 hours are encouraged. Sleep problems ought to be addressed promptly.
- Healthy Diet: Just as the quality of the fuel you use to fuel an engine determines its level of performance, so the human body responds to the food you put into it.
- Proper Exercise: The human body was designed to be active. A minimum of 20 minutes of exercise, 4-5 times a week is highly recommended.
- Medical Care: Regular check-ups and treatment of any existing conditions will assist with quality of life and longevity.
- Emotional Care: Emotions are a very important part of who we are as human beings. They are not “bad” or “wrong.” Therefore, we ought to attend to our emotions rather than suppress them. If we struggle emotionally, we do well to seek out help from a skilled Therapist.
- Spiritual Care: It is currently widely accepted that there is more to matter and existence than “meets the eye.” Hence, many people find that a well-developed spiritual life adds great value to the quality of their lives.
- Hobbies: Interests beyond work are an essential part of a life well lived. Consider activities that you just inherently like and enjoy, then seek opportunities to participate in them whenever possible.
- Social Connections: Humans are social beings, so it is important to maintain good relationships with others and to enjoy fellowship and activities with them. A few close friendships are better than multiple acquaintances.
- Gratitude & Savoring: Taking stock of all the good things in our lives and allowing ourselves to deeply appreciate and enjoy them takes us beyond “fleeting moments of happiness,” and into true fulfillment and deep contentment in our lives.
- FUN!!: Sometimes we just need to let go and enjoy some good, clean FUN. When was the last time you danced, laughed, and felt completely free? Be a kid again. Be spontaneous. Let loose a little (responsibly, of course).
Dr. Michael E. Ludwig, PhD