Radical Self-Care

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Imagine you have a cup full of water, this symbolizes your energy, and next to your cup there are many empty glasses. Say each one of those empty cups represents things you have to give your time and energy to such as family, relationships, friends, and jobs. You start to pour a little bit of your cup into all those empty glasses and soon realize that your cup is completely empty.

You find out that you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Most people are familiar with the term “self-care” and may equate it to a trip to the spa or going on an elaborate vacation, but while that does relieve the stress it is a temporary fix. So instead of covering up the issues with a nice bubble bath try practicing Radical Self-Care.

What is Radical Self-Care?

According to Indiana State University, “Radical Self-Care is the assertion that you have the responsibility to take care of yourself first before attempting to take care of others.” This self-care is considered “radical” because its goal is to essentially change how we make decisions on giving our time, effort, and money.

With the pandemic, the elections, and the day-to-day stress it is now common for people to be running on empty. Without proper time spent on taking care of yourself, you might find yourself drained, irritable, depressed, and even experiencing a possible physical toll on your body. Radical self-care along with emotional awareness also involves being mindful of your body.

Aviva Romm, an MD, states, “too many of us ignore our bodies. We put off peeing until we can’t wait for a second longer, eating until we’re in a state of low blood sugar, sleeping until we’re dead tired. We actually forget to feel how we feel.” It is normal for some of us to wait till the last minute to listen to our bodies, but that is often too late. Instead, if we take time to hit the pause button and address our current state, we might be able to avoid possible future problems. Taking 10 to 15 minutes a day to just sit and tune into your body through guided meditation has been shown to be beneficial.

Along with meditation, allotting time to personal health has been proven to help fight against future struggles. Barbara Markway, Ph.D., says, “you should focus on activities that encourage you to zone in on your senses, such as breathing exercises, aromatherapy, or massages. You could also do things that make you happy, like crafting, going to the movies, or taking a walk.” You might be thinking that you simply don’t have time, but studies have shown that self-care and taking time off has enhanced productivity, achievements, inventiveness, and reduces burnout. Radical self-care can recharge your energy and health and allow you to accomplish more.

A common misconception is that self-care is selfish. That is simply not true. Providing yourself with the proper tools to be healthy and happy can replenish your energy to better take care of your loved ones. You can’t help anyone if you are running on empty. With that in mind, it is important to set boundaries and learn to say no. Often people want to be able to do it all, saying yes to every opportunity and, while that might be good in the beginning, most times it will end up being too much to handle. Saying yes to it all can result in saying no to your health. Instead, try listening to yourself and make sure that when you say yes you have the proper time and energy to give.

Filling your cup first is crucial to being able to give your energy to others. Taking steps to address what you need mentally and physically can help minimize both anxiety and depression. Remember to hit the pause button often and check in with yourself. Ask yourself if there is anything you need or how you are doing. Sometimes those questions are complicated and need more than just a simple fix, if you or a loved one feel like you need some extra help please reach out to a medical professional. We are always here to help.


If you are experiencing symptoms of mental or physical distress and would like to discuss your treatment options, schedule an appointment with one of our providers today by using our online form or by calling (805) 341-3416 during normal business hours.

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