I recently had a client ask me, “what really is emotional care? what does that mean?”
What it means to me is quite a few things…
Firstly, emotional care means taking care of your biological and physical needs. Specifically sleep hygiene, eating well, and exercise. If your not getting enough sleep on a daily basis and you’re not eating an adequate amount of food you will not be able to tolerate stress very well, you’ll be cranky, worn down, easily agitated, and you may find it hard to concentrate on tasks. These outcomes alone can begin to affect your mental health and well being. Your brain needs enough time on a daily basis to repair and regenerate its ability to be functional and active in the day. So without those things in-check nothing else is going to be working very well.
Secondly, emotional care means “taking inventory,” “gaining awareness,” “becoming mindful” of your destructive thinking patterns and behaviors. Learning how to, and becoming more aware, mindful, and attentive to yourself is a large part of what the process of therapy is all about! Together in therapy we begin to assess the things going on in your life that are causing you pain, harm, frustration and other possible disturbing/disruptive feelings and problems. Therapy facilitates a process of identifying destructive thought patterns, destructive people, destructive relationships or dynamics in a relationship, and destructive behaviors that are contributing to your pain.
Once you begin to understand the problematic thinking patterns and behaviors in your life, emotional care means learning how to address, override, and treat these thoughts and behaviors. There are many techniques and lots of information that can help set the framework for why and how to implement theses techniques.
Finally, emotional care then means executing and doing the things needed to take better care of your emotional wellbeing. This cannot be done by anyone else but you! And lets face it, no one will be able to do it as effectively as you because no one else knows your internal world better than you. Furthermore, no one has to stick around when the ‘going gets tough.’ But “you are always stuck with you”…for the rest of your life! So wouldn’t you want to be kind to yourself and take as good care of yourself as is possible?
I hope this helps!