Monday Medical: Self-care in the season of love – Steamboat Pilot & Today

Posted: February 17, 2020 at 6:44 pm


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Its the season of love, which means its a good time to talk about one of your most important relationships: your relationship with yourself.

Our fundamental relationship is the relationship with ourselves, said Molly Lotz, a behavioral health social worker with UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center. In this month focused on love, we can think about what it looks like for us to nurture ourselves and our relationship with our own health.

Below, Lotz outlines her tips for practicing self-care.

A lot of people think of self-care as getting a manicure or buying a new pair of shoes, Lotz said. Theres nothing wrong with those things, but if were calling them self-care, were missing a big chunk of practices and habits that make us feel better and improve our wellness in the long run.

While self-indulgences provide immediate gratification, self-care often doesnt. So dont think youre missing out if the small steps you take for self-care dont seem to have payoffs right away. Instead, stick with it for the long haul and notice subtle shifts that change your life for the better.

Self-care might not always be easy, Lotz said. But recognize that the payoff comes in feeling better, in having your tank full.

Lotz recommends thinking of self-care in three areas.

First is fitness, or improving your physical well-being: that might mean adding a strength routine into your workout schedule or walking more each day. Second is your above-the-neck care, which includes spirituality, mindfulness or meditation, and mental and social health. And third is adding or eliminating something from your diet to improve nutrition.

Making changes in each of those areas can lead to widespread benefits, such as an improvement in your posture, an increase in your energy, a deepening in your relationships and better management of stress.

If you set up a meeting at work, chances are youll make it. Try to do the same with your self-care routine.

We can put self-care into our schedule, so when we get pinged with an appointment reminder, well honor it the same way wed honor a meeting with a co-worker, Lotz said. If somebody blew me off for a meeting, Id feel a little resentful and irritated. So why would I allow myself to do that with myself? We need to recognize self-care is just as important as any interaction with anyone else we work or live with.

Adding any form of self-care is better than what you were doing yesterday, Lotz said. Start by focusing on one thing and cut yourself some slack. These things are not easy and do take practice.

If youre stressed and overextended, its all the more difficult to help those you love.

If our tank is empty, something is going to suffer our health, our relationships, Lotz said. But if were prioritizing what we need and what makes us feel healthy and good, then were automatically more available for the other people in our lives.

Not all self-care is tedious. In fact, one important way of nurturing your mind is to incorporate more laughter and play into your life. Theres fun and lightness in it, Lotz said.

And dont forget that the end result is worth it.

Self-care will allow you to incorporate more fun into your life, to create more room for joy. Youll feel better, and your anxiety will decrease, Lotz said. While the practices may not always be fun, the payoffs are delightful.

These recommendations were inspired by the work of Dr. Jennifer Ashton, the author of The Self-Care Solution.

Susan Cunningham writes for UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center. She can be reached at cunninghamsbc@gmail.com.

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Monday Medical: Self-care in the season of love - Steamboat Pilot & Today

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February 17th, 2020 at 6:44 pm

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