Self Care

Self-care is an essential aspect of a quality life, yet, difficult for many.  This is important for many individuals.  Self-care is vital to overall health and well-being, and has the potential to assist with high levels of stress, daily stressors, anxiety, depression, grief, welcomed and unwelcomed life transitions, and many other aspects of being human.  For example, a professional that is balancing an array of responsibilities daily, benefits greatly from self-care. A stay at home mom or dad that hasn’t had any real down time or break for weeks, possibly longer, benefits immensely. A person that has recently retired and it adjusting to a completely different lifestyle and set of supports may have a smoother transition with self-care rituals. A child or adolescent that’s contending with growth and development, issues at school, or even the grief and processing of parents’ recent divorce has the potential to work through difficult emotions with the support of self-care. You may identify with one or more of these examples, know somebody with similar experiences, or have your own unique story and life circumstances.

For example, meditation, mindfulness, and self-hypnosis are each self-care techniques that assist with capacities to decompress, relax, and bring balance to an individual.  These techniques assist in relaxing the parasympathetic nervous system.  For many, this allows deeper slower breathing, which aids in increased oxygen to one’s brain, lowered blood pressure, and relief from emotional and physiological symptoms of stress.

I have encountered clients and individuals that enjoy relaxation techniques and those that have difficulty with gaining the discipline to practice relaxation as part of self-care with consistency.  It does take commitment, practice, and, at times, the assistance of a professional’s help and expertise.  Other times, it is as easy as downloading an app and carving out time to begin.  This is especially relevant for those preoccupied with anxiety.  It is difficult for many suffering with anxiety to step away from the anxiety experienced; especially those with generalized anxiety.  Many clients fear stepping away from anxious thoughts.  The thoughts will feel more manageable after practicing any combination of the self-care and relaxation techniques discussed.  At times, a therapist may utilize self-hypnosis with cognitive behavioral therapy when it appears beneficial for the client.  A therapist may also recommend a combination of each technique to practice at home in between sessions.

Additionally, mindfulness, meditation, and self-hypnosis have potential to be beneficial for a person (at any age) with sleep issues.  Deep breathing is a beneficial facet of relaxation.  Deep breathing is relevant to, for example, young children with fears that contribute to sleeping issues, as well as, for adults that fall asleep to the sound and lights of a television only to experience decades of interrupted sleep cycles and the difficulties correlated with these behaviors.  Engaging in these techniques assist with redirecting focus and aiding in a sense of well-being to assist in promoting healthier sleep cycles over time.

There are an array of meditation, mindfulness, and self-hypnosis techniques as part of self-care.  The benefit of having options is in giving more opportunities to find a combination of techniques for individuals to utilize at different times.  As a counselor, it is beneficial for my clients to have several different types of self-care techniques available. At times, I recommend starting with one technique, checking in with how the client feels, and with time, building towards having several positive self-care options available to choose from. Integrating a variety of self-care rituals in different environments gives opportunity to practice positive and consistent self-care habits across the life-span.  I engage in each of the techniques discussed, and many others as part of my self-care rituals.  I enjoy aspects of each; especially self-hypnosis.  For me, practicing each, dually relaxes and reenergizes me as a human-being.  In Part-2 of the Self-Care segment, I will discuss a different set of self-care techniques to utilize with what was discussed in Part-1. Self-Care Part-2 will include more active ways to manage stress.

Feel free to share some of your experiences of utilizing meditation, mindfulness, and/or self-hypnosis as part of self-care. Leave a comment with any questions or curiosity you may have for more information regarding meditation, mindfulness, and/or self-hypnosis as part of self-care.

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