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Three Powerful Ways To Take Self Care Of Yourself
Written By: Mark Smith

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For many of us, the New Year is a natural time to begin thinking about ways that we can make our lives healthier and more fulfilling. Much of the therapeutic process we advocate involves learning to get in touch with our needs, wants, feelings and dreams. My definition of a healthy, happy person is some who is #1 really in touch with what they need, #2 they have a strong, direct, non-reactive voice which they use to ask that their needs are meet, #3 they surround themselves with people who are willing and able to meet their needs, and then #4 their needs are consistently met Ė and that feels wonderful. I want to focus on three main areas of self-care that have been extremely beneficial in my own life.

1. Discovery Some Passions! Ė What in this big, beautiful world really lights your fire? What helps you to re-energize? What do you look forward to? Build your life around those things. Life is hard. Being an adult, a parent, an employee is filled with work and responsibilities. Passions help us to let our little kids come out and play. They help to reduce stress. They keep us young, alive and vital. Find something that you can do flips over. Life is too short to be working all the time. The world is filled with exciting, intriguing, refreshing and life enriching avocations. Find one. When you do you will also find a community of people built around your new hobby that you can connect with.

2. Donít settle for an unfulfilling love life! To be truly happy and fulfilled, people need love, intimacy, companionship, good sex and a shared, interdependent lifestyle. Donít get me wrong here; Iím certainly not encouraging you to walk away from your marriage and family if you are unhappy. The grass isnít greener. Actually, I want to encourage you to do the opposite Ė if your marriage isnít working for you then FIX IT. I know what many people will say to that, Ď my husband wonít go to therapy so there isnít anything that I can do about ití. Experience has shown us that if one partner rolls their sleeves up and gets working hard in therapy, it isnít long until that spills over on the other partner. It is shocking how much progress can be made in marital therapy. It is also tragic that many relatively young, physically healthy people chose to just survive in loveless, sexless emotionally dead relationships Ė again, life is too short that nonsense.

3. Find Healthy Ways To Nurture Yourself Ė What do you do to take care of you? It always makes me sad when a new client answers that question by frowning and saying that they do absolutely nothing for themselves. Healthy self-care doesnít have to cost you any money. You donít have to go to a fancy spa to be pampered Ė pamper yourself. The list of self-care possibilities is endless Ė take a walk, buy yourself a cup of gourmet coffee, get a massage, go shopping, go to a movie, visit a tanning salon, go hang out at the bookstore, read a book over lunch while sitting in the sunshine, take time to go to therapy, call a friend, schedule a day off to do nothing, take a nap, jump in the hot tub, etc. One of the most important ways to take care of your is to exercise regularly. I think it is an absolutely required aspect of good mental health. Build an exercise that you enjoy doing into your schedules and then build your life around it. My wife took up running in recent years and it has brought her a tremendous amount of self-esteem and fulfillment. You are worth taking very good care of. If you invest in your self it will not only make you very happy, itíll make you much more effective in everything that you do. Enjoy and nurture yourself. It is my hope that you will give your permission to being kind, loving and gracious with yourself. If you are stuck in this area, give us a call and weíll help you to resolve whatever it is in you that keeps you from blessing yourself with the type of life that you deserve.

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This article was authored by Family Tree Counseling Associates, a marriage, individual and family counseling center serving the Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Westfield and Noblesville communities in Indiana. If you would like to contact us, please fill out a contact us form or call us at 317-844-2442.
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