As a therapist in Northern Virginia, Maryland and Washington DC, one thing that I identify in many of my clients is a tendency to put others before themselves. Maybe this means their family, their partner, or even their boss. It is easy to have a tendency to push our own needs to the bottom of the list, in favor of all of the other important things happening in life. Many feel pressure to live up to high expectations, and keep up with the fast pace that everyone seems to operate at.
What some people don’t realize is that it is of the utmost importance to practice self care – every day! If we are feeling burnt out, or unhappy how can we live productive lives at home, in the workplace, or anywhere? How can we pour out for others, when our own cup is empty? A great way to begin to cultivate a self care practice is to start by doing one thing each day that makes you feel good. This could be something as simple as practicing gratitude or even wearing your favorite pair of shoes! There is no one size fits all for self care, but here are some ideas from a Rockville MD therapist to get you started.
Try making a list of three things you are grateful for as soon as you wake up in the morning. Really savor your morning cup of coffee or tea, taking in the aroma, taste, warmth of the cup in your hand.
Make time for the things that recharge you.
Spend time with friends, family, or alone- know what recharges you, whether it’s conversation or a walk through nature. Take care of yourself by getting sleep and being good to your body.
Learn how to manage stress
When you feel overwhelmed, try simply taking in a long deep breath for 4 seconds, holding it for 5 seconds, and exhaling for 7 seconds. Perhaps you want to cultivate a meditation practice (if only for a few minutes!) or try doing yoga.
Learn how to say no and ask for help
Though it can be difficult, setting boundaries is an extremely important component of self care. You can’t do it all on your own. Make an effort to say no to things you cannot commit to, and to reach out to loved ones when you are in need. Practice self care by finding a therapist who can help you when you are feeling stuck and find your needs at the bottom of your list.
My overall suggestion as a Washington, DC therapist is to make time for yourself. If you need to see an individual therapist in Bethesda, or a family counselor in Rockville or Potomac, please do not hesitate to call us at (301) 200-5290.