Self-care is the foundation to being successful in treatment and life. If you are seeking help and change, it is essential to begin with the basics and to increase respect towards how complex we all are as humans. Basic self-care begins in the schedule. No one is above a schedule and the more structured your schedule is in the beginning of change the more likely you are to be successful and increase change and growth. This means that when you are on a schedule, you, your marriage, relationships, professional life, parenting, creativity, spirituality, etc. will improve dramatically - more than trying to do it without a schedule.
I always use this example in my office. When you were in school, at summer camp, or with healthy adults as a child, there was always a predictable schedule. Also, when i worked in inpatient (locked and unlocked) facilities, the schedule was the key to stability and growth first. A consistent schedule is essential to change and feeling better.
As you begin to write out your schedule, it begins with basic self-care. This includes:
- Sleep: This is very important to feeling better and having a good life. We recommend getting 8 hours of sleep per night and a consistent basis, meaning you go to bed and get up at the same time everyday. There is some flexibility, but deviate no more than a few hours of sleep and not for more than a day or two especially when you are really trying to get better and grow.
- Eating: This is also very important. The best I’ve heard of is 5 small meals a day on a consistent schedule (same time everyday) and have all or most of the foods on the food pyramid. This begins soon after you wake up in the morning. I also suggest using vitamin, mineral, and energy supplements with whole food concentrates to ensure you are getting what you may miss in your diet. This will support you with feeling as healthy as you can as you work on yourself. We always need plenty of energy for change and being healthy.
- Exercise: This is usually the toughest but essential to stability and feeling healthy. No one is above exercise, we all need it on a consistent basis and if you want to feel good, be healthy, think positive, and be successful you must work on exercising more. It is very important to work on this slowly and work at your ability. Cardio and some strength building are both important. It takes some time and effort to get this implemented into your schedule but keep working on it and try not to shame yourself for it not being where you want it or need it to be, you will get there slowly but surely.
- Deep Breathing: Developing healthy breathing is about steady calm breathing patterns. It’s simple but takes practice to master breathing in a way that supports calm and peaceful mind and body. Breathe in through your nose, make your abdomens rise, and the then exhale through your mouth. Repeat this process as many times as possible and as many times as you can throughout the day to reduce stress and pain. There are multiple YouTube videos, books, and articles that walk people through deep breathing and mindfulness-based exercises. Breathing is essential to the therapeutic process so practice as much as possible in conjunction with therapy and you will feel better.
- Meditation: Meditation is a simple approach to help us be present in the moment. It begins with simple breathing techniques and being able to attune to your surroundings. It is one of the most effective tools to self-soothe, and to be able to heal, grow, and change. It sometimes takes support to integrate and begin the practice of meditation. We have been helping our clients learn and use meditation for many years.
- Scheduling: Following a structured daily schedule is essential to being healthy. Using a celendar on paper or on your smart phone is a great way to start. writing out your daily schedule each night before you go to bed will help you stay on track the next day. Include simple self-care ie; when you're getting up, eating breakfast, exercising, going to work, writing in your journal, self-help groups, time with family, grocery store, etc.
- Work: Working at a well-balanced job that is satisfying, safe, healthy, and provides enough income to sustain yourself and your family is a part of effective self-care.
- Volunteering: Taking an hour or two a month to help those who are less fortunate can change your outlook on yourself and the world. It can also help you find a job or figure out what you want to do for a living.
- Financial: Therapy of Hickory, Asheville and Spruce Pine are professionals in problem solving including how to overcome chronic and temporary financial crisis. We help build the tools to be financially stable and also recognize the need for financial professional support and how to use the many community supports for stabilizing finances. We are able to help understand the sometimes underlying problems that lead to financial struggles which can help resolve a seemingly hopeless problem.
- Family: Our professional therapists have an extensive background in helping families but also using the family as a tool to heal those struggling. Families are an asset and our therapists know how to tap into this support to heal, grow, and change.
For more information or to schedule an appointment in Hickory, Asheville, or Spruce Pine: