We all understand the importance of protecting our physical health by eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise and adequate rest. What we don’t think about as much is the importance of protecting our emotional health. Taking care of our emotional health is important because our attitudes, how and what we think, play a big part in shaping our experiences, our worldview and even our accomplishments.
Just like the food pyramid is designed to help us make the best dietary choices for our physical health, the personal care pyramid helps us make the best choices for our emotional health. The building blocks of the pyramid are self-care, support and self-help.
Much as the words suggest, self-care is about finding ways to be gentle, loving, affirming, nurturing, supportive and encouraging of ourselves. There are many ways to practice self-care. Here are some suggestions:
Check in with yourself throughout the day. What thoughts and feelings have been coming up most for you? Can you identify their source? Is there anything you need or are ready to do about your feelings? Pay attention to how you are feeling and what you are saying to yourself.
Take regular, deep breaths. Sometimes this is all it takes to calm and refocus yourself. It is okay to do this several times a day. Know what works for you and when you need a time out.
Make your emotional well-being a priority – you are important enough and no matter how busy you are, you have the time. Decide to make time for things that nurture and restore you.