Thursday, September 12, 2013

Guest Post: Self-Care by Dr. Marshall Bewley

“The greatest challenge for most of us is believing that we are worthy now, right this minute.” ~Dr. Brené Brown
My name is Dr. Marshall Bewley and I am a Staff Psychologist at the TWU Counseling Center (TWUCC). Let’s discuss self-care! Self-care? What is that? Who has time for that? Well as busy as your day, semester, or life feel, self-care is essential to ensure optimal functioning and a healthy life. Self-care can take many forms and is a way of living that incorporates behaviors that help you to be relaxed, replenished, allow for personal motivation, and can help you grow as a person. To better help understand self-care, think of it as a triad, which each component just as important as the other.

Physical – The first component of self-care is related to being physical. Physical self-care could consist of moving your body in structured sports or exercise, dancing in front of your mirror, stretching between classes, or even walking to the turtle pond on the north side of campus. Your body is a house for your mind and heart so treat it with care. Some general ideas for good physical self-care include: Daily exercise, adequate rest, using seat belts, practicing safer sex if you are sexually active, and eating a variety of healthy foods.

Mental/Emotional – The second component of self-care is related to mental and emotional wellness. I encourage you to be accepting, kind, and willing to forgive yourself. As Dr. Brené Brown says, “Let go of who you think you're supposed to be and embrace who you are!” If you would drop everything to support a friend or family member, reflect on whether or not you would do the same for yourself. Take every 3rd "I should" out of your vocabulary and say "no" at least once a week! Worry less about how others might perceive you and start focusing on who you feel about yourself. Reasonable expectations are key for mental/emotional self-care; however, this does not imply that you keep be unmotivated or stop working hard. The goal is to stretch yourself, not break yourself. Set limits if that is what you need; overindulgence is not nurturing either.

Do a range of activities for fun and stimulation, perhaps some that you can do with others and some
to do alone. Is it difficult to think where to start? Try remembering things you liked when you were a child, but have long ago given up. Get the creative juices flowing and find your own uniqueness. Paint, draw, get out the hammer and nails and construct something that you found inspiring off Pinterest!

Spiritual – The third component of self-care is spiritual. Spiritual self-care can encompass a wide range of interests and can be thought of as a way to develop a practice that exercises your mind and soul. However you define that is what is most important. Some individuals may find a routine of prayer, meditation, yoga, feeling connected to nature, environment, or greater sense of community. Spiritual self-care allows yourself freedom to identify your own values and priorities. For example, spiritual self-care for me means finding a new book and sitting on my back-porch with my dog, taking in nature and living in the moment. What will your spiritual self-care look like and how will it contribute to improving yourself and the greater culture that you live in?

On a daily basis, find what self-care means to you. Do not forget to check in with yourself and ask, “Am I taking care of all components of self-care?” You deserve it and it will greatly improve your coping!

If any students are searching for support or struggling with any concerns, TWUCC is a safe, accepting, and non-judgmental place to confidentially address common mental health concerns, as well as explore your areas of personal growth, learn about yourself, gain new life skills, and garner support. Here is more information about our services:
  • All currently enrolled students are eligible for up to 12 sessions of individual or couples sessions within the academic year. 
  • Group sessions are unlimited and we have a number of groups starting mid-September.
  • Fees for services are already included in general student fees at no additional cost.
  • If you are interested, you can call TWUCC at 940-898-3801 or stop by in person (West Jones Hall) to schedule an intake appointment. We have services on each of our campuses as well!
  • In the 30 minute intake appointment, you and a therapist will begin to explore the nature of the presenting concerns and determine the appropriate referral to individual or group therapy.

TWUCC also posts self-care information, motivational quotes, and inspiration on their Facebook Page,

What are some of the ways you take care of yourself? Share your tips and ideas in the comments below!

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