You may have heard the term Self Care bandied about when people get their nails done or go golfing with friends, but in psychology we mean something with more breadth than a spa day.
We mean understanding all the ways you have to spend energy each day just to stay alive, and what it feels like to run out of said energy: exausted, despairing, discouraged, drained, over it. Thats because the autonomic nervous system (ANS) includes the sympathetic part (SNS) that is activated through positive and negative stress and exercise, while the parasympathetic part (PNS) is activated by relaxation, rest and digestion, and we need to balance this activation dance to feel well.
You might have noticed how all this works when after a good night's rest , you feel much better. Duh! That makes sense of course, you were tired so sleeping did the trick. But what if you wake up and still feel that way? You may want to try some other kind of self care to get more PNS activation going.
Good news! There are lots of ways to take care of the self, in fact, according to one view poin, we have 8 domains (Satir, 1989) of self that may need activation. If this surprises you, it could explain why lately, a good night's sleep or manicure, just isn't feeling that rejuvenating. You may need an entirely different kind of fuel to recharge yourself and have a full tank of gas to get through all your many ANS activities.
Imagine yourself as a car that needs fuel to run, and you are running out of fuel! But, you are a special kind of car with 8 different tanks to fill. Which kind of fuel are you low on, where is that gas station for you? Use the tool below to help you figure this out.
- Which tank is lowest? Why?
- Do I park at a favorite gas station and ignore my other tanks? If so, which one and why?
- What interferes most with my self care? Why?
- What free and easy thing can I do in less than 5 minutes to boost my lowest domain?
Consider prioritizing a domain that has less than half a tank, think of some activities you might do that are accessible to you, and I encourage you to THINK SMALL here.
Instead of a trip to the beach (takes to long and I am tired!) how about listening to ocean sounds on your phone and thinking about happy times at the beach? Feel better?
Now imagine all your domains are getting some kind of care each week... how do you think that might impact your life?
I lovingly take care of myself so that I am full of energy for all the things in my life.