We all have protective factors in our lives that help us be resilient when faced with challenges. We tend to underestimate our strength and what our mind and body can handle. We often surprise ourselves with how we continue to move forward and bounce back time after time when life throws us a curveball. We all are resilient humans, whether we recognize it or not.
Personally as a young adult I have learned that there is a strong connection between self-care and the impact it has on our mental health. When I am nourishing my body with good food, integrating movement, immersing myself in stillness (meditation), and ensuring I am getting enough sleep I operate and function so much better than when one of these areas of my life is lacking.
Over the years of living with mental health challenges I have learned many tools, wellness strategies, and ways to stay well. However, it is only recently that I have recognized how self-care impacts my ability to be resilient. I am so fortunate to have good friends and caring adults in my life who not only encourage me to practice self-care, but actually intentionally practice self-care themselves and set boundaries out of love/respect for themselves. This has inspired me to do the same and I have been more grounded, calmer, and insightful as a result.
When we take care of ourselves unapologetically we model to others that it is okay and necessary to take care of ourselves in order to thrive in life. This is especially important for the parents out there. Although I am not yet a parent myself I have experienced and witnessed the impact had when parents or other family members who have children are not taking care of themselves. The energy in the room can feel heavy and everyone seems on edge and sometimes, children can mirror the emotions and behaviours they are seeing.
Practicing self-care does not tend to come naturally to anyone and culturally can be frowned upon within families, communities and groups of people. However, self-care as I have learned isn’t a luxury, it is necessary and should be integrated into our lives everyday. Self-care does not have to require a lot of time and be elaborate. It can be simply sitting with a cup of coffee and staring out the window or taking a few minutes to simply be.
I admittedly am still in the process of integrating self-care and despite knowing how important it is I put it off. Working in the helping sector it can be easy to forget about our own wellness. Taking lunch breaks away from our desk is a form of self-care, taking prescribed medication, going to the dentist for check-ups/cleaning.
In short, taking care of ourselves or taking time to do things that bring us joy/fulfilment can help us be more resilient when faced with life’s challenges. You are important and your wellbeing impacts everyone around you. Take some time today, this week, and over the weekend to find ways to care for yourself and intentionally focus on you.