Dr Joe Flanders sits down for an interview with Leslie Roberts of CJAD 800 radio April 5, 2017.

Leslie Roberts:

Well put up your hand ladies and gentlemen if you have stress in your life. Hands up across the listening area this morning. Not only stress but also anxiety has really become an epidemic for many people in society, all age groups too. And a lot of people are now taking part in a growing practice of self-care- what is it? Well let’s say that you need a change, you know that there’s something about your life, as much as you’re stressed you need to say: what can I do about it? Well self-care apparently if you look online is now nearing peak popularity, so let’s find out more as we discuss self-care and how we can take advantage of it. Joining me today is Dr. Joe Flanders from the MindSpace Clinic. Joe- how would you define self-care?

 

Dr. Joe Flanders:

I would define self-care as any activities or habits that we engage in deliberately that are designed to enhance or maintain our health or wellbeing.

 

Leslie Roberts:

So it’s normal to face life stress it’s just like the opening line of The Road Less Traveled: “Life isn’t fair”. And once you accept that you say, now I need to put tools in my toolbox that will allow me to get through this unfair life because stress is getting to me and you and first and foremost go with exercise, that would be my first answer. Is that considered part of self-care?

 

Dr. Joe Flanders:

Absolutely, even though I’m a psychologist and I tend to work primarily with people’s mental and emotional lives I often put exercise at the top of the list because I feel like it probably has the biggest bang for your buck in terms of your emotional state and your overall well-being and there’s a huge amount of research to support that claim.

 

Leslie Roberts:

The mind-body connection is very important. So exercise is one thing, but going along with that there are crazy things like diet. Is self-care also eating well or I am wondering if people who indulge in food that is not good for them are not indulging in self-care?

 

Dr. Joe Flanders:

Yes, that’s a really good question. I think that one of the key pieces here is that it really is self-care. So, it does depend on the values and the needs of the individual. And there may be an individual who is maybe letting themselves go, they’re putting on weight, maybe they’re not feeling their best physically then maybe self-care does mean adding a little bit more structure and a little more discipline perhaps into the diet. On the other hand, maybe someone is working really hard, really a lot of self-control required over the course of the day, maybe having a little piece of chocolate or a little dessert or whatever at the end of the day is a kind of indulgence that would qualify as self-care so it really does depend on the sort of values compass of the individual.

 

Leslie Roberts:

And yet we beat ourselves up because we broke our diet. Are we too harsh on ourselves?

 

Dr. Joe Flanders:

It’s certainly a very, very common trait that we see in people, the tendency to speak to ourselves in negative ways. The tendency to hold ourselves to very high standards, sometimes higher than the standards we hold other people to. And so you can think of it as a kind of fitness or an aspect of health, the way and the quality with which we speak to ourselves, it turns out to be very impactful in terms of how we feel.
Listen to the full interview here: