Self Care: Small Steps, Big Results
One of the twelve principles I explore in Rewired is the idea of self care. Self care is a principle that seems especially important to understand during the holiday season, when stress levels can be at an all-time high and it might seem impossible to put ourselves first.
The first step in practicing self care is to recognize that many of us may not really know what self care is or how to fully integrate it into our lives. Despite the best intentions of our caregivers, many of us – whether on the recovery path or not – did not learn how to take care of ourselves as children. As adults, we neglect our bodies, depriving them of nutritious food, sleep, and exercise. We neglect our minds by depriving them of intellectual stimulation and knowledge. Our souls suffer from a lack of attention and respect.
Self care requires us to put ourselves first and to recognize and reconcile the fact that we are merely human. Once we do that, we can start to understand our own limits. More importantly, we can begin to let go of unhealthy expectations that make it difficult to make choices that support our wellness journeys. Self care is about knowing when to say yes and when to say no. It helps us listen to our bodies and accept what they are telling us without judging ourselves.
While there are many factors that may challenge our ability to practice self care, there are just as many small steps we can all take to practice self care. In Rewired, I ask readers to choose one intellectually and spiritually stimulating action to complete, such as attending a lecture, reading a book, taking a class, meditating or volunteering. I also encourage them to make one physical commitment such as exercising, getting enough sleep or stretching. These small, simple changes are the key to rewiring the brain for success in sobriety and wellness.