What exactly is self-care? How do we practice it? How much time will it take? It is so important for everyone to practice self-care. Everyone is stressed and doing 2 million things at once. Well, maybe not 2 million, but you know what I mean. Life is hectic. Life gets so busy we can forget to take care of ourselves in the process. So, what is the result of that? We become stressed out!! As for me, I know I become more irritable, annoyed, and just get plain mad at everyone and everything! (Well, except for my clients)
Last night I was having one of those stressed out moments! My kids were getting on my nerves, my husband was getting on my nerves, and I HAD IT!! I knew that I need time to myself. After dinner, I told everyone I was going to take a bath and to please let me have some alone time. I set up a mini spa at home. Bubble bath, facial mask and I did a ten minute guided meditation on YouTube. You can find anything you want on YouTube! They have great yoga and meditations available! It was wonderful! And all it took was 15 minutes! It was delicious! I felt refreshed, and re-energized and I was ready to join my family for a movie.
So, that isn’t hard to do right? We can all take 15 minutes away from our loved ones to practice self-care. What exactly is self-care? Self-care is any activity you do to take care of your mental, physical and emotional self. Good self- care is the key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It is also key to a good relationship with oneself and others. Self-care is something that recharges us, and refuels us.
It is not a selfish act. Sometimes my clients feel they don’t have time for self-care or they can’t leave the kids for an hour, or they don’t have a babysitter to watch their children. I tell them self-care is not a selfish act nor should you feel guilty about taking time for yourself. When we take time for ourselves and we feel recharged and energized, we can come back to our loved ones in a calm and happier state.
Self-care is different for everyone. It is important to plan it out and stick to a routine. Plan activities and add them to your calendar. Every week, I book my classes at my gym and put a reminder on my calendar. It is there and it is set, so I have no excuse! Or maybe you go to the gym after you drop off your kids at school. It is really easy to say I don’t have time for this; I have so much to do. Remember, you will come back from whatever you do for self-care, feeling better, and ready to tackle anything.
Also, practicing self-care is also about being mindful of what works for you and what doesn’t work for you. Be aware of how you feel during your self-care, what you do and how you do it. If you don’t feel better after doing the activity, then that is not a reason to give up. It just means you have to find another activity that will work for you.
Here are 8 easy ways to get started:
- Start by setting boundaries or creating a “no” list. For example, no work emails after 8pm. Turn phone off 30 minutes before bedtime. Don’t attend events that you don’t enjoy.
- Eat a healthy diet and get at least 7-8 hours of sleep.
- Exercise is very important for our emotional health. It doesn’t have to be an hour at the gym. Start small like a 20-minute walk.
- Go to routine check ups with your Doctors.
- Use relaxation exercises and meditation on a daily basis. This can be 10 minutes and these can be done any time of day.
- Do one self-care activity a day whether it’s taking a walk or spending 30 minutes of unwinding time.
- Do one pleasurable activity every day from cooking if you enjoy it, talking with a friend on the phone, going to a movie or spending time outside.
- Laugh! Laughing is so good for us! Talk to that one friend or family member who you know will make you laugh.
You don’t need a lot of time to practice self-care daily. All you need is 15 minutes a day! After you complete your activity, notice how you feel before and after. If you feel good, then that’s an activity you can continue doing as part of your self-care routine. This will become a routine the more you practice it.
The result is if you take care of yourself, you will be in a better place to give to yourself and your loved ones as well.
I would love to hear your comments on what worked for your self-care! If you have tried it and are struggling implementing a new routine, I would be happy to help! Feel free to contact me here.
Take care of yourself!