I don’t know who determined that self-care awareness month would be September, but it was a great call. September is when we go back to school. September is when we are in transition between summer and school schedules. September is when we face whether we are adjusting well to the change in busyness, focus, and goals. Yes, September is a great choice for self-care awareness month because this is a time, we especially need it, even if we don’t quite feel that way yet.
If you Google ‘self-care images‘, you will quickly see a bunch of creative, colorful images. These graphics are a great way of showing the many categories of self-care, giving us many options for how to holistically approach our wellbeing. Here are just a few categories and ideas from those lists:
·Physical: This can include sleep, exercise, nutrition choices, body comfort exercises
·Personal/Creative: Engaging with hobbies, creative endeavors, goal setting, living authentically
·Emotional: Self-compassion, going to therapy, journaling, coping with stress
·Financial: Meeting goals, feeling financially stable, paying bills, setting spending boundaries
·Work: Work/rest/play balance, taking physical and mental breaks, accomplishing goals
·Space/Personal Environment: Clean living environment, feeling safe, healthy options
·Spiritual: Rejuvenation, prayer, meditation, time connecting with nature/organic materials
·Social: Connected support system, boundaries with social media, time with friends
Because the wheels of busyness often start churning faster in September, it can be hard for us to pause and assess how we are doing in these categories of self-care because we probably haven’t reached the experience of burnout yet. But we don’t want to wait until we are completely wiped out in October or November, just hanging on by a thread for fall break or Thanksgiving break to come along. Self-care should be practiced a little bit each day in a variety of ways to help us stay on track for a healthy, fulfilling semester.
For just a little more motivation to attend to your self-care goals now here’s a reminder of what burnout can feel like:
·Worry over work or responsibilities
·Irritability or a “short fuse”
·Low energy and reduced interest in work
·Avoidance and isolation to avoid work or responsibilities
·Apathy, little hope that things will improve
· A sense of detachment from others and the environment
Yes, burnout sounds awful. But we have to remember that burnout comes about in stages. It is often a preventable experience that can be avoided or reduced by making sure that we are attending to our self-care and keeping our whole person regularly restored for all the pouring out that we do. Take care of yourself this month so that you are still able to keep going next month. Investing in yourself helps you better care for yourself, others, and the work ahead. And that benefits everyone.
September 20, 2021. By Anne Rulo, Author, Speaker, Therapist. www.annerulo.com. FB/IG/Twitter @annemrulo