By Charles Jarvis, LMHC
As the years go on, we all find ourselves busier and busier. Between living through the pandemic, trying to teach kids with remote learning techniques, and meeting the pressures of a capitalist society–we all lose sight of ourselves a little. Anxiety has been increasing, stress-management techniques less employed, and this aspect of “survival” has emerged in many of us. But now is the time to “get back to normal” and return to the joys of living.
Sleep, Food and Exercise
Self-care means many things to different people. Whether it is doing something you enjoy, having a chance to decompress, or maintaining a busy schedule with tasks outside of the normal–it is important to our daily success.
I engage with all walks of life in my work in the hospital, all of whom are experiencing some sort of crisis which brings them to therapy. Each individual is looking for help with different aspects of their life but there are three tenets of self-care that are important to establish – sleep, proper appetite, and exercise.
It is all too common to find people trying to squeeze more activities into the day, both going to bed late and rising early. The on-going aspect of “there’s just not enough time” seems to be paramount. But focus on these aspects to keep you feeling well and running efficiently through the day.
Practicing Self Care
How can you focus on these tenets during your busy day? Here are just a few ideas to try:
- Sleep: Set an alarm for a consistent bedtime as well as a wake-up time to help establish a routine – this makes the body feel restored and happy on awakening.
- Food: Don’t focus on a restricted “diet”. Instead, plan your meals to focus on incorporating better food – this keeps the body fresh, hydrated, and less sluggish throughout the day.
- Exercise: Schedule a bit of exercise into each day, at your lunch break for example. Don’t think of it as a race to finish but a time to get outside and see nature – this provides a relaxing sensation and related heightened efficiency when returning to the tasks at hand.
For myself, I find fitting these activities into your workday to be highly efficient. It is normal, especially during the summer, to close my office to accommodate a walk during the scheduled lunch break after having a balanced meal and night of rest.
Remember, practice makes perfect, and no one will be able to change these habits in one day. Typically, 2 weeks to 1 month is needed to start a new behavior, 6 months of consistency makes it a routine. Take joy in your success on this journey and celebrate your accomplishments. It’s a new day, and you’re making a new you.
About Charles Jarvis, LMHC Charles Jarvis is a licensed mental health counselor practicing in Massachusetts with a master’s degree in counseling psychology. He has been working in mental health since 2008 and has held a variety of critical roles. As a community hospital site manager, he has a specialized focus on those in the community experiencing mental health crises. In addition, he has worked in outpatient therapy, day, and community programs as well as specializing in populations with life-threatening symptoms. He enjoys talking to people with an aim to support his clients in their goal to achieve a better life experience.