So what does it mean to practice self care? We often associate self care with things that we do once in a while - like getting a massage or taking a bath, but I like to think about self care as meaningful self care on a daily basis as a way to take care of our emotional and physical needs. I like to think of the four C's of self care: Clock, Care, Connection, and Compassion. When we think of clock, we think of making time, dedicating time to taking care of ourselves. Sometimes this could be a very short practice - taking one or two minutes to do some deep breathing, a brief guided meditation or some journaling - or sometimes we might decide to dedicate a longer time to a more involved practice. The second step is care. How do you really take care of yourself? This often begins with physical practices, such as nutrition, sleep, exercise, and then can move beyond that to meditation, journaling practices, and so forth. The third step is connection. Making time to connect with family and friends on a regular basis so that we're both giving support and receiving support. Connection can also mean connecting to a professional. So for example, if you're struggling with severe stress, depression, or anxiety, making it a priority to seek professional support can actually be a very important part of self care. And the last step is compassion - self compassion in particular. Oftentimes when we think of self care, we can actually get a bit rigid with our routines and get hard on ourselves if we're not doing our journaling every night or we haven't exercised every day. Really noticing our internal voice and making it a practice to be kind to ourselves as we go through our self care routines is very, very important. Also, compassion towards other people. Things like random acts of kindness, service, and helping others can go a long way in helping us to feel good about ourselves.
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