Learning Self-Care From My Cat
Self-care. Most of us therapists are talking self-care like we are a broken record. What are you doing for self-care? But it seems to be most everyone I talk to about this could use more self-care. It's not that uncommon to hear that they are doing ZERO self-care.
If you know me, you know I love cats. I don't know if I would call myself a crazy cat lady, but some would. I recently noticed the self-care modeled by the cats in my life and made some notes.
- Bath—okay, the sweet girl pictured above had surgery a couple of weeks ago and had to have a cone to keep her from licking her stitches. It took us a couple of days to figure out that we could take the cone off so she could take a bath, as long as we were there to keep her from licking the stitches. It made such a difference in her energy level once she was able to take a bath, so we would make it a point to make sure she could bathe herself at least once or twice a day. While I know that baths can be excellent self-care for so many, I also know that even a shower can sometimes improve my mood.
- Stretches—cats make it a habit of stretching regularly. Just about every time they get up, they stretch in some way. I'm not saying you have to make it a routine to stretch every time you get up (although that might be good, too); stretching for a couple of minutes here and there is some good self-care.
- Sunshine—my cats are indoor cats, but they seldom miss a chance to sit near a window where they can get some and soak it up. Getting some sun can also make a huge difference in our mood. It gives us vitamin D and helps us create serotonin.
- Ask for what you need—my cats are not shy at letting us know what they need, especially when it comes to eating. They aren't usually rude about it, but they do sometimes sit and look at us, meow at us, and even paw at our faces if we are still sleeping. Why is it so hard to ask for help sometimes? It is undoubtedly self-care if we ask for things we need.
- Spend time with loved ones—all cats (and probably animals for that matter) have different personalities. All three of my cats like to spend time sitting by each of us or sitting in our laps. I've even seen them gravitate to whatever room we are in as if they just want to be near us. Spending time with important people (or animals) in our life is incredible self-care!
- Purr—now, most of us humans don't purr, but we can find whatever it is that helps us vibrate on the level of peace and calm and comfort and soothing! Find your purr….but also, if you have a cat or access to a cat, maybe you can soak in some of their purrs.