Self-care is not a new idea! The Ancient Greeks practiced “philautia”, or the love of the self, to promote societal honesty and compassion. They believed that individuals must love themselves before they can truly love others in a healthy, honest, unconditional way.
“all friendly feelings for others are an extension of man’s feelings for himself.” – Aristotle
Today we agree that self-care leads to improved immunity, & decreased susceptibility to stress, anxiety, depression, & other mental health issues. However, self-care often takes the form of materialistic, individual things such as spas, shopping, travelling, etc.
True self-love means that you take care of yourself in an authentic, self-aware way that is specific to you as an individual – it doesn’t need to cost money!
Here is how you can direct your self-care process toward true healing & self-love!
1. Pay attention to how you talk to yourself.
Do you have an inner gremlin? Work to shift your inner monologue to be more supportive & compassionate.
2. Don’t always use self-care to distract yourself from issues.
Distraction, like reading a book or watching a movie, can be a great form of self-care (i.e. when exhausted, anxious, worried, etc.). However, constant distractions can lead you to numb out or ignore your issues and create a backlog of festering, unprocessed thoughts.
3. Pay attention to your emotions and process them.
Self-care must give you time to consider your stressors and to feel into your emotions. This might mean that rather than watch a movie you do a guided meditation, or talk to a friend. The most important thing is that the activity allows you to access your thoughts & feelings, & enables you to develop a more positive perspective, some emotional release, or even relief. Don’t forget, “what we resist persists” (Carl Jung)!
4. Care for your physical health.
Daily routines can be turned into self-care! Can you sleep earlier/longer? Can you eat food that is more nourishing?
Once we love ourselves we can begin to heal our families, communities & societies!
Contact me to learn more about my counselling practice in Victoria.