Self-care, we talk about it all the time, but what exactly is it? by Dr. Munn Saechao, Online Therapist for Professional Women of Color and Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist in Mountain View, CA.

One of the things I enjoy teaching and talking about is self-care and how to help parents, professionals, and mental health providers to develop a healthier understanding and application of self-care.

I’ve been studying psychology and social work for 15 years and have worked in the mental health field for 11 years and I’m still trying to figure out how to live a life centered around “self-care.” It would be nice if all my meals were balanced and healthy, I practiced daily meditation and exercised for 30-60 minutes, I slept 8 hours a night and consumed 64 ounces of water a day. These self-care activities all sound good but they’re not practical, not in my life at least. Particularly when we are inundated with external demands, social expectations, and have student loans to pay off to say the least, it’s quite easy to allow “self-care” to fall to the wayside.

I’ve come to learn overtime that self-care is about acknowledging where I’m at and being kind to myself. While we all can develop healthier habits, which would behoove us in general, what’s most important is having a healthy relationship with oneself by tuning into our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, and responding to those innermost needs. While running is a significant part of my life, I’m not always able to run 60 minutes a day, sometimes it’s only 20 minutes a day because it’s all I can do given my daily agenda. My inner critic then tells me, “Why didn’t you run 30 minutes?” My rational mind responds with, “20 minutes is better than nothing; at least I got a run in.” If you walk away with something from this post, I hope it’s around shifting the meaning of self-care, and that is, being more self-compassionate. I encourage you today to be kind to yourself.

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Disclaimer: The content in this post is only intended to increase your knowledge on parenting and child development; it is not online therapy. If you’re concerned about your child’s immediate safety please call 911 and consult with a licensed clinician about any clinical symptoms you are observing in your child