Toi Degree: Practicing self-care

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 1, 2022

By Toi Degree
N.C. Cooperative Extension

I’m sure by now you have all heard the term “self-care,” but do you know what the term means or how to create an atmosphere of self-care for yourself? As you ponder on that, I’ll share a bit more about what self-care is; it is the practice of taking an active role in protecting our well-being, pursuing happiness and having the ability, tools and resources to respond to periods of stress so that they don’t result in imbalance and lead to a health crisis.

Self-care means asking yourself what you need and following through with an honest answer. Self-care can be as simple as getting to bed earlier on a work night or as hard as looking at some of the habits you’ve created for yourself or something we call being mindful. Mindful that different kinds of habits have different feelings associated with them, but all can be changed when met with a kind, interested and accepting awareness.

So, as you begin to put self-care into practice, here is one key thing to remember: self-care can be an intervention tool that keeps you from being completely sucked into a vortex, saving you when you find yourself gazing into the dark abyss.

Here are three easy steps to creating a self-care plan —

  1. First, create an activity list organized around different parts of your life.One of the easiest ways to start is by breaking up this daunting task into several categories. For example:
  • Work
  • Physical fitness
  • Emotional life
  • Relationships and community

For each area above, write down the activities or strategies that you can call on, that are authentic to you and contribute to your well-being.

Some examples include spending time with friends, being active, mindfulness meditation and finding the confidence to create healthy boundaries. Have fun, be creative, and most importantly, be real with yourself about what works for you and what doesn’t.

  1. Second, note any barriers that may be in your way and how to shift them. As you write down each activity, ask yourself what barriers might get in the way of you being able to accomplish it.

  1. Third, share your plan with your closest friends. Don’t forget to rely on your network of self-care buddies, and your community of care.

Then, put your plan into action. It may be difficult at first because often we put the needs of others ahead of our own. But, putting yourself first is allowed for your own mental and physical health. For more suggestions on how to put self-care into practice, visit these sites:

Let your self-care Begin!!!

Toi N. Degree is family and consumer education Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Contact her at 704-216-8970 or by email at    

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