Why self-care should always be a priority | Counselling in Melbourne

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Why self-care should always be a priority

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You may have heard the term ‘self-care’ being used frequently as it becomes more common. But what is it? And why is it important? We’ll explain here.

Self-care is defined as the things we do to look after our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. It can include things like:

  • Attending healthcare appointments
  • Taking appropriate medication
  • Eating well
  • Making time for exercise and movement
  • Making time for rest and relaxation
  • Making time for activities you enjoy
  • Seeing people who you like spending time with
  • Being part of your local community

Let’s take a look at the benefits this can have.

It prevents burnout

In the fast-paced world we live in today, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with the constant demands and pressure to succeed. Unfortunately, this can often lead to burnout, which can seriously affect our mental and physical health. Burnout is “a state of physical and emotional exhaustion.” Someone with burnout may:

  • Feel tired and drained most of the time
  • Feel overwhelmed
  • Feel trapped in their circumstances
  • Feel alone
  • Think about the world in a negative way
  • Doubt their own capabilities
  • Take longer to get things done than normal

But the good news is that self care can help prevent burnout by helping us to refocus our energy, recharge our batteries, and reduce stress levels. You might schedule breaks throughout the day, make time to engage in activities that bring you joy and peace or, if your burnout is related to work, collaborate with your manager to create a plan for managing your responsibilities.

Healthy coping mechanisms help us deal with stress

Stress is a part of life, and the steps we take to deal with it makes a significant difference to how we cope. A healthy coping mechanism is something that is beneficial to your physical and mental health, for example you might eat well, exercise, get plenty of sleep, seek support from loved ones or a therapist, engage in mindful activities like yoga or meditation, or make time for hobbies you enjoy.

In contrast, unhealthy coping mechanisms have a detrimental effect on your wellbeing. Signs you may be using an unhelpful coping mechanism include eating too much or too little, oversleeping, abusing drugs and alcohol, spending money carelessly, and avoiding all situations you might find stressful.

Stay aware of the habits you form during stressful times and reach out to your support system if you find yourself leaning towards unhealthier methods of coping.

It improves your relationships

Self care is a practice that we often associate with physical and mental well-being, but did you know it can also improve your relationships? Taking care of yourself can help you become a better partner, friend, or family member. When we prioritise our own needs and make time for things that help us feel good, we’re more equipped to show up for others. This might mean setting boundaries, communicating more effectively, or simply being more patient and compassionate. It’s easy to overlook self care when we’re busy with work, family, and other responsibilities, but making it a priority can pay off in meaningful ways. By taking care of yourself, you’ll be able to cultivate deeper connections with the people you love, and feel more fulfilled in your relationships.

Please note that the information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not substitute professional medical or mental health advice. If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or needs assistance, please reach out to a mental health professional or helpline in your country or state.

About the editor, Amelia Cambrell

My name is Amelia and I'm a Senior Psychologist at Counselling in Melbourne. I have over 18-years of experience in the mental health space. I am very driven to get the best outcomes for my clients which can be long lasting by using a range of modalities such as CBT. There is nothing more satisfying than helping adolescents, adults and couples who are feeling confused, frustrated, stuck or overwhelmed, to find more clarity, confidence and happiness in their lives.

Find out more about Amelia Cambrell

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