Preventative Self-Care is a type of self-care in which one consciously tends to one’s well-being each day. Preventative self-care mitigates pain or distress in our lives before it fully develops. This type of self-care helps us maintain a certain level of wellness in our day-to-day lives.
Why (and How) You Need to Prevent in Self-Care
Early on in life, we are taught the concept of preventative care for our physical well-being. We are encouraged to make appointments for doctor’s visits, exercise regularly, and engage in healthy eating. We do all these things to hopefully prevent illness.
So why don’t we apply this concept to not only physical health but mental health?
In practicing preventative self-care, we may be better able to support ourselves or others during a time of stress. Engaging in self-care after we are already burnout may help the initial feelings of burnout, but what if we could prolong or even prevent getting to that stage?
That is what preventative self-care is all about. If you feel yourself going through a rough patch, you will already have strategies of well-being that you have integrated into your daily life routine and can rely on/fall back on.
Reactive Self-Care vs. Preventative Self-Care
Reactive Self-Care: being forced to make time for yourself as well as potentially for treating your illness and any affliction of the mind can be categorized as such.
Preventative Self-Care: actively choosing to make time for your wellness in the ways that work best for you.
Reactive self-care is the kind that the media pushes the most and most likely the only kind that you have heard of. It is a short-term solution to a significant problem, such as eating a piece of chocolate after you realize you are in burnout territory.
Though it can be useful in some circumstances to have a quick break from life, the best kind of self-care, preventative self-care, allows you to help build yourself a life you don’t want to take a break from!
How to Practice Preventative Self-Care?
Preventative self-care can be as simple as doing things each day that bring you joy. Self-care in today’s society has taken on many myths, such as self-care needing to cost money or having to be a bubble bath (a physical form of relaxation). Though bubble baths are amazing, they are not the only form of self-care.
Proactive self-care looks different for everyone. In order to find out what preventative self-care looks like for you, you can ask yourself what really recharges you. Is it reading your favorite book, yoga, or calling your best friend? There is no one right way to recharge.
Doing these small self-care steps each day helps to mitigate long-term stress and anxiety.
Many people believe that they don’t have the time to engage in self-care. This may come from the idea that self-care is seen as an additional burden to be added to our schedule. Preventative self-care works best when it feels like a natural part of our schedule. This might be practicing mindfulness when eating lunch every day, taking those 10 minutes to recharge yourself.
Self-care isn’t selfish or lazy, though the messages we may get in the world today may tell you that. Remember that you most likely will work better if you feel better, and self-care is a huge part of that!
What are Forms of Preventative/Proactive Self-Care?
Though this might be all well and good, you might be looking for specific forms of proactive self-care. Though this list is not all-encompassing, it may be a good starting point to explore what works best for you!
Forms of Everyday Preventative Self-Care
- Having a balanced diet
- Going to Sleep at the Same Time Each Night
- Getting Enough Sleep
- Being Active
- Attending Doctor’s Appointment
Practice Emotional Self-Care
- Practice Positive Thinking
- Practicing Mindfulness or Meditation
- Listening to your Favorite Song
- Talking to your Therapist
- Calling a Friend
- Laughing with a Friend
- Asking for Help
- Spending Time with Friends
- Professional Self-Care
- Take Breaks
- Learn New Things
- Advocate for Yourself
Take the time to explore what’s best for you. You deserve it!
Written by: Bridget Brodlo, MA
At Clarity Clinic, we have highly trained staff specializing in therapy and psychiatry services. Clarity Clinic currently offers Medication Management and Therapy Services across Illinois. To learn more about how we can support your mental health, call Clarity Clinic at (312) 815-9660 or schedule an appointment today.