Home LifestyleHealth 11 Ways to Practice Self-Care, From A Local Therapist

11 Ways to Practice Self-Care, From A Local Therapist

by Heather Rafanello
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Wellness is a trendy, and important topic these days. We asked local expert Heather Rafanello, mental health therapist and founder of Growing Mindset Therapy, to share local spots to dive deeper into your self-care practice, through prioritizing mind, body, and soul wellness. Read on for her take on taking care of yourself.

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Collectively, more and more people are recognizing the importance of holistic wellness, and even further taking steps to create harmony and balance in their lives. As a local mental health professional, and co-host of the Mind Meets Body + Soul Podcast, Heather has some expert thoughts on the topic.

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Read More: Arriving at Burnout? Here’s How to Cope — From a Local Therapist

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Many mental health professionals and wellness experts are starting to recognize the importance of seeing a person holistically, meaning their whole self. While mental health therapists typically work with clients on addressing their emotional and mental health needs, there are many other facets of life have directly impact these areas of wellness. Nutrition, for example, is not only the way that a person nourishes their body but also in their relationship with food and their body.

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Some of my go-to self-care practices for the mind include:

  • Talk therapy, obviously. This is not only a great place to heal trauma, but it’s so important for each of us to have the time and space to focus on ourselves, and our needs, process through various life experiences, and receive support from an unbiased professional.
  • Spending time in nature is one of my favorite mental health breaks. Many people already spend far too much time sitting at desks, staring at screens. I find it critical to not only step away from the screens, but to step outside, get some fresh air, and just be in and surrounded by nature.

Pro-tip: if you have a pet, look to them to model what a true mindful moment can look like. Not only are our furry friends purr-fect, but they truly embody what it means to be present focused, and in the moment.

  • Organize + declutter: There is research that shows a correlation between the clutter in our physical environment and our mind, meaning that a chaotic headspace can lead to a cluttered home, and vice versa. Spend time organizing your physical space, and your headspace.
  • Time management + limits: Of course, as a mental health professional, I’d be remiss not to mention the importance of boundaries. This of course goes for work-life balance and relationships, but also limiting screen time for the sake of reconnecting with your real relationships and life. The GMT team recommends taking some time to plan out your time, look ahead, and create a plan to ensure that you’ll have time to dedicate to all that is important to you.

Next up on the Mind, Body, and Soul tour is physical wellness. This goes beyond just health and fitness. Holistic physical wellness includes understanding your energy at any given moment, relieving pain, and your ability to connect with and tune into your body. As human beings, we tend to think logically about things, assuming that the brain is our ultimate decision maker and communicator but more recently wellness professionals are understanding that Ancient Eastern forms of medicine were onto something in working to tune into and treat a person’s symptoms, as that is the body trying to communicate something.

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Here are some ways to practice holistic physical self-care:

  • Mindful movement: this means checking in with the body before a ‘workout.’ Tune into your energy level, aches, pains, etc., and allow this to inform the movement practice that you choose. Just as movement is important, so is adequate rest. Perhaps you’re not feeling a rigorous workout, and instead, a walk or some gentle stretching might feel right for you.
  • Nutrition, and nourishing the body are not only a basic need but can be essential for promoting holistic wellness. Our team recommends working with a Registered Dietician, as they have earned a degree in Nutrition, and are state-licensed clinicians.
  • Acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion, and other forms of ‘alternative medicine’ can also be used to alleviate pain, stimulate the body’s natural ability to heal, and more.
  • Massage + facials: While these might be more common forms of self-care, it can be important to have outlets to decompress, while also taking care of our skin and our body.

Last, but certainly not least is self-care for the soul. For many, this includes belief in a higher power, but this area of wellness can reach far beyond the walls of a house of worship. Spiritual self-care includes our connectedness: to ourselves, to others, to the community, to our planet, and more.

Spiritual self-care requires some reflection, as this part of our experience is uniquely personal. Our soul is what gives us life, and allows us to embrace this human experience. Some ways to practice spiritual self-care include:

  • Connecting with self + others: Spend time getting to know yourself, your dreams, wishes, and desires. Deepen that connection by sharing parts of yourself with those who truly see and care about you.
  • Connecting with the community at large: Get involved with community organizations, give back, and follow what inspires you.
  • Do more of what lights you up: Seek out different experiences, and notice what excites you. Do more of that, whether it’s creating, connecting, being in nature, or something else, and fill your life with more of it.

See More: Establishing Online Boundaries: Tips from a Local Therapist

To me, Holistic wellness means creating a deeper connection to oneself and working to connect with all parts of our mind, body, and spirit. Each of us is unique, and oftentimes we hold the answers to our wellness journey within ourselves. Think of the things that you enjoy, whether that be nature, being creative, connecting with others, or something else, and allow that insight to guide how you approach and deepen your self-care practices. Be quirky, be weird, and have fun, life is too short and each moment is too precious not to.

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