Written by Sarhadjine Malvoisin
Self-Care for Mental Health Defined
Self-care is self-growth. As simple as it sounds, it is the truth. How many times have you heard your counselor, friend or family member tell you to try to put time into self-care, that it is imperative and healthy to do so? But do we really comprehend the extent through which self-care is crucial for the soul? Have you ever thought about how much self-growth is included in the act of self-care?
By definition, self-growth is a desire to become a better version of one’s self every day. It is an enduring and life-long experience that works to improve one’s own performance through formal and informal approaches (Jain, Apple, and Ellis, 2015)
Self-care defined in the simplest way is the act of taking care of yourself in order for you to be healthy as well as be able to take care of other matters in your life. When you are dedicated towards self-growth, towards truly shedding your past self, and nurturing yourself, it is an act of self-care. Simply put; when you do not take care of yourself you do not grow.
Self-Care to Develop Self Growth
We are all on a quest for happiness, however way we go about it. At our core, despite the traumas of the past, we want to be happy. Unfortunately, so many of us are stuck in the cycle of covering the surface of our wounds without really grasping or taking the time to dig deeper and get to what is at the core. True growth does not come from scratching the surface; seeds that are planted in shallow ground do not get the chance to extend roots deep in the soil, therefore the slightest wind or rain causes the tree’s downfall. Very few things remain strong and steady without deep rooted foundations. The same goes for us-in order to be strongly rooted individuals, we must get to the core. We must nurture self-growth by taking care of ourselves.
Self-care goes beyond ensuring your basic needs are met; it is necessary to check in with yourself emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically as well. Consider: are you checking in with all of these aspects of your person-hood? Are you being truthful with yourself and getting to the core of any issues in your life?
Self-Care Ideas for Women
Often, when we think of self-care we think of pampering, taking ourselves out on a date, watching a good movie or TV show, or engaging in an occasional treat. Although these are great options, self-care also involves taking concrete steps towards your development. It can include caring for your mental health by going to therapy and processing trauma, nurturing your emotional health by self-reflecting and journaling, and feeding your spirituality by connecting to a Higher Being. Only when all of these facets of your person-hood are being catered to, can you begin the journey toward self-growth. Below are some self-care/self-growth tips to help you on your journey:
Therapy can provide the benefit of receiving support and guidance from a mental health professional to process trauma and everyday experiences with a trained professional; it is an important step towards growing as an individual.
Mindfulness (Staying in the present)
Mindfulness is remaining in the present, being aware of your own existence and checking in with your thoughts, feelings, and your own body. It is taking the time to pause, take a deep breath and being still in the moment. Because we are so used to the distractions of the modern world, this will take practice, but it is worth it. Check out some examples here: https://positivepsychology.com/mindfulness-exercises-techniques-activities/
Journaling (Processing feelings, trauma, and thoughts)
Journaling or writing your thoughts on paper is a great way to process them, get clarity and gain perspective. This is a great practice that can help can help towards your self-development. It can be used to reflect on the day as you are preparing for bed, or in the morning to clear your mind and inspire ideas.
Determine what activity brings you joy and include it in your routine.
Self-care is subjective, so find what makes you happy and make sure you to implement it in your daily/weekly routine (i.e. healthy cooking, exercise, dancing, connecting with family and friends, etc.)
Self-care is essential for our growth as human beings. It helps us become more empathetic, positive, and overall healthier individuals. Our goal this month is to encourage you- our readers, to practice self-care and in doing so become a better individual. Let us know your thoughts. What self-care area do you need to focus on to elevate your self-growth?
Apple, D., Ellis W. Jr., Jain R. C. (2015). What is Self-Growth? Internal Journal of Process Education. Retrieved from: http://www.pcrest.com/research/2015%20What%20is%20Self%20Growth.pdf