November 15, 2017

You and Your Self-Care

  In October’s post, we talked about what compassionate boundaries are and listed six tips for setting compassionate boundaries with others. Incorporating these into your routine will help you build compassion resilience, or CR, and will allow you to do your best work and establish healthy relationships. If you need a reminder, review them here. If you’re still having a tough time mastering CR, don’t worry. As we said before, CR is a process that requires constant maintenance and happens over time. Keep working at it by incorporating some of the tips we’ve mentioned so far and those on self-care that we’ll discuss below. Self-care, or the providing of care by you and for you, is an essential part of achieving great CR. Why, you ask? Self-care helps you maintain your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual self. Self-care also offers you the rare chance to check-in and prioritize your own well-being by acknowledging the fundamental responsibility that you have to care for yourself. This is critical, especially to those who are also responsible for providing care to others. One common criticism of self-care is that it’s selfish. While you can guess that WISE disagrees, hear us out. According to PsychCentral, self-care is not only about considering our own needs, but also about knowing what we need to take care of ourselves and, consequently, others. This is where compassion resilience ties in. Self-care means investing in yourself now so that you can invest in others later. Think of it this way…If you’re feeling satisfied, you’re more likely to help others feel the same. If you’re not sold on self-care yet, you’re likely thinking about the logistics. You don’t have the time or are too busy for self-care. According to, there are several strategies we can use to make self-care an essential part of our everyday life. Continue reading for WISE’s abbreviated version, or find the full article here.
  • Make time for it. Purposefully set aside at least 10 minutes or more each day to practice self-care. Remember that self-care is flexible and that there are multiple ways to do so successfully. It doesn’t need to be a certain activity or at a certain time. (But, it is true that consistency of time can help with consistency of practice!)
  • Make your self-care a priority by monitoring your schedule and staying organized. Don’t double book, and don’t necessarily change your self-care plans if other plans pop up.
  • Be prepared. Create a list of self-care activities that you would like to do or want to try. If you’re struggling, look at the list below for potential options. Keep it handy, so that you can use it when you have the time.
  • Tune-in. Take moments before, during, and after self-care to tune in to how you’re feeling. Become aware of self-care’s many rewards. Notice how other parts of your life shift when you provide care by yourself and for yourself.
  • Learn to switch off. If possible, try to be present while practicing self-care by turning your cell-phone off. We know it’s hard to do, but this time should be devoted to you and your own well-being as much as possible.
  • Learn some quick fixes. Find self-care practices that you can do without excessive setup or supplies. These could include deep breathing or stretching exercises. You’ll be able to do activities like these anywhere, which will increase your chances of doing them at all.
According to PsychCentral, self-care isn’t something that you should force yourself to do. It’s something that refuels us, instead of taking away from us. In order to achieve total health, a balance needs to be developed between 6 separate but related parts of your being, which include emotional, spiritual, social, physical, intellectual, and creative care. Look below for some ideas on how to practice self-care in each of these 6 categories.
  • Emotional – Create a goal board, cuddle with your partner or pet, go to a support group meeting, listen to or sing a mood-boosting song, plan your next vacation, revisit a childhood hobby or interest, write in a journal
  • Spiritual – Attend a service, commune with nature, forgive someone who has wronged you, meditate, plant a tree and watch it grow, pray, unplug for a few hours, volunteer
  • Social – Call or text a family member or friend that you care about to catch up, host a get-together, get to know your co-workers or neighbors, join a local team, unfriend negative influences on Facebook
  • Physical – Cook yourself a healthy meal, drink water, exercise, go in for check-ups and receive regular care, stretch, take an afternoon nap, try acupuncture or get a massage
  • Intellectual – Complete a puzzle, find a new hobby, make a to-do list, read a book about a topic you’ve been interested in but have never taken the time to learn about, sign up for a class
  • Creative – Decorate or rearrange your room, color, tackle a DIY project, take and develop photos, write a poem or short story
The importance of self-care has recently seen a resurgence in healthcare and is now considered a primary means of preventative care.  That said, self-care is not the end all, be all and doesn’t mean that environmental issues should be ignored in favor of individualistic pursuits. It does, however, play an important role in maintaining your overall well-being, so do yourself a favor, and indulge in some much-needed self-care. For more information on CR, feel free to sign up for the WISE newsletter, attend a WISE meeting to get more involved, or visit our website at Thanks, Lucy, and the WISE team