Self-care is a hot topic that often relates to activities like exploring a hobby or heading to the spa. But what happens when to-do’s hijack your day and life is so busy that you can’t even manage a basic self-care routine such as getting a full night’s rest or pausing to sit down for a nutritious meal?
If you feel so overwhelmed that self-care of any kind seems impossible, you’re not alone. Many people in the United States are suffering from what experts call a wellness deficit disorder.
“America is a land of riches, yet our wellness levels are on the decline. Life might look great from the outside, but many people are not living life from a place of wellness. They’re just going through the motions. This is what wellness deficit disorder is all about,” said Saundra Jain, adjunct clinical affiliate, School of Nursing, University of Texas at Austin.
Radical self-care is a concept receiving ample attention because it is different from the traditional self-care you often hear about. Jain explained that radical self-care centers on self-compassion.
“Radical self-care is about making progress, not about perfection. It doesn’t have to be something complicated, time consuming or expensive. For example, it could be learning to set healthy boundaries and saying no more often. Because when you can say no, it enriches when you say yes,” she said.
Jain recently spoke at the NEXUS trauma summit about radical self-care and how to begin a meaningful routine no matter where you are on your wellness journey. She suggests a daily check-in with yourself to see how your body feels and where your head is at. Taking one day at a time is essential, providing yourself compassion for what you are able to accomplish as well as not accomplish.
Radical self-care can seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. In addition to daily check-ins with yourself, Jain shares the following steps to help anyone succeed.
Radical self-care made easy
Breathe: Take a break and breathe in deeply through your nose and then exhale slowly through your mouth. A few deep breaths offer a space to relax and reconsider rather than reacting to a stressful and overwhelming situation. This is a simple yet powerful way to reset.
Stretch: Stand tall, lift your arms above your head and reach upward. Allow your arms to slowly drift down and rest next to your body. Shrug your shoulders up and down. Repeat until you feel tension evaporate.
Close your eyes: Close your eyes and imagine a place that fills you with a sense of calmness. Slowly breathe in and out as you visualize this place of peacefulness. Think about how it impacts your senses. Allow your body to relax into this special place.
If you’d like to learn more about mental health and radical self-care visit NexusMentalHealth.com.
“Wellness is a basic human right,” said Jain. “Radical self-care is a path to wellness. It is made up of practices we rely on no matter what’s happening in our life. Something as simple as mindful breathing is a wonderful reset. Radical self-care practices allow us to be at our very best.”