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Why We All Need to Put Ourselves First

By Sandy Schroeder

You may ask yourself all sorts of questions about work, finances, or calories, but what about self-care? Too often we skip right over the issue of self-care, assuming we do it automatically, or we are really too busy to make it a priority, but psychologists disagree. They say self-care is critical for survival.

Clinical psychologist Jessica Michaelson, PsyD, says, "If we ignore our needs, over time we can become sick, unhappy and overwhelmed."

Most of us grew up with lots of "shoulds" about working hard, helping others, and following through with the tasks at hand. That gets the job done, but sometimes it fails to cover our basic needs as we run from work to home and back. At the end of the day, we may be tired, irritable, and confused.

Consider What Self-Care Really Is

Paying attention to yourself actually serves to keep you healthy enough to help others. Taking the time to eat right, exercise daily, and shed stress can pay off with more energy, alertness and a better overall focus. When you feel better, everything else may go better too.

Start with Small Steps

Look at self-care from several angles.

Give Yourself Credit

If you have a fridge loaded with fruits and vegetables, and you exercise regularly, you are already working on self-care.

Pay Attention to Your Needs

  • Make regular meals happen instead of skipping breakfast or lunch
  • Add up how many hours you work daily and trim a few
  • Set aside a few weekends for getaways and make them happen

Learn How to Say No

  • Check your schedule before you agree to add more tasks
  • Build in open spaces in your schedule and keep them open
  • Avoid saying yes just because you always do

Respond to Mental Struggles

If you are anxious or sad, see a therapist

If you feel isolated, reach out to friends and relatives

If you are tired and overloaded, take some time off to refuel.

Start Where You Are

Self-care is a very individual matter. Some people really do manage to build it into their daily schedules, but most of us have to work a little harder to make time for ourselves.

Pause for coffee or tea and make a list of the things you would love to do. Then actually do some of them. Sign up for that retreat or take time away to visit a friend. Trade in your gym pass for a new bike or spend some time learning more about meditation. Whatever sounds good to you could kick your self-care into action. Enjoy.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Wellington, Fla.

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