Release + Restoration: Three Self Care Questions to Ask Yourself

By Sarah Al-Zadjali, MA, PLPC

In a never-ending world filled with others’ demands and our own obligations, we think that 24 hours in a day isn’t enough time to get everything done on our to-do list. We’re always X number of steps ahead of ourselves. Maybe I will feel satisfied if I rush a little more. Maybe I will feel accomplished if I add one more thing to my life. Maybe I will be recognized if I push just a little bit harder. But should my goal in life really be to just “push through”? I sometimes have to remind myself and my clients that we don’t receive a “Badge of Exhaustion” for burning ourselves out; we need to give ourselves the opportunity to relax and be nourished in order to thrive. We deserve self care.

A colleague and friend of mine gave me the simplest equation to understand self care: release + restoration

Release means working through, processing or “letting go” of that which is weighing you down. 

Restoration means feeling nourished, filled up, and rejuvenated. 

Self care isn’t a “one size fits all” approach. Every person doesn’t feel refreshed after a good workout. Every person doesn’t feel rejuvenated after a meditation session. And I know for sure not everyone wants to journal—and that’s totally okay! It’s important to explore and recognize what does work to provide you with a sense of release + restoration. Are you wanting to better understand how you can release + restore? Here are three questions to ask yourself.

Three Questions to Ask Yourself for Identifying Self Care:

  1. What am I feeling deprived of? This is a way of finding out what you really need. Are you feeling deprived of peace? Or maybe you are deprived of sleep? Then ask yourself: How can I give myself these things in a way that I get what I need?
  1. Which part(s) of me needs my attention right now? For example, there are a lot of parts that make up me (Sarah). Right now, there’s a part of me that is motivated to get this blog done, a part of me that is feeling a bit sleepy, a part of me that is thinking about my future, and a part of me that is feeling wishful. When I think about my different parts, I can see that the part of me that is hungry needs some attention. So I will go get myself something to eat! What part of you needs your attention right now?
  1. Which wellness dimension needs some care? Of the following, where do you feel you most need some self care: Physical, mental, social, sensory, emotional, spiritual or creative? The truth is, self-care might not always feel good. I recently had a rude awakening with this concept when I realized I needed self care in the emotional and spiritual dimension. In my case, self care was giving myself the permission to mourn. It didn’t include a bath, or chocolate, or even a journal! It was just me laying in bed, alone, allowing myself to feel the unpleasantness. For me, self care was being able to meet myself where I am versus where I want to be. It was being able to meet myself with grace and understanding versus shame and guilt for having a human experience. What would self care look like in the category you chose?

You deserve to meet yourself in this beautifully restored and rejuvenated way. Self care is a journey, and these questions will help you make the first step.If you are a caretaker and want to build your self-care capacity, I invite you to join me in my group: Self-Care for the Caretaker. It is a 6-week online course for parents, teachers, healthcare providers, and anyone else in a caretaker role. You can find out more here.

now offering video therapy sessions

It's more important than ever to take care of your mental health, so all of our therapists are doing Telehealth and many have immediate openings for new clients.