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Ways To Start Incorporating Self-Care Into Your Daily Routine

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You may have heard the term self-care thrown around a lot in the past year. The term was popular on search engines during the 2016 election cycle and peaked in the spring of 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic.

There are many forms of self-care. For some it might be things like therapy, for others long bubble baths will do the trick. But self-care can also be simple steps you work into your daily routine.

Lake Effect’s Mallory Cheng talks with Patrick Parker and Shelly Smith — they’re both licensed marriage and family therapists from Good Human Work. The two mental health professionals were featured in the latest Milwaukee Magazineissue where they share some ways to practice self-care.

Smith, co-founder of Good Human Work, has seen firsthand the mental health toll the pandemic has exasperated. She says, "We’re all seemingly trying to move forward and forget that happened, but our emotions might not want to be moving on quite as fast as we are. And so there needs to be a bit of tending to that and a bit of healing."

Meanwhile, Parker encourages people to do absolutely nothing as a starting point to self-care. He says, "Sometimes the best care for ourself is to just slow things down enough to be at peace for a short period of time."

Parker has heard from clients over and over on how difficult it is to start self-care. He attributes that hesitancy to the cultural expectation to constantly be working, and emphasizes there needs to be a change, "As a society, if we can get more comfortable and accept if somebody needs a week off and need to do nothing, ... we should accept them without a need for an explanation," Parker says.

Both emphasize that self-care doesn't always need to cost anything or be an appointment with a therapist. Smith says, "There are all these different needs we have and self-care looks a lot like listening to ourselves figuring out where those intimate needs are and then pinpointing what can help with that."

Mallory Cheng was a Lake Effect producer from 2021 to 2023.
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