Self-care. We’ve been hearing that a LOT lately and for good reason! Many of us are just going through life without stopping and smelling the roses. We’re running on Dunkin’. We go to bed late, wake up early, drink a ton of caffeine just to keep us going… and how do we feel? Exhausted. Worn-out. Run-down. We’ve become a nation of workaholics. We’ve become a people that believes that we have bragging rights of how much we got done with only a few hours of sleep, even if only to ourselves. We forget to eat or rely on fast food to get us through our day. While that may work for awhile, we are ultimately destroying ourselves. It eventually catches up to us.
When you think about self-care, is your first thought, “I don’t have time for that!”. If we don’t start putting ourselves first, we will start becoming mentally and physically ill. Just like when you’re in an airplane and the flight attendant instructs you to put your mask on first before helping others, we have to start putting ourselves first in order to be able to think clearly and feel mentally and physically fit in order to take care of our loved ones. It may sound selfish, but it is not.
So then, what can you do to fit in self-care during your day? If you’ve Googled it before, you may think that now you just have another thing to add to your to-do list! Let’s turn that thinking around. You come first. Your loved ones, your job, and everything else comes next; it’s up to you in what order that is depending on your lifestyle. There aren’t any set rules for self-care! It doesn’t have to cost you anything and you don’t have to create a whole new list. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Physical self care involves taking care of your bodies. This doesn’t mean you need an expensive gym membership or go on a new expensive diet with foods you’d never want to touch. What it does mean is to make it a point to go to bed earlier instead of binge watching the latest TV show on Netflix. When you turn in at a decent time, you’ll find you won’t be hitting the snooze button as much. Taking the time to prepare food at home instead of eating out… that includes your coffee! Eat more fruits and vegetables and get outside to walk the dog!
Emotional self care means becoming more aware of our emotions. It’s about checking in with yourself and becoming more mindful of what triggers you and your thinking patterns and finding ways to deal with them. Emotional self care helps you learn to have more compassion for yourself and your emotions. There are many different ways you can do this: journaling, practicing mindfulness meditation, being creative (painting, writing, cooking, etc.), starting a gratitude journal, and working on changing negative self-talk.
Spiritual self care is beneficial for the soul and helps you find inner peace. For some people this may mean religion, for some, it may not. For spiritual self care you can turn to meditation, praying, mindfulness, gratitude journaling, or donating/volunteering for a charity you believe in. This can help you find purpose and meaning in your life.
Our brains were never meant to stop learning. There is a great quote from Henry Ford: “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” Learning helps to keep our minds fresh and quick. Some ways to do this are: read books, learn a new language, watch documentaries that interest you, work on puzzles, or take a course that interests you.
Humans by nature are social beings. Not all are comfortable with socializing and that’s ok, you do what’s best for you. Some ways for social self-care is spending time with a loved one, joining a club or a fitness class, picking up the phone or having lunch with a friend.
Humans have five basic senses: touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. Nourishing your senses is a great way to reduce your stress levels. Some ways you can do this is listening to soothing music, taking a warm bath with bubbles, spending time in nature, or even walking barefoot on the beach or in the grass.
“The mind is like water. When it’s turbulent, it’s difficult to see. When it’s calm, everything becomes clear. ”
~ Prasad Mahes