Make a plan, form a habit!
When we speak to any of our clients about the importance of taking time for themselves and making sure they are acknowledging "self-care", we have a responsibility to also educate them on what that is. Self-care refers to the ability, in a healthy manner, to deal with and be successful at everyday living as an individual. Making healthy choices, getting enough exercise to contribute to your physical wellbeing, eating properly and staying mentally and emotionally fit so we are able to work through, and enjoy life are all signs of self-care. Some of the basic approaches to self-care involve things like, choosing a healthy diet, monitoring and controlling drug and alcohol consumption, physical exercise in many forms, self regulation of emotions and making sure you are keeping up with hygiene and medical conditions that may need attention. Healthy Mind + Healthy Body = Healthy You!
In our line of work we start by looking at what our clients “want” and how they may “get it”. Self-care is no different. As with all things, it is necessary to take the time to go in deep and find what self-care actually means to you. What may work with one person does not always work for the other. One commonality for all is to make self-care habitual in your life and to have a plan in place to do so. Lets consider what a basic self-care plan may entail.
Make sure you are getting your sleep and eating healthy options that keep your body happy and maintained. As important as it is to spend time with friends, family and partners, you need to ensure you have clear boundaries so we can tune out for a while. Have a routine that gets you out and exercising on a regular basis and make it something you enjoy and want to do. Enjoy mindfulness, relaxation and self-reflection when possible. Meditation, nature walks and yoga are some activities that people report as therapeutic. Get a mentor that represents the positive aspects of living that you would like for yourself. A person in your life that you respect and look up too that is living a life very close to the one you would like to be living and use them as a supportive role model.
As with any plan we must now implement it and make sure we maintain it for best results. Something to think about here is your level of commitment to this plan and what may prevent you from actually following through with it. Aim to remove obstacles that may discourage you from completing the plan. Set out a twenty-one  day challenge for yourself to help make the plan a healthy habit. Above all, make sure you enjoy what you are doing for self-care and you will be more likely to continue and make it part of your lifestyle.
Brad Hardie, PCC, ECPC, PNLP, MPNLP