Self-Care September... and the rest of the year!
Self-Care for your Health
Self-care isn't about being selfish. Self-care is needed for optimal health and wellness, by all. With all that is going on in the world, and in your life, taking moments for yourself each day, or a full day, or whatever time you have is key to improving your health. Providing yourself with love, focus and most importantly (and maybe the hardest) time, can have significant personal, social and even economic benefits.
However, for some the idea of self-care conjures up the image of an expensive "spa day" with head-to-toe pampering or "Instagram worthy" meals, fancy detox programs, or other products pushed by the "self-care/wellness" industry. While these examples certainly qualify, they might be out of reach for a multitude of reasons. I'm talking about the kind of self-care that is really focusing on your health, and putting you as a priority.
Self-care can be as simple as a 5 minute a day routine of breathing, journaling, meditation, or prayer. It can be keeping your phone or tablet out of reach during meal time or while in bed. It can be taking a walk outside or an on-demand yoga class, while the laundry is going. Making that doctor's appoint that you have been putting off or finding a new medical professional that will take the time to listen to you. Self-care can be being gentle with yourself for needing more support or help. It can also be as simple as doing what you enjoy and allowing yourself to enjoy it- a comfort meal, watching your favorite show, reading that book you love again. Sometimes its saying "no" instead of yes to some things you might not want to do. Conversely, it can be saying "yes" to some new things that get you out of your box.
Take the self-care check-up and find where you can practice simple, daily self-care:
- Nutrients- Increase variety in meals, less guilt around comfort foods, trying something new and exciting, focus on eating vs. working through lunch,
- Movement- Increase daily movement, find an activity that brings you joy, walk or hike a new area, engage in a social outing with some new movement (ax throwing, golf, pick up games etc.)
- Sleep- Rest and sleep are vital to health and happiness. Find ways to improve sleep hygiene, take a nap, reset your bedtime/wake time
- Laugh is Medicine- Make it a point to watch a comedy, read comics, find a funny video, or call or visit that one person that makes you laugh more than anyone else
- Social Expansion- Find a new hobby, join a club or meet-up, cooking classes, partner yoga
- Soul Journey- Reconnecting with your spiritual side, meditation, prayer, going to a place of worship (old or new)
- Practice Mindfulness- Being more present in the moment, reduce the thoughts of the past and the "what-ifs" of the future.
The most important thing is finding something that will help you de-stress and come back to your everyday life and responsibilities a little more refreshed, energized, or with a different mindset. Self-care is listening to what your body, mind and soul need in the moment, and more broadly as well. Stress reduction, even momentarily, can help build resilience and improve all bodily functions. Given the current state of the world, we could all use as much love and support as possible, especially from ourselves. The kindness we give to ourselves, the more kindness there is in the world.