What is it and how do we implement it into our daily lives? Self-care is defined as: Any activity we do deliberately to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health.
Plain and simple, it’s just about anything you can do to be good to yourself. It’s more than just bubble baths and pedicures, and it’s not just for women. If you are busy, stressed or run-down, take a look at your Self-Care regimen, or lack thereof. Especially now, these first few weeks of January are known as the most stressful time of the year, due to post-holiday stress and people going back to work or school after the holidays.
So what does Self-Care look like? It can be very different from one person to the next. Sometimes it can be doing nothing at all, just resting. It can be as simple as starting a nightly routine of drinking tea and taking a hot bath, or slowing down and reading more books. For some of us, it may mean talking to a therapist. There are many forms of Self-Care.
Self-Care is saying NO more and not overextending yourself. It means being present and focusing on one thing at a time. It’s focusing on what’s most important to you.
Connecting with other people is a form of Self-Care. A recent study showed the #1 thing women want, is Friendship. Call up a friend, make plans for lunch or a coffee date. Connection with other humans is necessary for happiness. It also means protecting your energy and not spending too much time with people who suck the life out of you. Be aware of who you are allowing into your space, and how they make you feel. Spend time with people who lift you up and energize you. Phone conversations count too, real ones, where you actually talk to a real person, not text.
Self-Care is getting enough sleep. Period! Take a nap when you need to. Letting your body rest can lead to fewer colds!
Self-Care is hydrating and fueling your body with nutritious foods. It’s making sure you are well fed. Take an honest look at the foods you’re consuming. Pay attention to how your body feels after eating certain foods. Consider a cleanse where you eliminate toxic- allergenic foods such as alcohol, sugar, dairy, gluten and processed foods. Less coffee, more tea. Try eating more of a plant-based diet. Not ready to go all the way, start with just trying out a meatless Monday.
Self-Care is also taking care of your body physically and getting exercise. Go take a new class with other like-minded individuals. You don’t have to go to a gym to do this. Dance, snowshoe, try a new yoga studio, go for a walk or run, have sex with someone you love! Do something to get your heart rate up.
Self-Care is paying attention to your environment. Your home, bedroom, office, or car. Is it clear or cluttered? A cluttered environment leads to a cluttered mind. Let go of what you don’t need or love. So you can make space for what you do need and love.
What are some benefits of Self-Care? Good Self-Care is key to improve your mood! And who doesn’t want to reduce anxiety?! How about Increased energy levels! Better productivity! Lower your risk of getting sick! Yes please!! Increase self-esteem! Ok!
So here’s a little homework for you…Make a list of all the things you do in life that make you feel most alive. What are the things you love to do so much that when you’re doing them, time flies by and you forget to even look at your phone? Having trouble with this one…think back to when you were a kid. What were your favorite things to do then? What are the things that nurture your soul? Here are a list of mine, but mind you, my list will look very different than yours….Traveling the globe with my son. Curling up with a book on a weekend (with my puppy, a cup of coffee and my favorite chunky blanket). Snowshoeing with my dog calms my mind. Getting to go work out. Teaching a spin class. Trying new restaurants. Baths! Everyday! These things rejuvenate me.
The important thing is to make time to do those things that make your heart sing and give you a sense of renew. Not everyone has the option to take a few weeks off for vacation every year, so find time to incorporate Self-Care in small doses into your daily/weekly routines. So what will you do for YOU this week? How can you make YOU a priority? Plan it into your schedule, put it on your calendar like an important appt and don’t cancel on yourself. Self-Care is not selfish. It’s essential. If you are flying in an airplane, the flight attendants will instruct you in an emergency to put your oxygen mask on first, then assist others, or you die. Remember this metaphor especially if you are running around taking care of everyone but yourself. If you want to actively take care of your family, you must actively take care of yourself first.
So what will you do for you this week? Make your list and then commit to doing more of those things. Commit right now to doing more of the things you love. Get in the hot tub. Drink the wine. Spend more time with grandkids. Take music lessons. Whatever it is, commit to yourself that you will do more of it this year.