By Ivy Loney, DBH, LMSW —

Taking care of yourself, also called self-care is the best thing you can do to support yourself and others. Often times people feel selfish doing something just for themselves. This is the opposite of the truth and a set up for a negative mindset. When you care for and do for yourself you fill up your “gas tank” and make it possible to show up for everyone and everything in the best possible way.

Self-care can be simply saying no when you don’t want to do something. It can be doing or getting a pedicure, taking a nap, going for a walk, watching the clouds pass in the sky, or honoring your feelings about something that has been bothering you. Some of the easiest ways to care for ourselves is not comparing ourselves to others, not taking on too much, and setting realistic expectations for ourselves. Even being proactive with getting a tutor, asking to see a counselor or a doctor to discuss our physical and mental needs is good self care practice! We should embrace the mindset that if we are all taking care of ourselves then everyone is taken care of and we can all show up less burned out and overwhelmed.

Of course there are always times of stress in life that are unavoidable, but if we build in a good self-care practice we can be more resilient in dealing with those times. There is no requirement to be a super hero, oftentimes we put that pressure on ourselves and feel like others are putting that pressure on us. However, it is only us that can be in charge of how we let ourselves feel. Not taking things so personally is a great step toward self-care. What other people are doing, saying, and being are about them…not about us. When we take things personally we make it about us and take on a lot of extra baggage that was never ours to carry. Put those bags down so you can skip through life with ease. Knowing that when you care for yourself you are setting the amazing example for others that they too have permission to do the same!