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Self-Care: Have you had it all wrong?

Updated: Jan 7, 2020

What is Self-Care?


We’re surrounded by the message that we need to take care of ourselves...as if the act of these behaviors would miraculously take care of all of our difficulties. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big proponent of self-care; however, I feel like, a lot of times, we have misconstrued the true definition of self-care.


We engage in behaviors because we feel that we need or should be doing so, rather than engaging in behaviors that rejuvenate us and allow us to show up in the best ways for ourselves and others. Often times, when we “should” on ourselves, we feel more pressure and guilt which is the complete opposite of what we want to be feeling! For me, self-care includes the intentional engagement in behaviors that are promoting our physical and emotional wellbeing, while at the same time, checking in with ourselves and allowing ourselves to just be and do the exact things that fill us up in that moment.



3 Essentials to Self-Care

One: Exercise

The traditional advice: Exercise daily to help release those feel good hormones.


Your reality: Exercise isn’t your favorite thing. You’re happy to go to that new barre studio with a friend before brunch, but getting it into your everyday routine is definitely a challenge.


What Dr. Sheva says: OK, the truth is that exercise IS important. Do I get it in everyday? Definitely not. BUT. I do think everyday about what I need to do for my physical body that day...it may be cycling, walking, stretching, yoga...whatever it is, however short or long, I do consider based on how I’m feeling that day and what my body is needing. Be intentional about selecting exercises that you actually enjoy. And mix it up. I encourage at least one day of yoga in your weekly routine to slow everything down and declutter all the noises and stress so that you can really center yourself! Yoga helps in working through internal conflicts and is actually quite therapeutic.



Two: Quieting the Inner Self-Critic (Uh, BYEEEE)

The traditional advice: Wake up 15 minutes early to meditate and write in your gratitude journal. Schedule an hour of exercise per day.


Your reality: This just feels like a lot more work. You’re exhausted and feel guilty that you’re not taking steps to take care of you (probably a bit of shoulding happening)...and you have so many other things that you have to do for the remainder of the day.


What Dr. Sheva says: Acknowledge that you’re being self-critical… and that it sucks. Start to get curious about where that self-critical voice is coming from...is it a familiar voice? The voice is often so familiar and common place that we don’t even realize that it is happening nor do we challenge it...we treat the voice as truth. What is the impact of continuing to believe this? Probably quite dangerous. Quick tip to help you in the moment- Think about what you would say to a friend in the exact same situation. We’re often able to provide more accurate feedback to a friend because we have more emotional distance from their situation, as well as are a lot… I mean, A LOT more compassionate towards them. Try it out.


Three: Spend time just for you.

The traditional advice: Wake up 15 minutes early to meditate and write in your gratitude journal. Schedule an hour of exercise per day.


Your reality: This just feels like a lot more work. You’re exhausted and feel guilty that you’re not taking steps to take care of you (probably a bit of shoulding happening)...and you have so many other things that you have to do for the remainder of the day.


What Dr. Sheva says: How much time throughout the day do you spend on your relationships, work, or goals versus time that is JUST for you? When we think about where all our time goes, it’s quite surprising! Rather than scheduling specific activities to do, schedule a “Me-Date” to just check in with yourself...How am I doing? What am I needing today? Just like you would schedule a time to check in with your friend or that work call...yes, pencil in 30 minutes in your calendar just for you! And protect that time because you have a very important person to meet with ;) Weekly therapy is also a great way to take in some “me-time.”


Stay relationally well,


Dr. Sheva

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