National Program Manager, Recovery Colleges, Canadian Mental Health Association
We hear so much about needing to practice self-care. But what does that really mean and how does it impact you when you’re feeling ‘fine’? I am here to answer some questions that might help clear that up.
What is the value of participating in self-care practices? And how does it positively impact our mental health?
Have you ever heard the saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup”? It means that we must first take care of ourselves. Self-care practices not only make us feel good because it involves doing things that you enjoy, but it can also help us to build resiliency and manage stress when it comes up. Engaging in regular self-care activities can boost your emotional, mental and physical health, as well as your relationships by reducing levels of stress and increasing connection to self.
How can Canadians integrate self-care practices into their everyday routines? What are some examples?
For many, when you think of self-care, maybe bubble baths and lovely scented candles come to mind. However, self-care is much more than that. Self-care activities are deeply personal based on an individual’s own interests. It should include practices that you find enjoyable and not seen as a ‘chore’ or ‘inconvenience’. Self-care practices may include regularly going to therapy, setting aside screen-free time each day, moving your body, jotting down your thoughts and feelings in a journal or even going for a massage to release stress held in the body.
As we slowly approach a post-pandemic world and things go back to ‘normal,’ how can we make sure we’re staying on top of our mental health?
The pandemic has certainly given us an opportunity to reflect on our priorities as individuals and communities and on our own mental well-being. Self-care is most effective when it is practiced regularly and integrated into daily routines. Dedicating time to care for yourself is not selfish nor is it less important than giving time for others. In fact, when we take care of ourselves, we are better able to care for others and thrive as individuals and communities and in relationships. Let’s strive for a new ‘normal’ where we value and prioritize self-care to promote overall well-being.