Oftentimes, we hear professionals, spiritual leaders, teachers, coaches and others speak of self-care. “Make time for yourself,” they say. Many of us, on hearing this shoot to conversations with our friends about the lunch or dinner we’re going to have; or start making plans with our families about vacations or road trips we intend to take.Alas, our hopes fall into despair because life can be thunderous, not giving us the time to eat on time or even sleep…so how would it be humanly possible to dedicate an entire day or afternoon to self-care. So then we delude ourselves with rationalizations:
“I have a quick lunch once per month with my bestie”
“I spend half an hour reading every week”
“There’s nothing that a vanilla chai latte can’t fix.”
“All I need is a cold one!”Let’s be honest with ourselves. Can these intermittent activities really be classified as self-care? Most certainly they can alleviate some stress of the moment but are these periodic solutions really solutions at all? My hopes are not to deter you from whatever form of relaxation you choose. Rather, I wish to encourage you to consider that true self-care is the kind that keeps your pressure cooker from screaming altogether, rather than just letting out the steam when you’re already under pressure. What do I mean?
I mean that once we integrate a self-care routine into our everyday lives, then we needn’t get to the point where we’re so full of undesirable thoughts and emotions that we’re ready to burst.

So what does that look like? True self-care…..
1. Daily meditation – in whichever form that suits you best: prayer, reading your Holy Book, sitting in silence, mindfullness, etc.
2. Exercise – again, in whichever form that suits your preference
3. Socialization – healthy, enlightening conversations with family, friends and acquaintances where you are comfortable to experience your emotions as they occur
4. Healthy Diet – healthy can be as easy as ‘everything in moderation’
5. Receiving Hugs – 12 hugs per day which lasts 20 seconds each should be your minimum goal
6. Unplug from technology- allow your brain to rest by removing technological stimulationThese are just a few ways we can incorporate self-care into our DAILY routine. Remember, your body tells you when it’s ill by physical discomforts. It’s more difficult to identify when our minds are distressed so let’s so what we can to preserve and improve our mental health!SELF-CARE CHALLENGE : take 2 sessions daily for 7 days, then repeat

Victoria Siewnarine-Geelalsingh, M.Sc.
Clinical Psychologist

News Reporter
The Trinidad and Tobago Association of Psychologists is the Association representing Psychology and its practitioners in Trinidad and Tobago.

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