National Self-Care Awareness Month – Part Two
Updated: Dec 11, 2020
Diving Deeper Into Self-Care
Welcome to part two of our National Self-Care Awareness Month blog series. Last week we covered healthy lifestyle choices as self-care. This week we are highlighting self-care through relationships with oneself and others. Self-care in relationships includes setting boundaries, practicing clear communication, and advocating for yourself. The main focus of self-care often shown is through activities and routines that focus on fulfillment. These routines and activities are the first steps to self-care. The deeper layers of self-care consider both your relationship with yourself and how you interact with the world. Thanks to Evolve to Live, September is a designated time for us to discuss self-care and how we can implement it in our daily lives.
Self-Care as Self-Support
Supporting yourself in this context means allowing yourself to be true to who you are. By making deliberate acts of self-care you are telling yourself “I deserve to feel my best.” We can feel joyful, energetic, and inspired by caring for ourselves.
A major way of supporting yourself is by feeding your inspiration. Our society is constantly on the go and our plates are often full. In order to perform our best, we have to make time for what makes our soul feel full. This can look like joining a new exercise program, making time for the creative projects you put on the back-burner, and creating time to seek new passions. If we fail to make time for our passions, we get closer to burnout and feelings of unfulfillment.
Another important act of self-support is emotional validation. Self-validation is when you reassure yourself that what you feel is real, important, and makes sense. When we bury our feelings and push them aside, we are telling ourselves that our feelings do not matter. By teaching ourselves that our feelings are important we create more space to heal. Right now is a particularly difficult time for us all. Discussions about mental health and emotional support need to be taking place. Your emotions are valid and your pain deserves solace. Take radical acts of self-care by allowing yourself to feel. Cry your eyes out, pour your emotions into your journal, laugh at a funny movie, dance around your room, or do whatever you need in order to care for your emotional state. In short, find what comforts you and make time for that.
Self-Care as Setting Boundaries
This one can be particularly hard. Yet, it is one of the most important things we can learn. Setting healthy boundaries teaches others how they can treat us. In order to have healthy relationships whether they be platonic, romantic, or professional, we must learn how to set boundaries. Creating healthy boundaries looks like:
Having limits and recognizing what they are
Knowing what you will or will not do
Knowing what you will and will not allow others to do to you
Boundaries can be thought of as a fence that will keep things that nurture us inside while keeping out the things that can harm us. Our fence should have a gate that can allow for change as boundaries evolve as we grow.
Setting boundaries includes learning how to say “no,” which can be very difficult. Although you must learn how to say “no,” there are other ways to say it that can help you start setting boundaries. If someone is asking you to take on an extra project at work you can respond by saying “this is not one of my priorities” or “I have other projects to prioritize.” If someone asks you to disclose information that you are not willing to share you can say “I’d rather not answer that” or “I am uncomfortable with sharing that.” There are ways to set boundaries without a flat out “no❤️.” How you set your boundaries and articulate your needs is deeply personal. These examples may not fit your style, but hopefully, they spark some inspiration. Learning how to comfortably set boundaries can be a lifelong practice, but it is a practice of the utmost importance.
Self-Care as Healthy Communication
Self-care and healthy communication go hand-in-hand. The key to healthy communication is to communicate about yourself. The essence of self-care is to focus on yourself. Instead of speaking about what others do, we can focus on speaking about our actions and feelings. This removes language that spreads blame. Removing the “you’s” from your sentences and introducing more “I’s” will change your tone from accusatory and critical to self-reflective. Shifting your communication focus onto yourself will help you become more self-aware.
Have you ever heard the saying that goes “say what you mean, mean what you say?” Learning how to be an authentic communicator will help you represent yourself genuinely. Communicating clearly allows the receiver of your message to understand you better. Speaking concisely and sharing our truth helps drive effective communication. This removes unnecessary confusion and misinterpretation. This sounds great, but how do we really become clear communicators? We can begin by slowing down. Taking a breath, considering your feelings, and carefully choosing your words will facilitate concise communication. It’s also important to work on becoming comfortable with correcting yourself when you misspeak or share a thought that you later disagree with. The goal is to represent yourself truthfully so those around you can know the real you.
We hope this brief blog series provides information or inspiration that you can utilize to nurture yourself. Remember to make time to show yourself some love. Your physical and emotional health needs to be taken care of before you can take care of others. Prioritize yourself. Exercise, drink your water, enjoy your hobbies, sanitize your hands, and demand the respect you deserve. We are rooting for you. Happy National Self-Care Awareness Month!
Extra resources to check out
Psychology Today: Self-Care: 12 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself
Psychology Today: The Key to Healthy Communication
Active Minds: Self-Care