Mindful self care Part 5: Prioritizing self care

[Relaxing Music.] Welcome to the final video on this series on ‘Mindful self-care’. My name is Sue Schneider, with Colorado State University Extension. Our hectic, stressful lives can make it difficult for us to take care of ourselves. Oftentimes, self-care feels like just another thing on our impossible to-do list. And when we’re feeling bad, we may not be motivated to do the things that might help us feel better. Our culture teaches us, and many of us have accepted the view that self-care is selfish. But let me assure you, especially during times of stressful and difficult times, self-care is truly self-full. The formula is simple: The quantity of care you give to yourself directly contributes to the quality of care you can give to others. Mindful self-care means attending to your needs just as they are with full acceptance and self-compassion. It requires giving yourself permission to press the pause button on your busy life in order to take care of yourself. And like anything else, self-care takes practice. One resource that can be helpful in prioritizing self-care is called the Wheel of Health. This was developed by Duke Integrative Medicine and is used by Integrative Health Coaches throughout the country. Here you can see all of the domains of self-care that are shaded in green – like nutrition, rest, spirituality, relationships and communication. These areas of self-care are surrounded in blue by domains of professional care which can include everything from getting regular physical exams, to seeking counseling, to utilizing alternative health treatments. On the inside of the Wheel of Health is the word YOU surrounded by mindful awareness. The wheel challenges us to examine how well we are staying present in our lives and attending mindfully to our needs. This wheel is a nice tool to help you assess your current and desired self-care balance. Look at each domain of self-care and professional care and take note of how well you are attending to them. You might want to rank each area on a scale of 1-10, 1 meaning that you’re making a very low investment in that area and 10 meaning that you’re fully invested in that area. Maybe nutrition ranks the lowest at a 2. You might begin thinking about steps you can take to better nourish yourself. Identify 2-3 next steps that you might take to start bringing your wheel of health into greater balance. Remember to make these steps small. You need to succeed in each of these steps in order to build confidence as you take on bigger behavior changes. Take some time to consider what areas on this wheel of health you’d like to work on. Enlist your family and friends to support you, and even join you. And as you build out your self-care plan, ask yourself these questions: Do I need to slow down? Do I need to scale back my goals and to-do lists? Do I need to build greater connections? Do I need to spend more time doing things I love? Do I need to be kinder to myself? Do I want to be more present for my life? Do I count my blessings every day? There are many things research tells us can help us improve our physical and mental health and our optimism towards the future. Plant some new self-care seeds – and see what happens. I wish you well! [Relaxing Music.]

Jerry Heath

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