Self-care is complex. Anyone can tell you to do it, but only you can give the gift of self-care to yourself. But before you can begin, you’ve got to first recognize that you are worthy and in need of caring for yourself. Just as you do for others.
Self-care is any act that you do deliberately in order to take care of your mental, emotional, or physical health.
So how can you start doing this?
First by noticing the ways in which you are currently not taking good care of yourself.
Here’s 5 warning signs you’re not practicing enough self-care
1. You get sick more often
When we don’t take proper care of ourselves, our health takes a big hit. Lack of proper sleep and nutrition can lead to a weakened immune system, which in turn makes you vulnerable to infections, colds, flu, and other immune related medical problems.
Never before has it been more prudent to take care of your immune systems and maintain proper sleep and nutritional habits. Vitamin D, Zinc, whole fruits and vegetables, exercise, moderation of alcohol and avoiding smoking are all wise choices to make as it pertains to boosting your immunity.
2. Increased moodiness
What happens when a child doesn’t get the care and attention they deserve? They begin to act out in order to get any attention they can.
In the same way, a lack of self-care and feeling unimportant can lead to increased irritability in adults. Yes, even adults can have temper tantrums, (and often do!) especially when they don’t feel heard, understood, and respected. If you don’t feel this way during your interactions in your close relationships, this is a sure warning sign you need to more self-care.
3. physical symptoms
What can start out as unpleasant (and even scary) physical symptoms, can be a sign of poor self care.
Symptoms can include dizziness, shortness of breath, chest pains, heart palpitations, abdominal pain, headaches, GI disturbance, and fainting spells. All of the symptoms should be checked out by your healthcare provider immediately.
4. Feeling Isolated
When you feel that you don’t deserve to care for yourself, you naturally feel unworthy of joy in other aspects of life, like socializing and a true connection to friends and family. This mindset can lead to detachment from others and a sense of isolation.
If you find yourself feeling lonely more often and avoiding others, this is an indication that something isn’t right and you need to reevaluate things.
Feelings of worthlessness can snowball into feelings of hopelessness and depression. Lack of motivation, increased irritability, disinterest in activities, disruption in sleep, and increased angry outbursts are also signs of depression.
If you have noticed yourself slipping farther and farther into a depressive state, it’s important that you find an awesome therapist you like and trust to help you recognize where the darkness has come from, and how to break through back into the light.
Life is short. Self-care can be too. Make time for yourself on a regular basis to reconnect with your center, find balance, and pause. It can be a 5 minute walk on your lunch break or a long hot shower at the end of the day. Carving out regular time for activities such as exercise, yoga, massage, and meaningful conversations with friends and family are all part of a great self-care plan.
James Killian, LPC is the Principal Therapist & Owner of Arcadian Counseling in New Haven, CT where they specialize in helping over-thinkers, high achievers, and perfectionists reduce stress, increase fulfillment and enhance performance so they can move From Surviving To Thriving.