“I have found that when you are deeply troubled, there are things you get from the silent devoted companionship of a dog that you can get from no other source.”—Doris Day
Self-care isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy. When dealing with a personal struggle, we need to create a shield of kindness and compassion to envelop ourselves from destructive reactions.
Our self-care plan ought to be customized to our needs and what is going on in our lives, whether the process needs to emphasize physical self-care for a busy college student who feels mentally overstimulated, or social self-care for a retired person who needs a relationship. In both cases, self-care should be made top priority.
Self-care is vital for building resilience toward stressors that we can’t eliminate. When we’ve taken steps to care for our mind, body and soul, we will be better equipped to live our best life. It is important to assess how we are caring for ourselves in several different domains so we can ensure our total well-being.
Unfortunately, however, many people view self-care as a luxury rather than a priority. Consequently, they’re left feeling overwhelmed, tired and ill-equipped to handle life’s inevitable challenges.
Because of this pandemic, mental self-care has been made top priority. It emphasizes the need to work on things that help us stay mentally healthy. Practicing self-compassion and acceptance, for example, helps us maintain a healthier inner dialogue.
Mindfulness in a relationship is about observing what the other person is doing in a nonjudgmental way. It’s also about staying present in the moment during any conversation. Most emotional relationships are broken due to lack of communication. When that is flawed and both parties are not willing to listen unconditionally, the mental and emotional aspects will be difficult to repair.
It has been observed that socialization is key to self-care. Close connections are important to cultivate in our daily lives. Unfortunately, this is often missed. One’s life is sometimes filled with so many activities that it is easy to neglect relationships. Ironically, even when the pandemic hit, making time for friends was still hard for some individuals.
Deeper sense of meaning
Spiritual self-care is also necessary to have a healthy life balance. Nurturing your spirit, however, doesn’t have to involve religion. It can involve anything that helps you develop a deeper sense of meaning, understanding, or connection with the universe.
It’s important to have healthy coping skills to deal with uncomfortable emotions, such as anger, anxiety and sadness. Emotional self-care may include activities that help acknowledge and express feelings on a regular basis.
When it comes to your mental and physical health, you need to make yourself a priority. Stop worrying about pleasing the person abusing you. Take care of your needs. Do something that will help you think positively and affirm who you are.
Research suggests that having love and support from people in your life can have essential health benefits. This type of support can lower your risk for disease, improve your immunity, and decrease your risk for depression and anxiety
Animals can offer an extraordinary amount of emotional support. Beyond the pet-owner relationship that many of us have lovingly experienced, animals are sometimes used in therapeutic settings to help patients navigate challenging emotional experiences.
Your support system can help provide your much needed emotional support by listening to what you have to say, providing validation and helping you when you are in need. Your support system may even incorporate those from the animal kingdom. As we recently celebrated international dog day, it is only fitting that we highlight them as the preferred choice.
Therapy dogs are pets that improve your health by giving emotional support. They are patient and unbothered by children who tug at their fur or adults who want them to sit in their laps.
When I asked some friends to share their favorite dog photos and why they love their pet so much, many of them shared the same loving sentiments. Good friend Leah Caringal told me that George, her beagle, has been her companion for 11 years and is great with kids. Philippine Tatler editor Anton San Diego shared that Zach is the best mate to vent to, argue with and hug after a long day. Travel buddy Pepper Teehankee said that his French bulldogs give him so much joy and happiness and are truly loyal companions.
Virtual pet care
Enterprising sisters Stephanie, Sofia and Mae Coyiuto recently started a virtual company to aid pet parents. This network is gaining so many pet lovers, sharing so many tips and resources.
Pawplife is Manila’s first virtual pet care company, which aims to connect pet parents with vet expertise online. Their mission is to make pet parenting happy—dedicated to empowering pet parents to help their pets live longer, healthier, and happier. Pawplife also connects various communities together, like pet parents, vets, trainers, groomers, pet lovers, breeders, rescue shelters and many more. They bring all of us together so that we may learn from one another and celebrate the pets we hold so dear to us.
You can find Pawplife and book an appointment on their website (pawplife.ph)! Don’t forget to check their latest features and other content on other social media platforms
(@pawplife on Instagram).
As I mentioned in my previous column, horses are also great companions on your path to healing. Horses are keen observers, vigilant and sensitive to movement and emotion. They often mirror a client’s behavior or emotions, conveying understanding and connection that allows the client to feel safe.
Whether your journey to being whole again is aided by medical therapy, equine therapy or even retail therapy, know that life means constant change, with so many options to consider. Trust your intuition and grow from there!
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