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Self-care: Why it deserves a place at the top of your to-do list by Amy Keys


CARE_LG.thumb.jpg.5b8a2c8103641732c9febde87aae6d4b.jpgThe term self-care is becoming trendy, which means you may have heard someone talk about it at some point.  What is it though?  Put simply, it’s caring for yourself, just like it sounds.  So many people spend the whole day making sure everyone around them is taken care of while continually bumping their own care down lower and lower on the to-do list.  Essentially, the more time put towards self-care, the longer you can go between burnouts. 

I used to work for the State Police, and under special circumstances, troopers could provide a gas transfer to a citizen.  You see, if the trooper had not made sure that his or her own tank was full first, then they would be completely useless in helping the citizen in need.  To be the very best mom, sister, daughter, wife, employee, and friend, it’s important to take time to fill up your tank too. Otherwise, there is nothing to give to others. 

Besides having more to give to others, there are health benefits too.  Let’s brush up quickly about dysautonomia, which is dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system.  Within the autonomic nervous system are two parts, the parasympathetic nervous system, and the sympathetic nervous system.  Those of us who suffer from different forms of dysautonomia have a broad goal of activating the parasympathetic nervous system in a healthy way. In fact, research suggests that plenty of self-care activities can enable your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS).  Activating your PNS places your body into a more restful and rejuvenating state.  This can strengthen your immune system as well as make healthy strides towards calming the dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system.  Therefore, more self-care, possibly fewer dysautonomia flares, as well as fewer colds and cases of flu interrupting your year. 

Self-care can be difficult at times because it means saying “no.”  It means saying you can’t fit in that other meeting and take on that additional project.  It means you can’t head up every club and run all the fundraisers.  At the end of the day, you need time for your health- physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  This may look different to different people, but it’s important to learn which activities help to refocus you and ground you, and what invigorates you and rejuvenates you. 

Here are a few ideas that might be a good fit for you, depending on your current needs.  As always, check with your doctor before starting new physical activities.

●       Plant a garden and spend time in it.  Get your hands dirty, literally. 

●       Rearrange your furniture.  Your mind will continue to be stimulated until you are used to the new setup. 

●       Learn how to make a budget that works. 

●       Start journaling.

●       Find a book that interests you and then make time to read it. 

●       Learn about your local history. 

●       Revisit an old hobby. 

●       Learn to sew, cross stitch, crochet or quilt. 

●       Tidy up a small space.  Organizing your space can organize your mind. 

●       Play a new board game.

●       Visit a bookstore.

●       Read a magazine.

●       Do a puzzle.

●       Write a poem. 

●       Make achievable daily goals.

●       Create an inspirational collage.

●       Unfollow toxic friends on social media.

●       Try out a new exercise class.

●       Go to bed early.

●       Go for a bike ride.

●       Spend time with your pets.

●       Do something kind for someone else.

●       Bake something for fun and share with a friend.

●       Take a bubble bath.

●       Buy yourself flowers.

●       Visit an antique shop.

●       Try a new hairstyle.

●       Wrap up in a cozy blanket and drink tea.

●       Look at the stars.

●       Light a candle. 

Schedule some time for YOU and try out some of these activities.  Make time for your mind, your body, and your soul.  You deserve it! 




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Edited by edriscoll

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