Written by Marta Alvarez, an Associate Family Therapist with Compass Behavioral Health Services.
When you need the restroom do you go right away or do you hold it for a while? Your response speaks to how well you practice self-care. In life, sometimes people are conditioned to ignore their needs. However, becoming aware of your needs and creating space for yourself to take care of yourself can enhance your mental well being. Self-care does not need to be costly; rather simple activities like putting lotion on your skin, taking a walk in the park, and drinking water have the ability to make your day brighter. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and in this month, and all others, you can work to make yourself the priority and create a space of self-care.
Love is an essential human need from birth to the end of one’s life. Dr. Gary Chapman identifies the 5 love languages people tend to express. It is important to know which one or two are your preferred languages in order to incorporate this type of care into your self-care practice. People with the love language “words of affirmation” are people who greatly enjoy kind, uplifting, or affirming words. If words brighten your day, try journaling, listening to music, or writing poetry. The second love language is “acts of kindness,” which are helpful acts of services of support. Self-care activities for this language could consist of making your favorite food or planting your favorite type of flower. “Quality time” is an easy love language to practice. This can be listening to yourself, discovering something new about yourself, or doing your favorite things by yourself. The important element here is connecting with yourself. The fourth love language is “gifts.” People who enjoy this language can be as happy with an inexpensive and thoughtful gift as with one that costs a pretty penny. To incorporate this into your self-care practice you can gift yourself anything from something small like a flower in the park to a new shirt in your favorite color. You can create something for yourself such as a card or small trinket. The last language is “physical touch.” When practicing physical touch in self-care, try doing one of the following activities: give yourself a massage, dance, style your hair in a new way, hug yourself, go for a run. It is important to create space to love the person you will be with your entire life- you!
It is important to know that there is no love language that is better than another. They are simply preferred manners of expressing and receiving love. You don't have to wait for someone to give you love- create space to love yourself!
In this month of Mental Health Awareness, let’s focus on our well being by caring for ourselves in a way that fills us with love and affection without the need to depend on others. #speakyourlove