By Lindsey Danisch, RSW & Provider of Psychotherapy

The phrase “self-care” was one of 2017’s mental health buzz terms, and for good reasons. As a society, we are working more hours, hooked into our technical devices longer, creating endless piles of to-do lists, and in a constant social media race of comparison and acceptance. It’s exhausting. To combat this reality, the term self-care pops up as a possible remedy.

Between friends or colleagues, casual discussions of wine and Netflix binges are the beginner’s version of self-help. Perhaps the goal for 2018 is to take the concept of self-care to a new level.

Let’s be clear, there is no right or wrong way to engage in self-care.  But what if the new challenge is to engage in self-care that isn’t just for immediate release but a step towards meeting a larger need. For example: instead of always choosing a Netflix binge, pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read. Instead of always choosing a glass of wine or pour of bourbon, go to bed early, so you can wake in time for a morning run.

The idea is that self-care takes on a deeper meaning, and can challenge us to engage in behaviours that aren’t just for immediate relief, but to help our overall mental wellness become more sustainable. This can be accomplished in many areas on life. Yes, this is harder than it sounds. Yes, I struggle with this the same as everyone else.

For example:

Financial: hire an accountant, put $25 additional dollars in your saving account each week, or bring your lunch to work.

Emotional:  journal, seek therapy, or engage in daily affirmations.

Physical: clear your wardrobe, go to the dentist, get that mole checked or that blood work done, learn your sexual turn-ons, or cook more for yourself.

Intellectual: listen to a podcast on your commute, join a book club, complete the weekend crossword puzzle, or attend a lecture.

So, let’s widen the conversations around self-care to include more than chocolate and Game of Thrones (or ADD it to those fabulous things!). Let’s go a step further, engage in the harder conversations with our peers, assess the holes that need mending, and dive a little deeper into the trend.