Self-care is essentially self-preservation. It is taking steps to ensure that you maintain physical, mental, spiritual and emotional health. I believe it also means balancing physical, mental, spiritual and emotional wellness as sometimes we are quick to focus on one aspect of self-care and neglect another.
During the University of Maryland School of Social Work orientation, faculty stressed the importance of self-care. I thought this was wonderful and therefore started to assess myself. I realized that I felt that I was targeting all the aspects of self-care, but I honestly wasn’t. I decided to set pen to paper and think of positive aspects of self-care that I am already incorporating into my life, as well as deficits in my self-care. I realized one of the most significant deficits is on my physical wellness.
Self-care can be developed/taught. From a young age, we are taught the importance of hygiene and therefore incorporate routines, i.e., brushing our teeth, combing our hair etc. Thus, for us to teach ourselves self-care, we need to set routines.
How do you make it work? Well, through a self-care plan! A self-care plan is essential because you can prioritize self-care in your life. In Swahili, there is a proverb that states, Usipoziba ufa, utajenga ukuta. In direct translation, it means if you don’t fix a crack, you will build a wall. This proverb is true to self-care. If you don’t address the small issues and problems, they will fester and become more significant problems. If you don’t pro-actively take care of yourself, you may suffer burn out or worse.
I am happy to report that I completed my self-care planning last week. During my preparation, it dawned on me that physical wellness was difficult to implement given the nature of my busy life. It is easy for me to reach for junk food as I am short of time juggling kids, work and school. I am currently re-evaluating my physical wellness plan to ensure that I implement it successfully. I am aware that self-care may take some effort, it may also be difficult- but I must be committed to sticking to it!
Remember, it is not selfish for you to care for yourself. Conduct a self-assessment to see how well you are caring for yourself then start a self-care plan!