Self-Care—I Care

Anna Shmynets

Web Exclusives

Stress is a familiar word to all of us. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel disappointed, annoyed, or anxious. Stress is your body's response to a challenge or an urge.

Studies show there may be negative health consequences from shift work, stress, lack of physical activity, or poor diet. From my own experience, I can tell you that it’s much easier to handle negative thoughts and lower stress when you practice regular self-care.

Emergency dispatchers may see self-care as a luxury, rather than a necessity. They might feel swamped, tired, and incapable of handling life's challenges. After all, work can be stressful. But self-care isn't just about finding ways to relax. It's about taking care of yourself mentally, physically, and emotionally and finding balance in your life.

The good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to take care of yourself. It could be ensuring you get enough sleep every night, going outside for a few minutes each day for some fresh air, eating right, spending time with your friends, or working on your hobbies.

I am a very social person, and I know that not everyone is like that. We all have different social needs, and close connections are important for happiness. However, many times it is challenging to spare some time for your friends and much easier to abandon your relationships when life gets hard. While there isn’t a specific number of hours you should spend with your family or friends, socialization is a key to self-care.

Getting good sleep on a regular basis gives you such benefits as a better immune system, a boost in mood, and better work performance. Look for ways to help get the recommended seven to nine hours of quality sleep. It can make a massive difference when it comes to your overall welfare. 

There are many ways of dealing with tension, and it is important to remember that all the stress relief activities in the world won't help if you’re not taking care of yourself. Likewise, going to a gym from time to time will not relieve all your stress if you're not charging your body with healthy food. You need to take care of your primary needs first in order for your stress relief activities to work.

Taking care of you is essential for building flexibility about those stressors in life that you can't abolish. Sometimes you require more self-care in one specific area to bring back balance or find relief from a stressor in your life. I like to take a walk around the block, sit in the grass, hike with my dog, or just let the sun shine on my face for a few minutes.

If your house or office is not well organized, it can take a toll on your mental state as well. It can make you feel even more stressedworried, and overwhelmed. I love to clean up the space around me because I feel so much better after it’s done.

Don’t forget to spend some time on your hobbies. Whatever makes you happy, just do it for the person you love the most—YOU. Don’t have a hobby? Try something new and see if you like it.

When you find out you’ve neglected a certain aspect of your life, write down a plan for how to change it and what you can do in the next week to prioritize self-care. Organize it, protect it, and appreciate it. Start small and see where it takes you.