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  • Writer's pictureDr. Elena Duong

Is Your Self-Care Working?

Updated: Sep 14, 2023

You might have heard about how important self-care is to living a healthy, sustainable life. Have you wondered whether your self-care is working or worth the time given your busy daily life?

As a review, self-care is taking time to care for yourself, where you prioritize your needs. This can be a relaxing activity (e.g., taking a bath) or a strenuous activity (e.g., rock climbing). The point of self-care is to refuel your own gas tank, so you have more energy to be able to live the life you want in a healthy, balanced way. Self-care will not make your life immediately better since it's a practice to be incorporated into your life/lifestyle. Similar to working out, it will take some time to see the results of a more sustainable life.

The good news is it is never too late to start creating or revamping your self-care routine. We recommend those who do not have a self-care routine to start out small (e.g., taking a deep breath before transitioning into home life after work). Try brief exercises, such as 1-minute mindfulness exercises for a couple days to weeks before implementing any major changes. Reflect on your energy, mood, and relationships to see how if any of these practices made any shifts.

For those who have tried it and think it is no longer working or never worked, there is likely something interfering with your self-care practice. If you grew up in an environment that undervalued it or you, you might think self-care is overrated or a gimmick. This is matter for further exploration and can be a topic to process further with your mental health therapist. If your self-care worked before and stopped, it may be an incompatibility with your self-care routine. You also may feel like it is a hassle or a chore to do.

How to Check if Your Self-Care is Working for You:

  1. Reflect on how you are feeling before and after your self-care routine to give you a baseline to work with

    1. This can be rating your stress on a scale of 1 to 10 on how stressed you feel before and after the routine

  2. Ask yourself the following questions:

    1. Does this self-care practice feel like chore?

    2. Do I enjoy doing this practice?

    3. Do I miss this practice if I miss a day of it?

  3. If you don't enjoy the practice or feel like it is a chore, what changed?

    1. Is it part of the routine or the whole routine needs to be changed?

      1. It can be when you are engaging in the routine or the length of it, which can be adjusted

    2. If you want more ideas for self-care, feel free to click here

At the end of the day, a good self-care routine is not a one-size fits all; it is personalized to each individual. It may need to be changed over time since people and lives change. You are likely not the same person you were as a child or even a year ago. You are worthy of the time commitment and investment. Self-care is one way you can invest in yourself. There is only one YOU in this world.

If you are interested in discovering how your self-care impacts your mental health, feel free to contact us here for our mental health services.

Stay tuned. The next topic is "Misconceptions of Suicide."

Written by Elena Duong, Psy.D.

Edited by Susanna La, Ph.D.

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