Overflow: Self-care helps you focus

Dr. Asha Fields Brewer

By Asha Fields Brewer
Special to the Outlook

Several years ago, I taught a wellness workshop entitled, “Self-Care in 5 Minutes.” The goal of this workshop was to dispel the myth that self-care, (1) Takes a lot of time and (2) Costs a lot of money. Instead, I desired to teach participants that self-care fits into even the busiest schedule, and it can be experienced at any economic level. To get here, though, we must identify what self-care truly is and the significant impact it can have on our lives. 

Previously in this series on “overflow,” we identified the “Six Cups” as personal wellness strategies, which are outlined in my book Overflow: Six Strategies to Beat Burnout & Reclaim Your Abundant Life.”  This includes the following:

  • Physical Cup-Caring for your body through rest, exercise, quality foods, and proper hygiene. 
  • Spiritual Cup-Connecting with your values and beliefs.
  • Mental & Emotional Cup (ME Cup)-Acknowledging your feelings and the feelings of those around you.
  • Intellectual Cup (I Cup)-Engaging in activities that expand your knowledge and/or creativity.
  • Social Cup-Nurturing healthy relationships.
  • Career & Financial Cup-Operating in your skills, gifts, and passions and building a financial legacy.

While we usually limit self-care to the physical experience, it impacts all six cups. Daily self-care brings what’s important into focus. Imagine the one-inch white margin around a typed document. This white margin provides a clean, vacant border on every page. The stark contrast of black type on a white field directs our eyes towards what is most important: the words on the page. Self-care is the white margin that brings the details of our lives into focus. When we intentionally create space for self-care, we create room to breathe and be inspired. We can reflect on areas where we have improved, savor moments with loved ones, or even seal off a productive day with a smile. When we are intentional about practicing self-care, it gives us space to transition from doing to being. 

To enjoy the daily benefits of self-care, we must shift our perspective. We must see self-care as a comma, not a period. Because we’re so accustomed to executing, self-care can be misinterpreted as a halt in productivity. On the contrary, caring for self makes us more productive. It’s the necessary pause to refill the tank before continuing the journey. As such, there is no need to pressure yourself to make self-care a long, drawn-out affair. Genuine self-care can be accomplished in as little as five minutes, or as much as a full day! The length of time is not the determining factor. It’s what you do with the time that makes the difference.

Lastly, we must aim to make self-care part of our daily experience. While a relaxing pedicure is a favored activity after a stressful week, it is not feasible to head to the salon every day. The best methods of daily self-care can be simple and even free. Here are some “Self-Care in 5 Minutes” ideas to get you started. 

Just set a timer for 5 minutes and pick a few to try: start your day with a glass of water and reflect on a Scripture or affirmation, stretch between tasks, take a walk outside, create a forgiveness list (make sure to include yourself), paint in an adult or children’s coloring book, read a few pages of a novel, write a note of gratitude to someone and send it, journal/free-write on any topic, check-in on a mentor, or end your day with deep breathing and reflect on what you’re grateful for. 

For more ideas on how to make self-care part of your everyday experience, I invite you to attend the 8th Annual SHE Tea™: Women’s Wellness Conference. Hosted by Temple Fit Health, Inc. 501(c)(3), this conference features real conversations with real women about real life. This year’s theme is “Love.” More than 30 speakers and panelists will help us learn how to give, receive, and embrace love intentionally and authentically. 

We are grateful for the support of the City of Tallahassee, Leon CARES, partners, and sponsors, which help us bring this program to you in virtual, hybrid, and in-person formats. Tickets, sponsor/vendor opportunities, and more information are available at www.templefithealth.org/shetea. 

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