It seems like everyone is talking about self-care lately — but how many of us know what self care actually means? It’s such a broad concept, and that can make it hard to pinpoint exactly what it means to practice self care.
During this time of year when people are setting resolutions and intentions for the next year, I’d love to make 2019 the year when we resolve to embrace and practice self-care. I believe that in caring for ourselves, we open up a new world of love and possibilities. But to practice self-care we have to really understand what it means and how it affects and involves all aspects of our lives.
In my first book Rewired: A Bold New Approach to Addiction and Recovery, I explored self-care through the lens of addiction. In my new book, The Rewired Life, I expand upon the concept of self-care and apply it to all areas of life. If you’re interested in joining me in making this year the Year of Self-Care, here are a few important things to understand:
- Self-care isn’t easy: Every day, we are bombarded with messages that working hard should be our ultimate goal. “Burning out” is a cue to others that we’re totally devoted to our jobs or our families. This dynamic makes it very hard to even consider incorporating small acts of self care into our lives, no matter how hard we’re trying to do so. Just like just like starting a new fitness routine or changing out diet, small steps can make a big difference. Be patient, and accept that self-care is a journey.
- Self-care also benefits your loved ones: If you have ever been on an airplane, you’ve heard the flight attendant tell you that in case of an emergency, you should put on your own oxygen mask before helping a child or anyone else. The same is true in life: we simply can’t care for others if we don’t care for ourselves. It can be hard to remember that, and you may have to overcome feelings of guilt or shame associated with self-care. It’s important to sit with those feelings, understand where they are coming from, and work through them.
- Self-care is proactive, not reactive: If you’re like most people, you probably don’t slow down enough to take care of yourself unless something is wrong. Self-care isn’t about surviving, it’s about thriving, which means we have to pay attention to our self care on a regular basis, before things begin to escalate or get out of control.
- Self-care is all-encompassing: Self-care isn’t just something you can “do” for an hour a day and the forget about for the other 23 hours. True self-care incorporates all aspects of your life, including eating properly; exercising, sleeping well; coping appropriately with stress, shame, grief and disappointment; socializing; dating; healthy solitude; spirituality; relaxation and rest; practicing gratitude; taking care of financial matters; meeting obligations; and so many other important daily rituals of mindfulness.
You can start your own Year of Self-Care any time and if you do, I invite you to pick up a copy of The Rewired Life and let it serve as a companion on your self-care journey. The book will help you explore your self-care habits and will give you practical, hands-on tools to help you create a basic blueprint for a more expansive, fulfilling lifestyle.
ERICA SPIEGELMAN is a counselor, consultant, author, and motivational speaker who has made an indelible mark in the field of addiction recovery. She has founded a multi-media health and wellness platform, providing consulting and counseling solutions for clients by providing them with tools on how to reach emotional, mental and physical freedom. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Literature from the University of Arizona and a degree as a California State Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor (CADAC-II) from University of California, Los Angeles. Erica works with several treatment centers in California, including the Living Rebos Treatment Center, Klean Treatment Center, and Passages Malibu. She is a regular contributor to online health outlets, writes for Maria Shriver, and and hosts her own weekly show Rewired Radio on RadioMD. She is the author of the best-selling book Rewired and her latest book The Rewired Life.
Visit Erica online for resources, signed books, and more: http://ericaspiegelman.com/