Has anyone told you lately that you could use some self care?
No matter what you do for a job or what social media platforms you interact with – you have probably heard that phrase. It is definitely a phrase that is tossed around a lot and oftentimes it is mentioned with good intentions. Have you ever been asked any of the following questions, and then prescribed self care?
Tired? You should do some self care.
Stressed? You should do some self care.
Frustrated? You should do some self care.
Sad? You should do some self care.
Angry? You should do some self care.
Worried? You should do some self care.
Running in circles? You should do some self care.
In this blog, I’m going to break down what self care actually is.
I often hear people say that they don’t have time for “self care”. When we talk more about it, they will say that they can’t do manicures, massages, facials, girls’ night outs, weekend getaways, etc… The “can’t” comes from lack of time, money, or interest in many of these activities.
Honestly, the way that self care is portrayed and understood by the masses makes it unrealistic and overwhelming for most of us.
Somewhere along the way we have decided that self care is only beneficial if it involves a huge event with a large financial and time commitment. In reality, spending the money or the time on some of these identified self care activities, can actually multiply the angry, sad, annoyed feelings that we are trying to reduce! UGH!!! I have a radical idea: We could use self care in a way that is actually beneficial for us instead of setting ourselves up for some extravagant and grand act of self care. Why can’t self care be simple, easily attainable, and helpful? Why does it have to involve paying someone else for an appointment with self care? Why do we have to add to our already over-scheduled lives? You can have self care with little fuss.
Here are easy and realistic examples of how you can take care of yourself.
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Words matter! Sometimes, we can get stuck with a negative narrative in our heads which weighs us down. That narrative feeds on itself and one negative thought coupled with another negative thought can endlessly multiply into more. How do we stop it? Try saying something positive to someone else. I know… I know… you have heard that you should say positive affirmations to yourself and I wholeheartedly agree! I also know that it can be hard to say nice things to ourselves.
It can feel easier to say nice things to someone else. Sometimes we are better friends to others than ourselves. Start by saying something positive to someone else or even just smile while saying “Have a good day” to the cashier at the grocery store. More than likely, this act will be reciprocated or you might hear “thank you” which becomes an affirmation for you! Wild thought- right?!?!
The hope is that you will learn to be the friend to yourself that you are to others and start saying positives to yourself, too!
Eat some vittles
Just eating a meal can be a challenge when it comes to our fast paced, stressful lives. More often than not, balance comes into play with our schedules and finding the time to eat well while running in circles to check off our lists. It can be a luxury to eat a meal at a table. Self care can be as simple as prioritizing a sit down meal at least once a day.
Sitting down and actually tasting our food can help us with our mood.
Making a mental note about the flavors and textures of the meal helps us to center our minds and bodies. Additionally, grounding our bodies in a chair and intentionally setting aside the time to sit can help our brains to reset and get grounded. You gotta eat so double dip- nourish your body AND your mind by sitting down for a meal! Don’t have the time for a complete meal, try sitting down while having your morning coffee or evening tea. It can do wonders and you deserve it.
Catch some Zzzzs
Let’s get real- for most of us, getting 7 hours of sleep is indulgent! Guess what? Seven hours of continuous sleep has no monetary value however it is worth millions to our well-being. According to the CDC’s website, most of us over the age of 18 need 7-9 hours of sleep a day. Our schedules are busy and our lists have lists so 7 hours of sleep seems impossible on some days. When we are able to get regular sleep we increase our ability to focus, elevate our mood, and reduce our stress levels (according to a Harvard article).
I get it, you are busy and don’t have time to sleep!
AND ALSO sleeping for 7 hours can help you be more successful and productive! By allowing yourself to rest with 7 hours of sleep, you will spend less time getting things done because you will have increased focus and reduced stress. Sleep more, do more! Sleep can unleash your superpower!
In with the good air
It may sound cliché but taking a deep breath in of good air and breathing out the bad air can really help with our well being. No big time commitment or appointment needed!
You can take in a good long deep breath for a count of 5, hold it for a count of 5, & slowly release it for a count of 5.
This can be done at the stoplight, in the shower, or while packing lunches for the family. Some people feel a deepened impact by closing their eyes during this exercise, but that is up to you and your preferences. Closing your eyes is not recommended when you are at the stop light… safety first!
No matter where you are, sometimes taking a walk- even just to another room in the house is taking care of yourself! Stressed? Frustrated? Tired? You can take a hike/walk to change the scenery and make a positive impact on your well-being. Besides changing your surroundings, moving your body has been proven to help with natural endorphins which can help reduce stress and anxiety according to an article with the Mayo Clinic.
While it is great to go to the gym, your mood can be impacted by just 10-15 minutes of light physical activity.
Of course, if you enjoy an intense workout, then go for it! Embrace your inner Iron Man/Woman if it brings you joy! For others, take a walk around the block or dance it out in your living room or stretch it out with yoga poses. It’s up to you to decide what “take a hike” means to you and for you. Try to get moving and start to feel good!
What I try to remind myself
Do your self care in your own way!
You can choose to get a massage or take a few deep breaths. You may also choose to talk with a mental health professional to navigate the stress and success. Life is busy, stressful, and expensive- I get it! You are frustrated and annoyed and feel like you are failing. You are worth the few minutes it takes to use easy self care.