Harper O’Neill, MS, LCMHCA
Holistic Elements of Self-Care
At times it can be difficult to think about where to start changing up ways you care for yourself when first getting started. Below are listed several elements of wellness that can benefit from added self care strategies, give it a look and pick a few to incorporate into your wellness routine!
-Find something you enjoy doing for exercise and make it a part of your weekly routine. It would be an added bonus if there is an element of community with your physical activity. Whether you go on a walk with a friend of join a gym, having a sense of accountability can be helpful in reaching your physical wellness goals
-Try to be active for at least 30 minutes a day, 3-5 times per week. For those that have more sedentary jobs, it can feel like a lot more work to be active, but our bodies need this movement to function well. Challenge yourself to find new ways to move your body and set a goal for yourself!
-Drink enough water throughout the day. It could be helpful to find a water tracking app or keep track of how many bottles of water you plan to drink throughout the day. Accountability is helpful with this as well! Challenge a friend or family member to some healthy competition and increase your water intake.
-Eat whole foods. There is a lot of research on how consuming processed foods can negatively affect your overall wellness. Spend some time looking up recipes online that get you excited and expand your meal preparation to include whole foods, fresh fruit and veggies and locally sourced proteins if you are able to!
-Spend time outside in nature. You may enjoy going to a favorite park on a walk, or play a sport you enjoy outside. As much as we are able to spend time outdoors, the better it is for many elements of our overall well-being!
-Consider increasing “flow activities” in your routine!
-By definition, flow activities are anything that are useful, yet challenging and require intrinsic motivation. They can also be categorized through someone functioning at their highest capacity while engaging with an activity preventing factors such as boredom or fatigue from interfering (Houston, 2019).
-Some examples of flow activities include:
-Doing a puzzle
-Sewing / crocheting
-Playing a musical instrument
-Painting or being creative in other artistic activities
-Cooking and / or baking
-Be mindful of sensory stimulation - your brain needs a break! Find time to be quiet and let your mind decompress at the end of a busy day. If you work in a job that is person oriented, you may want to be mindful of how that impacts you and evaluate if you are getting enough time alone to decompress before engaging in other activities and relationships. We will consider more ways to engage deeper with your senses in the next blog post!
-Journaling in conjunction with therapy. As clients and clinicians alike can recognize, engaging in a therapeutic journal can be simultaneously emotionally stimulating and taxing. Clients may notice feeling drained or energized following sessions. Regardless of your experience within the therapeutic room, pairing your counseling process with journaling can be incredibly rewarding. Journaling keeps track of progress you are making and encourages you to engage with your thoughts and feelings in an intentional way.
-Practice vulnerability with people you trust. We can take our emotional processing and experiences to a deeper level as we share them with others. Vulnerability in relationships increases feelings of closeness and can decrease feelings of loneliness as well. Finding close relationships you trust can open you up to getting feedback on experiences that may be beneficial as well.
-Check in with yourself emotionally. Seek to view learning about yourself and growing emotionally as a goal. At the end of the day, consider checking in with yourself on the emotions felt during the day and any other emotional experiences that may be on your mind needing to be processed. If we keep emotions in, they tend to bottle up and impact us in other less desirable ways. If you need assistance on what it looks like to check in with yourself emotionally, consider finding a therapist to get started with that process!
-Connect with your Higher Power through prayer. As individuals deepen their relationships with a Higher Power they notice increasing feelings of hope and a sense of purpose. Connecting through prayer can be an incredibly powerful way of achieving this!
-Reading the Word. For those who follow the Christian faith, spending time reading the bible can be a great way to start your day and encourage a deepening of your faith. If you do not identify as Christian, you can consider other spiritually based texts or resources to explore that will expand your knowledge and awareness of your Higher Power.
-Find a spiritual community. There are many benefits of connecting with those who share the same set of beliefs as you do. Throughout life’s difficulties, people identify that having a strong support system is something that can make challenges much easier. Get involved with a local church and seek out a small group, or find others who have similar spiritual beliefs to you and engage in community!
Elaine Houston, B. S. (2022, September 8). Flow state: 11+ activities to enter a flow state of mind. PositivePsychology.com. Retrieved from https://positivepsychology.com/flow-activities/