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Self-Care: What It Is and Why You Should Get Started on It Today

By: Janet Jackson-McCulloch

Somehow, our kids and grandkids have grown up feeling pretty good about themselves. (We played a big part in that, of course.) So why is it so hard for some of us older folks to do the same?

Many of us weren’t raised to pat ourselves on the back. Instead, we were taught to put others’ needs ahead of our own. We were told not to brag or pamper ourselves. Over the course of our lives, we’ve managed to embrace the virtue of humility to a fault. As a result, we’ve never quite learned to appreciate our own value.

As it turns out, this way of thinking is not such a good thing. Self-care, or caring for ourselves, is vital to our health and well-being, especially as we deal with the disruptions of daily life brought on by Covid-19. That’s exactly why helping our members stay actively engaged in things that matter to them is an important aspect of our Smart Aging™ program.

The good news is, we can all learn to reshape our attitudes about our own self-worth.

What Is Self-Care?

Self-care is a new term for an old idea: Taking care of yourself. But this new term encompasses more than simply getting up and dressed each day. Self-care begins with a careful awareness of your well-being and includes any activities that you can do to improve your mental and physical health. You pay close attention to your mind and body and then go about giving them what they need to thrive.

Examples of Self-Care

Mind/body cues Self-care ideas
Poor sleep
  • Try a guided sleep meditation;
  • Get some daily exercise;
  • Cut down on alcohol
  • Invite a friend or family member over for coffee or tea;
  • Try video chatting with loved one or friends using Skype, FaceTime or Viber
  • Try a new hobby—painting, knitting, card-making;
  • Join local activities—a walking club, bridge or bingo;
  • Start a book club with friends

Fun Exercise: What Do You Love About Yourself?

Here’s a fun and interesting exercise to see where you stand. Make a list of all the things you love about yourself. Does the mere thought of doing this intimidate you? Take a deep breath and really try. If it makes it any easier, remember, you don’t have to take credit for everything on your list. You simply have to notice and appreciate it.

If you can’t list 40 things you love about yourself, try for 10, or even 5. But you might ask yourself why you’re struggling. You have many talents and qualities that make you who you are and valuable in this world. This exercise is intended to help you see that—and love yourself for it.

There’s another revelation: it’s not only OK to love yourself; it’s also good for you.

The Surprising Power of Self-Awareness

If you’ve never done this sort of thing, it’s not easy to get started, but it is always worth it. You may benefit from having someone else help you begin to realize just how valuable you really are. Elder Advisory Group is always here for you in that regard. It’s what we do. And we’re not ashamed to say, we’re good at it!

Even more important, we know that once you discover how good it feels to treat yourself as well as you treat others, you’ll find more things to love about yourself every day.




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