Guest post by JoAnn Yanez, ND, MPH, CAE

It sounds pretty self-explanatory and simple to think about self-care. Self-care in a nutshell is making sure we recharge our internal battery and don’t let ourselves run on empty.

Early on – during my first week of medical school, I took a course titled “Physician Heal Thyself.” While it seemed like a cool class, at 22, I didn’t fully understand why it was important for me as a future healer to make sure I was mindful, and taking time to ensure I had enough juice and stamina to be of service to others. As clinic and coursework kicked into higher gear, I was thankful for the class and tools. My naturopathic classmates and I were also good monitors of each other and when we needed to take a breather.

Core to self-care is self-awareness. This means being in tune with your body and emotions and staying ahead of issues that may arise. The more hectic life gets, the more important this is to practice.

Some people choose to incorporate self-awareness as part of a meditation/prayer. They check in and scan their emotions and body for anything that is ‘stuck’ or out of synch. While doing this exercise, it is important to do so without judgment. Simply notice the feelings, make note of them and why they may be there. For example, if you are feeling angry or anxious, or in pain – ask yourself why. Symptoms in your body are its way of communicating that something needs attention.

During times of stress, it is even more important to take time to fill your cup. Please accept our version of “Self-Care Bingo” as a fun way to make sure you’re taking time for YOU.

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