The Importance of Self-Care

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By Teri Karjala; Owner of the Creative Counseling Center LLC- Greenwood Village
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As a therapist I always stress the importance of self-care.  In this day and age how many of us really give ourselves permission to take care of OURSELVES?

“Well, I don’t want to be selfish. After all, I have too much to do. I need to grocery shop, pick-up the dry cleaning, take little Johnny to his baseball practice, clean the house for company, and take the dog for his shots, etc…”

The fact is we are ALWAYS going to have something on our to-do list. That is why it is so important to take care of ourselves in order to maintain sanity.  So, for everyone reading this I give YOU permission to take care of YOU!  After all, you deserve it for all that you do.

“But It’s been so long since I took care of myself I don’t know how to take care of myself anymore.”  No worries.  Clearly everyone is unique and not everything will benefit you. The fun part is in experimenting to find out what works best for you!  To help narrow it down think about what has worked in the past.  What was relaxing to you?  What do you enjoy doing?

Here are some self-care ideas to help you on our journey to RELAXATION and caring for YOU!  Enjoy!

Journaling: Many people find that they are able to release various daily stressors by keeping a journal.  Others find that journaling, beyond processing thought and events, helps to inspire creation and leads to doodling, poetry, and even writing stories.

Meditation: Meditation can take many forms.  Some people fall into a meditative state when painting or running.  Others find it simply by being somewhere peaceful to them and focusing on their breathing.  Regardless of how you meditate, it has been proven to relax the central nervous system and lower your heart rate.  You can also opt to follow guided meditations or visualizations in classes or on cd.

Positive affirmations: Affirmations are powerful tools to transform your life.  Affirmations are basically a statement best made in the present tense such as, "I am successful at...", "I am attracting more and more...", etc.  There are many articles and books on this subject if you would like to know more about the way in which affirmations work and/or if you need help finding some that will be powerful and meaningful to you.

Reading:  Whether you enjoy reading trashy novels, magazines, or great literary masterpieces reading can take you far away from your life and engross you in another world. 

Volunteer: Giving back in a way that you enjoy, such as volunteering with children, animals, the elderly, etc. is a great way to feel good about yourself and recharge your battery at the same time.

Learn: Learn something new.  Commit to taking a class on a topic of interest to escape your routine and better yourself.  In Colorado we are blessed to have the Colorado Free University offering free and inexpensive classes.

Other great outlets for self-care are:

Art, hot bubble baths, taking up a new hobby, exercise (please consult your physician before starting a workout program), going to a park/lake/etc., movies, yoga, dinner out (without the kids), aromatherapy, a vacation, weekend get-a-way, or a day retreat, a visit to a day spa, acupuncture/acupressure, listening to relaxing music, and singing/dancing.

The list goes on and on.  What is important here is to allow yourself the time to do something you enjoy, guilt free, and to feel good about it.  Remember permission given!