Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Did you know that health involves the whole person? That means that we have to take care of our minds as well as our bodies. May is National Mental Health Month, the perfect time to begin a routine of self-care and start living the life you want - which includes making time for yourself.
Do you ever find yourself feeling anxious, down, or stressed? We have all been there at some point. We over-commit, fill our schedules to busting, plan everything and never ask anyone for help. The idea of caring for ourselves can feel indulgent and selfish, but it is actually crucial to our health. Without it, we skip meals, give up sleep, neglect workouts, and forgo leisure time. Before we know it, we are exhausted, cranky and have lost sight of why we are doing it at all in the first place.
Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health. Self-care means taking time for things that nurture us and treating ourselves kindly. Good self-care fills you up and refuels you.
What are the benefits of self-care?
Self-care makes us less susceptible to experiencing stress, anxiety, depression, and other emotional problems. Good self-care can prevent feelings of resentfulness and low self-worth. When you spend time tending to your own needs, you feel better about yourself and tend to be more confident in everything you do and every choice you make. Higher self-esteem will help positively change your outlook and attitude. Additionally, self-care helps prevent burnout. By managing your time and energy before you become overloaded and overworked, you allow yourself to slow down and prioritize, increasing your productivity.
I don’t have time for self-care.
For most people, self-care seems like a dream. Sure, we’d all love to have self-care in our lives, but we don’t actually have time for it. We assume only rich, pampered women get to indulge in self-care. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Self-care is for everyone! You don’t need full days or even hours to get started in self-care. Taking a few minutes for yourself can help you to reorganize and restore balance.
Getting started with self-care is easy. Try one of these self-care activities in 30 minutes or less.
- Dance. Start up your favorite playlist and dance like nobody’s watching. Music can help to soothe your mind while dancing eases your frustrations.
- Take a nap. Catching up on sleep and recharging your body is a great way to practice self-care. Rest, recharge, and get ready to continue the rest of your day with energy.
- Read a book or magazine. Reading provides a break from the real world, a chance to walk away from all the ugliness for at least a little while. Whether you are getting lost in a fantasy novel, solving a mystery, or learning about the newest parenting techniques, reading can provide a much-needed escape from reality.
- Free write or journal. Set a timer and take 10 minutes each day to write yourself a letter. While you can choose to write about anything, make sure to include the things you love and admire about yourself to help you remember how great you are.
- Draw or paint. Making time for art can provide the perfect getaway. Whether you are drawing, coloring, painting or sculpting, art can take you to another world and reduce your stress in just one session.
- Call a friend. Take a moment to chat with someone you have been meaning to catch up with. Talking with friends can help you de-stress and if you are having a problem, you may be able to lean on friends for comfort and advice.
- Go for a walk or run. Getting some fresh air may be exactly what your body needs to unwind. Get up and get moving to wake yourself up and get some beneficial exercise.
- Meditate or pray. Meditation is a practice of mindfulness and concentration that can allow you to gain important insights about yourself and the world around you.
- Bake something fun and share. Baking can help relieve stress and tension. Find a new recipe or bake your favorite cookies to help you relax and self-soothe. Make sure to share with family and friends when you are done to spread the love.
- Buy yourself some flowers. Improve the look of your kitchen or office with a beautiful bouquet of your favorite flowers. This small act of self-care can help you relax and appreciate the little things in life.
- Go off the grid. Leave your smartphone at home for the day and disconnect from the constant emails, alerts, and interruptions. Spend time doing something fun with someone face-to-face.
- Forgive. Forgiveness can be the ultimate act of self-care. Real forgiveness can place you in a powerful world of peace. Let go of your anger from the past and find the sense of release that can come with forgiving others.
- Set boundaries. A lack of healthy boundaries can negatively affect every aspect of your life. Use healthy boundaries to make decisions based on what is best for your life. This will help you to reduce stress and find more fulfillment in your daily activities.
- Take time to laugh. Laughter is said to be contagious. Shared laughter creates bonds between people, increasing happiness and a sense of togetherness. A good belly laugh can actually relieve tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes. So hang out with a funny friend, watch a comedy, or check out some cute videos online and get the laughter rolling.
- Try something new. Do something you have never done before. Whether it’s putting together a puzzle or painting a picture using your energy to try something you’ve always wanted but never made the time for.
True self-care isn’t about superficial band-aids. It is about what you do every day, throughout the day, to feel healthier, happier, and in balance. It’s about living your life in a way that brings you joy and good health.
How are you practicing self-care?