January 22, 2021

Self Care is a term that is used often, but unfortunately it is not in the proper context. To start, what is Self Care? We touched on the topic in my Cleaning Article. To dive in further, Self Care looks different for everyone. Anything mentioned in this article may not be beneficial for you personally. With that being said, let’s begin.

Self Care = taking care of yourself. Sometimes Self Care is as simple as a shower. For those of us with depression and/or anxiety, keeping up with Self Care tasks can be near impossible. The fatigue that goes hand in hand can further complicate things. It isn’t easy to take care of yourself when you have a million thoughts buzzing through your brain. That’s why I want to bring Building Blocks to your attention. Also known as the Hierarchy of Self Care. It can look overwhelming, to take back your life. A good place to start is to recognize all of the tools you already have. Naturally, you have muscles to stretch, teeth to smile, eyes to rest, and hands and fingers to write. I love to start with a list of things I am currently grateful for. Here’s the fun part. You can choose to be grateful for anything you’d like. You may be thinking “I don’t have a job that I like!” or “I live far away from my family.” And while it’s important to recognize those immediate feelings, it is equally as important to remember how much you actually have. You can write down that you are thankful for things like: “The sun, moon, and stars.” Or even a pet, a song, or ice cream. Don’t discount these small things in your life. Every day there is at least one thing to be grateful for. After you have your gratitude list, read it over slowly. If you think of more things, add them. Be as extensive as you wish. After all, this is your unique list. The best part is you don’t have to show anybody. Your spelling doesn’t have to be perfect, you can write it in a crayon you found on the floor. And at the end of the day, that’s yours. Own that. 

Your list is a good way to jump start Self Care, but what if you are laying in bed and feeling empty? You don’t have energy to create a list, or even think of anything to write on it. Here is how the 5 minute rule comes into play. According to “The 5-minute rule is a cognitive behavioral therapy technique for procrastination in which you set a goal of doing whatever it is you would otherwise avoid, but only do it for five minutes. If after five minutes it’s so horrible that you have to stop, you are free to do so. Mission accomplished. Done. However, what most people find is that after five minutes of doing something, it’s easy to continue until the task is done. Setting the intention and starting is usually the hardest part.” Let me repeat that. Setting the intention and starting is usually the hardest part. I know we have all experienced the feeling of not wanting to get up in the morning and get ready for work, a doctor’s appointment, etc. But once we are up? The hardest part is over. You need to get past the mental block that is telling you the task is too much to tackle. According to the 5 minute rule, if you can’t continue after working on the task for 5 minutes, it’s completely okay to stop. Give yourself grace. Especially when it comes to Self Care. 

So sometimes bubble baths and candles are enough to pull us out of a funk but what happens when the root of the issue isn’t resolved? This results in a trauma cycle. The good news, according to Wrestling Ghosts: “Rest assured, the brain is reparable, and it is very possible for us to mend, to transform our lives, and to break the cycle of trauma. Once we can comprehend how childhood trauma has impacted our own body and brain, we can begin to identify how we’re stuck, and start the next step: our healing journey.”

So, we have lot of work to do don’t we? Start with baby steps. I assure you, every other building block will become easier to climb. To quote a favorite show of mine: “It gets easier. Every day it gets a little easier. But you gotta do it every day —that’s the hard part. But it does get easier.” (Bojack Horseman)  

Take care of yourself, Friends. 

Thanks for reading. 

Veronica – Weekly Wellness

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