Reentering the community after any period of incarceration can be overwhelming, regardless of the length of imprisonment. Nayely G. works as a reentry program manager and understands firsthand how important self-care is to your well-being. Today’s society is undoubtedly fast-paced, and we have been trained to take care of the needs of others before we take care of our own needs. Do this long enough, and you may find yourself in a situation where feeling overwhelmed is normal. This is where mastering the art of self-care can have tremendous benefits.
What Is and Isn’t Self-Care?
Self-care is the ability to take care of your day-to-day needs, obligations, and responsibilities while making some time for yourself. There are many ways to incorporate self-care into your life. You may choose activities or practice certain self-care rituals to support different parts of your life, including mental, social, physical, spiritual, and emotional aspects. This can help create a sense of accomplishment, and you can walk away feeling like you crossed some things off your list. With proper self-care, you reap the benefits, and there are few negative consequences.
Taking care of every aspect can be a full-time job. Experts suggest breaking this down little by little. You do not have to take care of everything all at once. After all, self-care is meant to be relaxing, so you do not want to overwhelm yourself with it either.
Develop a Plan of Your Own
Based on an article published by VeryWell Mind, it’s helpful to ask yourself the following questions to address the different aspects of your life:1
Are you getting enough sleep?
Is your diet fueling your body?
Are you taking charge of your health?
Are you getting enough exercise?
Are you getting face-to-face time with your friends?
What are you doing to nurture your relationships with friends and family?
Are you making time for activities that mentally stimulate you?
Are you doing proactive things to help you stay mentally healthy?
What questions do you ask yourself about your life?
Are you engaging in spiritual practices that you find fulfilling?
Do you have healthy ways to process your emotions?
Do you incorporate activities into your life that help you feel recharged?
Remember, taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of those around you. Taking care of yourself does not have to lead to negative consequences. The people around you benefit from seeing you happy, focused, and determined. Be gentle with yourself. You have a lot on your plate, and transitioning back into the community is no easy task.