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Best Advice

When I teach other therapists on the subject of self-care I often tell them, "Sometimes the best advice we can give is to ourselves." I tell them this because like many in the healing practices (doctors, nurses, and mental health practitioners), we can let our own health care decline as we focus on the needs of our clients. When we take home this attitude to serve others we can continue the downward spiral of unhealthy practices that contribute to our poor quality of life, obesity, addiction, physical illness and even mental illness (depression and anxiety). An unbalanced work life affects all aspects of living and so it is very important to take care of oneself in order to truly care for others.

The overused example of the benefits of self-care is the airplane oxygen directions, "Parents' put on your oxygen mask first, then attend to your children." The reason this is advised is you may save your child from discomfort while you provide them air first, but what happens to them when you loose consciousness while attending to their needs? Who will care for them when you're unable to?

To care for your own needs is often explained away because we are told we are being "selfish." Actually, to not take care of yourself is more selfish because when you fall apart someone else will have to take care of you. There is scientific evidence to support that those who do not take care of their health (mental and physical) end up with chronic illness, cancers, heart disease, and shortened life expectancy. So, get over your selfishness and start taking care of yourself instead. Your life and those around you will greatly benefit the change.

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