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a new take on self care (for the person who is sick of hearing about self-care)

Updated: Aug 16, 2022

Taking care of ourselves may not look the same as it did before. Here are some reasons why, and let's talk about it.

We push it to the end of our weeks. We’ve tagged it onto well-meaning texts to friends. We’ve listened to our therapists encourage our self-care practices until they are blue in the face.

Is it just me, or has this phrase begun to feel tired in the wake of the world feeling like it’s on fire?

“Hey, don’t forget to treat yo self...while you’re also trying to level up out of a forced state of survival mode.”

Maybe it’s my own inner child at odds here with authority, but when I’m encouraged to participate in self care, my gut instinct is “um…don’t tell me what to do. I’m surviving, and that’s enough, right?,” followed by avoiding any opportunity that pushes me to engage authentically with my emotions.

Do you know what this feels like? We have those phrases that are well-meaning, but start to feel tired after a while? We chalk it up to any number of issues: our flight or fight mode has been activated for far too long, and maybe creating safety just takes longer in general for so many.

But maybe this realization has a hard, but sharply beautiful truth at its center. The volcanic geode that’s rigid, hard surface reveals a stunning but hidden realization beneath it.

Perhaps our current practices of self-care just aren’t as effective as they used to be, because if we’re being honest: we’ve all been changed by the climate of our world. Why wouldn’t our care practices shift too?

We need to mentally reframe self-care. That’s what my therapist would probably tell me anyways.

That may look like:

Dialing back the Doom Scrolling: Instead of defaulting to social media first thing in the morning; asking ourselves “how does this serve me, or my future self?” or “what is my goal here?” or “what need do I have that is being unmet?”.

Challenge “All or nothing thinking”: Instead of buying into the belief that we need hours for our self care to count towards refresh; why not plan a 10 minute meditation once or twice a week?

Make it a priority: Instead of pushing time for ourselves to the end of the week, prioritize it. Plan ahead for it at the beginning or even the midpoint of the week.

Evaluate what we really need: Instead of assuming that “we’re just tired” or “burnt out”; take a look at what categories of our lives need to be nourished. (Intellectual, creative, spiritual, physical, etc.)

Instead of just pushing self-care on its own, maybe we also dive a little deeper. Maybe we start by acknowledging

taking care of ourselves may not look the same as it did before.”

Hopefully, this will help our inner child take back the power of choices that they were never given. “I get to choose how I heal” has a nicer ring to it, right?

How have things changed for you over the past year and what has stayed the same? You might be surprised to see you actually have reasons for needing to shift your self-care. What practices no longer serve you? It might be as small as how often your tech notifications send, a constant reminder to be alert and ready.

What new paths can you create that forge a meaningful (but chosen) growth or even rest within yourself?

About Alta Terra Counseling, PLLC

Alta Terra Counseling is a practice in Boone, North Carolina specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy Practice that is committed to helping both Families, Couples and Individual clients with a compassionate presence to achieve their personal goals. Explore our website for information about our practice as well as endorsements from colleagues regarding our clinical approach.

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