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Wellness Tips » Self Care

How do you practice self-care?

Do you take a leisurely soak, go to bed early, turn off the phone, take a walk, read a book, or have your house cleaned? We have so many demands on our time and energy. Is it selfish or self-care to tell Aunt Sally you just can't make it there this holiday season, that you can't buy an additional 4 gifts, or that you cannot have everyone at your house for the big meal?

It is up to you to decide what you would like to do and can do realistically. Allowing yourself to be pressured into doing things you really do not want to do is NOT SELF-CARE.

When we get on a plane, one of the first things the steward says is "In the event of an emergency, put your breathing mask on FIRST so you can help those beside you". We are no good to anyone else if we can't breathe. Is that selfishness or self-care?

Positive Self-Talk is one of the first things we can do to practice self-care. Self-talk is the set of thoughts that you have about events that happen to you. You may be aware, or not aware, of the self-talk that you give yourself about everyday events or situations.

Events DO NOT cause your feelings and behavior. It is the self-talk or thoughts you give yourself about the event that cause your feelings and behavior. For example, if you tell yourself "This is a disaster, I will never be able to deal with it" your feelings and behavior will likely be much different than if you tell yourself "This is a problem but I have dealt with things like this in the past and I will get through it".

Self-talk takes practice and time. If you have difficulty in changing your self-talk, perhaps the following statements can be used as starters:

"I have strengths which I can use to deal with this problem."
"I can do it!"


  • Keep fit. Exercise. Eat nutritious foods. Get adequate sleep and rest.
  • Limit your caffeine intake and don't smoke.
  • Choose a form of relaxation that is completely unlike your work. Find a hobby that is relaxing and that you enjoy.
  • Prioritize. Identify what provides you with the deepest satisfaction and make that your priority.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff. Is it really necessary to decorate every room in the house?
  • Avoid alcohol and drug use. Why exchange one set of problems for another?
  • Give yourself permission to express your feelings, don't try to hide them.
  • Give yourself permission to be human. Mistakes can be learning tools not a life-threatening event.
  • Learn to say "no".