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The importance of self care... what and why?


It's all over the news, #selfcare is almost overrated. But it is so important.

But what is self care? Self-care is the action of taking time to look after yourself, not only physically, but above all #emotionally and #mentally.


Oh! I am taking care of myself!


I am taking care of myself when I get home from work or when the kids are in bed:  I watch tv and cool down from my day!

That’s good for you!! #Relaxing is good for you. It allows you to turn your brain off and not think about anything. But when your tv show is over and you are back into the #reallife, are you still as #tired as you were before you sat down on the couch? I bet you are. So you have #rested, you haven't done any self-care. I use the phrase ‘ #recharging your batteries’ to refer to self-care.

Let me make it more clear with the car analogy

Let's say you're driving your car and the gas light lights up letting you know you're running low on fuel. Resting is like stopping on the side of the highway. You know you won't run out of gas, but you can't go any further either.

In real life, you are crashing on your couch when you get home. That means you will always be looking almost desperately for times when you can rest, turn your brain off, have a longer break at work, take a vacation, or even better, book an all -inclusive vacation!

Back to the car. When the gas light comes on, recharging your batteries means taking the next exit, taking the back road until you reach the gas station, getting out of the car, full the car with gas, pay for your gas and get back on the road to get where you wanted to go.

And yes, it takes #effort. It takes #time. It even takes #money (thankfully, recharging your batteries can be done for free!) But it's the only way to be sure you'll make it to your #destination. Not only do you know you'll get there, but you won't have to worry about possible detours or slowdowns along the way. In real life, this means that you take time for yourself on a #daily basis, ideally, and that you're #present in your life, not trying to #escape your daily routine, your #family, your #work, your #alone time or your #home.


So how do you go from relaxation to charging you batteries?

First of all, it's important to know that charging your batteries only happens while you are #awake. You can't recharge while #unconscious (#asleep).

It helps to #visualize three #buckets. We all have these three (imaginary) buckets inside us.  A bucket of #love, of #energy and of #power / #control.

Every day, we use what's in our buckets, so we need to #refill them.


How do you empty your buckets?

#Love bucket

Making #small #gesture to the people we love, by being #present for a friend in difficulty, by #emotionally #supporting a friend going through heartbreak, by reassuring our child who has been #frightened or #hurt, etc. All these small actions, even if they're #sincere, #geniune and come from the depths of your #heart, takes from your bucket of love.


#Energy bucket

Anything that requires energy. Getting up in the #morning when you don't feel like going to work, doing chores you don't enjoy, playing with the kids when you haven't slept well, having a big #busy or #stressful day at work, having a to-do list that seems endless, having a #mentalload related to domestic, administrative, children chores etc. Everything that requires physical and/or mental energy takes away from your energy bucket.


#Power / #control bucket

Every time we have to do something we don't like, every time we use the words "I have to, I must, I should, I need to" we empty our bucket a little. Every time someone makes a #choice or a #decision for us, whether we like it or not, or every time we don't feel free in our #decisionsmaking or #actions. For some people, it's also when they don't feel free to #think.

Note that the power/control bucket is about the power you have over your own life and the control you exert over yourself, not the power and control you have or would like to have over others!


Can you #visualize your buckets? How full is your love bucket? Your energy bucket? And your power/control bucket?

An empty car tank will cause the car to stop working. The human bucket is a little different from the car tank because it can be completely empty and even go below zero, and you would still find a way to function somehow.  Are your buckets still filled or negative (in debt)?

When a car's tank is #empty, we say it ran out of gas. In general, if the driver pays attention to his car, he'll know that the warning light is on and that he has a certain number of kilometers to go before it runs out of gas.  The person who pays attention to the signals in his #body will have clues that the “running out of love, energy or control/power” is coming. But not everyone knows how to #recognize or make sense of these signals in their body. And not everyone knows what to do if and when they #notice the signals.

For concret and practical ways to #rechargeyourbatteries that you can start using right now, have a look at the next post "How to recharge my batteries and fill in my buckets".

Take care, and I mean it! ;)

Jessica Bastonnais MSW, RWS, MSS, TS

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