It's National Self-Care Awareness Month

The Best Self-care in Los Angeles!

My Radical Idea About the Best Way to Practice Self-Care

Advice about self-care is ubiquitous in our “Being-Busy-Is-the-Way-to-Be-Important” world.

Most articles about self-care go something like this:

Set aside time for yourself on your calendar. Get up half an hour earlier to meditate. Get a massage. Take a bath after work with candles and soft music.


I have a different idea.

I think the best thing you can do for yourself is to clarify your personal values.

Uh, what?

Let me explain. We are a nation that is consumed by the idea of productivity.

being productive in Los Angeles

I had a client in my office this week who was grieving a betrayal in her relationship. She was concerned that her grieving was unproductive.

You might think that this sounds weird, but I would say that is only because this client is unusually honest with herself. Productivity is how she measures her value, not by her ability to grieve. In the midst of a huge betrayal, where she feels unimportant to one of the people in her life who matters most, she desperately needs to hang on to her feeling of self-worth. And to her that means productivity.

Is this beginning to sound familiar?

What I am finding both in my therapy practice and IRL, is that we are all struggling to feel our own intrinsic value.

Clarifying your values is the necessary first step to feeling your own self-worth.

It sounds basic, and it is. It’s even fairly easy to do. Think about your most important values in life. Write them down. Don’t cheat on this step–Write them down!

Step 2 is also very simple, but don’t be fooled. It will make a difference in your life. Here it is: At the end of each day, compare the way you spent your day to your list of values.

What values did you express today?

As time goes on, you will organically weed out some of the things you are doing that don’t express your values. You won’t want to waste your time any longer.

This doesn’t mean you get a free pass not to take out the garbage! After all, don’t you value having a clean and attractive environment? It may not be at the top, but I would imagine it’s still there on your list.

To further explain–if your personal value looks like this:

“Have a clean and calming environment”, and not “Have a home that is perfectly neat and orderly”, then you want to take out the garbage, but not spend every Sunday cleaning up all day. If you keep checking back to your values list, you will be less tempted to spend all day cleaning, and learn to live with a little mess and enjoy your weekend spending time with family and friends, or working on that project you love, or hiking that trail you want to explore.

eating with friends in West LA

Personally, I am a bit of a neat freak, but I have learned that my value of spending time with friends trumps my need to have a perfectly orderly house, so I’ll have my friends over for dinner despite a messy living room. We’ll just head directly to the kitchen or the back porch. My friends might judge me, but frankly, if they do judge it’s just because they don’t understand. Their loss.

What if you have a job you don’t like? Isn’t that a lot of time spent not expressing your values?

Not necessarily. I’m guessing you value being able to support yourself or your family. Even if you hate your job, you can look for values to express within your job, like creativity, or hard work.

I often have clients who use their not-so-wonderful job as a place to practice being assertive, and learning to say “no”, or asking for more of what they need. If personal growth is one of your values, even a crappy job can be a great place to express a value of personal growth!

clarify your values in West LA

If you keep going back to your values list every night, you will eventually want to be in a job where you can express more of your values. If you don’t yet know what your passion is, your values list can provide a wonderful guideline for your next step.

At the end of the day, a day spent expressing your personal values is a day well lived.

Being active, keeping busy, being productive–All those things that promise to fill you up, but never really do, will fade in importance.

One of my top values is connecting with others in a way that makes a difference in both our lives.

What are yours?

Could You Use Some Extra Support?

If you are interested in values-based therapy to increase your sense of self-worth and your happiness in your daily life, give me a call at 323-999-1537 or send me an email at and we can have a chat about how therapy can be useful in your specific situation.

If you prefer to go directly to my online calendar to schedule your free phone or in-office consultation, just click on the button below.

I look forward to talking with you!