Self Care. How to find a routine that works for you.

Self care is something we do deliberately to take care of our physical, emotional and mental health.  There are many ways to take care of yourself. Exercise, cooking, massage, being outside, reading and watching T.V. are just a few of my own self care tactics.  

Everybody has their own version of self care but some people are better at prioritizing it than others.  I consider myself VERY good at self care. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized what my limits are in terms of tipping the balance into stress and anxiety.  If I don’t take care of myself in my way, I tend to get stressed and overwhelmed. I have recognized this pattern since I started working and over the years I have figured out how I need to care for myself in order to stay emotionally and physically balanced.  I know what my boundaries are and I’ve learned over the years not to put myself in a situation that leads me to a stressful place.

Not everybody cares for themselves in the same way. I have a close friend who at first glance I would say isn’t as good at self care as I am.  She tends to focus on the tasks she has in front of her and prioritizes them above everything else. In my world, this looks like the opposite of self care. In contrast, accomplishing tasks and checking things off her list IS self care for her. If she has tasks hanging over her head, she is unable to relax at all.  I would argue that she does not prioritize exercise, she never gets a massage and she suffers for it. She has recently started meditating regularly and this has really worked for her.  This is what she needs to stay on track and not get overwhelmed. I on the other hand have no problem dropping everything when I need a break and doing what I need to do to get back on track and come back to it later.  I can put everything on the back burner until I’m ready to come back to it.

I’ve also noticed some people practice self care by staying as busy as possible.  This is the opposite of my strategy but it still really works for some people. My friend falls on this end of the spectrum.

As a Pilates teacher I help people care for their physical well being. Looking after your body is a self care strategy that is really important.  I enjoy helping people move and in turn discover different sides of themselves. They discover they are stronger than they thought or they are able to do movements they never thought they’d be able to do. A regular Pilates practice is allowing them to set up a self care strategy that works for them. Exercise is one of my most important self care strategies. For me, it is a form of meditation and a way to stay fit.  This contributes to better sleep, health and is part of an overall self care strategy that works for me.

Do you have a self care strategy? If not, it’s never too late and I think picking up Pilates practice is a great place to begin.