Monday, February 17, 2020

Simple Self Care

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Simplifying my life has been self care in and of itself.  It's led to so much less stress and busyness, I can't say enough good things about it.  But I can't say enough good things about self care in general either - it's so important.  You cannot be the best version of yourself in your work and life or fully take care of others if you aren't well taken care of yourself.  If you're operating at 50%, that's all you have to offer anything or anyone else.  If you've been putting yourself last because you can't find the time for self care, here are a few very simple ways you can change that:

Stretching.  It's amazing how much better simple stretching can make you feel.  It releases so much tension from your muscles, and it's something you can do in the few minutes after you wake up or before you fall asleep.

Deep breathing.  You really don't realize how shallow your breaths are until you try deep breathing.  And shallow breaths make you feel more anxiety in your body.  Slowing down and taking a few deep breaths can work wonders on your mental state.

Meditating.  Meditating is not for everyone but it can be a really simple way to slow down your overworked mind.

Walking outside.  The fresh air and vitamin D from the sun cure a multitude of ailments so it's a great way to take care of yourself without spending a dime.  It's also great exercise and gently works your body to keep you healthy.

Light a candle.  Candles are so soothing and make my home so inviting and cozy.  The glow is such a nice break from electric lights and the harsh blue lights of our screens.

Bake your favorite treat.  Treats in general can be self care, because there's an emotional aspect to food.  Especially comforting old favorites.  But it's so much better if you're able to make it yourself.  By focusing on the cooking process, you give your mind a break from the other things that are stressing you out.

Make coffee or tea.  It works similarly with drinks if you take the time to slow down and enjoy the steps that go into making something for yourself.  Sitting with a warm drink can also be soothing when you give yourself a few minutes to enjoy it and do nothing else.

Journaling.  Getting thoughts out onto paper helps a lot of people work through feelings of anxiety or sadness.  But it can also be helpful to write down the good things and things you're grateful for.  Recognizing these things can be an instant mood booster.

Bring flowers or plants in.  If you're a nature lover, try bringing something living into your home.  It will not only liven your space, but it will give you something to nurture and care for outside of yourself.

Read a book.  I love reading for a lot of reasons but particularly for self care.  Plus, reading is such a great way to get out of your own head when you're stressed.

Make a face mask from kitchen ingredients.  No need to buy something expensive and full of strange ingredients when you can just as easily make a natural and effective face mask from a few kitchen ingredients.

Go to bed early.  No matter how well you stick to your routines, some days leave you more tired than others and some are so busy that you needed to skimp on sleep.  When you have time, just go to bed early.  No one said you have to stay up until 11 every night if you're exhausted at 8:30.  Listening to your body is the best form of self care and if it's telling you to sleep, sleep.

Take a nap.  The same thing applies to naps.  I'm not great at naps but if makes you feel better, then do it.

Watch your favorite show or movie.  There's something very comforting about going back and watching an old favorite.

Do your nails.  Doing your own nails forces you to slow down.  You have to work on a single task and afterwards, you have to wait for them to dry.

Get a massage.  If your muscles are tense and overworked, let someone else take care of it for you for once.

Change into comfortable clothes.  Self care I do every day at 5 pm, I tell ya.  Get yourself some quality loungewear and enjoy it.

Take a bath.  I'm not a bath person, I really find the entire thing kind of gross and not at all soothing.  That said, I know they're hugely popular so they still make the list.  Lush's best selling product is the bath bomb, after all.

Hang eucalyptus in the shower.  If you dislike baths like I do, you can still get a great spa experience by simply hanging eucalyptus in the shower.  The steam causes it to release it's essential oils, which help with sinus and respiratory issues.

Play with pets.  My favorite!  Obviously.  Petting animals has been shown to decrease the stress-producing hormone in people, which is why they're used in therapy so often.  Embrace it.

What are some of your favorite but simple ways to practice self care?

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