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Black Minds Matter

The Best Ways to Prioritize our Self-care

June 01 2021

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Alkeme Health

Identifying self-care techniques and tendencies

These days, we’re so used to hearing the term “self-care.” But what does it actually mean? A lot of us think of self-care as anything that makes us feel good. Which honestly, can quite often be things like drinking and smoking. And although drinking is legal and marijuana is in a lot of States, we know that these activities shouldn’t be our primary source of tranquility. Self-care in a nutshell is the idea of doing healthy things that lead to a healthy mind. It doesn’t have to be this extravagant experience of candles, incense and Miles Davis or Ssnoh Alegra. It can be much, much more simple.

We spoke with therapist, Arron Muller, LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) on what self-care is often thought of as, and what it really is.

Before we dive into actual self-care techniques and tendencies, let’s first address what self-care is not. “Folks may believe that drinking or smoking may be a part of your self-care to relax,” says Muller. “But if we aren’t mindful, it can consume us in a very harmful way. So be mindful about how much consumption of that substance you’re having. Because it can really shift from that self-care activity to a very problematic habit.”

And what’s even worse is that problematic habits are hard to break. So being mindful of what our negative habits are will only benefit our healthy self-care activities.

According to Muller self-care can be:

  • Prayer/guided prayer
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • The gym
  • Massages
  • Going for a walk
  • Going to a museum
  • Getting your hair or nails done

Self care is anything that will keep you active or can even be sedentary things like reading a book. It’s all about indulging in anything that can center or relax you.

If we don’t prioritize self-care we can lose sight and track of the importance of allowing ourselves to reset. As human beings we are so used to going, going, going we forget that we can burnout if we don’t recalibrate.

“Let’s look at what we’ve been through in the last year with loss and all the racial tension going on. If we don’t prioritize our mental health that can be very dangerous in terms of our daily functioning,” says Muller. “If we don’t take the time to detach from social media and just be present and re-center, we are doing ourselves a disservice. Because that affects the quality of the work we’re doing and our interactions with friends and family. Are you truly being present when you’re just going, going, going? You’re not. You see an increase in substance use and self-medication because we don’t have coping skills because we don’t take time for ourselves.”

There are self-coping mechanisms we all have a habit of indulging in at certain moments. But they can’t be an immediate and habitual outlet. Because overall, they aren’t actually benefiting us. Which is the only reason why we’ve turned to them in the first place, for relief.

The next time you find yourself ready to indulge in self-care make sure you take into account what that indulgence is. And if you find that it is commonly something that is a substance, stop yourself. Take a moment to think about what else may benefit you. Could you take a walk instead? Maybe call a friend? Or even just simply cook yourself a nice meal.

Self-care can be so many things. Don’t let common habits dictate what that means for you. Nobody has the power over your mind, body and soul like you do - make sure you remember and take pride in that.

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Alkeme Health

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