Author: Farah H, MSW, RSW
“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept (Anna Taylor)”. Self-care can be defined in many ways, but in simple textbook definition, it is the act of attending to one’s physical or mental health. There is so much more to this term and definition. In my professional opinion, one’s self care is knowing your boundaries, being reflexive and taking accountability of what is needed to heal. In the context of mental health, self-care becomes a theme that is explored to gather a better sense of what one is doing on their part to aid in their healing.
There are simple things we can do in our day-to-day regimen to practice self-care. Some of the more common tasks include, eating a healthy meal, taking a walk, exercising, etc. The more challenging practice of self-care is setting boundaries and being transparent with yourself. Let’s tackle setting boundaries first. A person’s identity is made up of numerous roles, such as, a sister, a daughter, an employee, a student, a peer, a friend, a partner and so on. In these roles, we all operate in a different way and are sometimes forced to not be our true selves. In this case, self-care would look like, being an employee, only within work hours or extending yourself to support your friends and family if you are ABLE and reflecting on when you need time to simply be yourself. This is the more challenging component of self-care, because of the pressure and external factors to commit to taking care of oneself.
In my practice, I empathize with my clients, because at the end of the day, we are all humans who are navigating this world. Our social locations will always be different, but our one commonality, is that we each have our own individual battles and we need boundaries. Having boundaries, is the self-care practice that can allow you to balance the various roles you play in your life and prioritize your well-being. As a Psychotherapist, I can empathize and validate the way you feel, as this is your individual perception and my role, is to understand this. With validation, comes reflection on whether your perception is how others may perceive something, or if your perception is biased for a reason, you may not have acknowledged just yet. This is where my support might be needed. To practice self-care, you must understand your individual circumstance through a non-biased lens. Together, we can identify the areas of your life that would benefit from self-care and develop goals to ensure continuous self-care. At the end of the day, your progress is determined by your ability to be reflective, accountable and to commit. I am simply here to support you through this journey.
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