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The Importance of Self-Care and Where To Start

Ryan Rackley-MA, LPC-Associate, Supervised by Victoria Varga, LPC-Supervisor

Self care is not luxury. It's necessity


I sat there in the parking lot, frozen and on the brink of tears. I had just finished working probably the worst 12-hour shift at the psychiatric hospital and I was physically, mentally, and emotionally at the breaking point. You want to know what pushed me past that point? Having to decide what I was picking up for dinner on my way home. I put Niagara Falls to shame in that moment! I was so overwhelmed and everything just seemed to come to a head right then and there. The crying was cathartic and I moved on as if nothing had happened. I had many more moments like this and I didn’t address the root of the problem until many years later. The root being that I wasn’t taking care of myself. It’s a silly example but one that I think highlights how a lack of self-care can lead to such a big reaction.


Over the last six years working as a mental health professional in various capacities and settings, I have advocated for better education and practice of self-care for all clients. It wasn’t until I started working on my Master's degree that I began practicing what I preach. However, I found myself not really knowing where to start on this self-care journey! I understood that self-care is taking the time to do the things that I enjoy doing, and while I was doing some of those things, I realized I was just

going through the motions. It was during a long discussion with my supervisor that things clicked for me. They said, “No matter what you do for self-care, do it consistently and do it with purpose.” I took that statement to heart and it has been the guiding principle for my own self-care.


If you’re looking to start your self-care journey and don’t know where to start or just want a refresher, here are some takeaways and tips that helped me out.


1) Do it with purpose and do it consistently!

I think that self-care is often something that is considered an indulgence or a luxury. While it is great to engage in activities just for the fun of it, self-care should be done with intention and for the purpose of creating a better mind-body-spirit connection and awareness within us. Engaging in self care consistently, even when you feel good, keeps you in a healthy routine and helps to stave off burnout.


2) Make self-care a priority!

This one is tricky to do, especially when other things such as work, school, kids, life, etc. require our attention. However, we cannot help others OR be effective in any of these areas without helping ourselves. Your self-care is just as important as all the other things you prioritize.


3) A few minutes of self-care is better than none!

Your self-care doesn’t have to be something that takes up a significant amount of your time. A dedicated 5-10 minutes set aside for yourself is better than doing nothing at all. Don’t be afraid to set a reminder or

schedule your self-care, especially starting out!


There are countless other tips out there and these just barely scratch the surface. However, I feel these three are key and a good start for anyone wanting to start or refresh their self-care routine.This is not going to come together in a flash, and it will take some work, but be kind to yourself during the process and enjoy yourself!


Ryan Rackley is currently a Care Coordinator with the Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD. He is also a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate under the supervision of Victoria Varga, LPC-S. He recieved his BA in Psychology from the University of North Texas and his MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Letourneau University. Over the last seven years, he has worked in a variety of settings and capacities within the mental health system and is an advocate for better access to mental health care. The views and opinions expressed in this blog solely belong to the author and content in outside links does not necessarily reflect the views of the Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD.

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