Typically, a new year sparks new goals, resolutions, reflection and even being open to major changes. Self-care is more than a resolution topic. Yet, with the overwhelming quotes and articles on the subject it can feel like there is a right and wrong way to practice self-care. There isn’t. Self-care is self-health and practiced best in whatever way is healthy for your unique needs.
Since stress is extremely unhealthy and the contributor to several health concerns, self-care stress reducers are not only calming, but essential to our overall health.
Self-care is acknowledging anything that causes stress and either seeking a solution or discovering a way to partner with it. Stress free self-care is being in tuned with your joy; how to create it and intertwine it into your daily life. Sometimes being in tuned with your own needs isn’t so ‘simple’ though. When we look at self-care as a task on a long list of responsibilities, it can seem stressful.
Self-care doesn’t require a full day of meditation, expensive tools, costly retreats, or even set rules. Sure, any one of those things can be a form of self-care, but none are required to actually care for your wellbeing. Finding moments to pause and calm racing thoughts is one of the best forms of self-care (self-health).
Stress free self-care is finding balance between emotional, mental, and physical wellness.
Self-care intertwines with every part of our lives; healthy relationships, nutrition, mental wellbeing (reducing stress), finding creative outlets, learning, emotional balance, physical health/activity, career focus, etc. It’s about finding your calm or at the very least partnering calm and chaos to live harmoniously so you can focus on your stress free self-care.
Example of a day filled with stress free self-care:
- A stress free (or less stress) day begins the evening before. Write out your objectives for the day. Make the list as realistic as possible – focusing on tasks that are specific to that day. Create another goal list for the week and/or small steps that can be completed if time allows each day. Making this list (or lists) should not be stressful and take about five minutes each evening. Your unique lists are fluid and can be added to or adjusted as needed – it’s simply a starting point and a way to write out anything that might keep you up at night thinking about it or trying to remember everything that needs done the next day.
- Wake up and spend 60 seconds to take a deep breath, acknowledging joy and gratitude, staying focused on waking up – not allowing racing thoughts of all the tasks and responsibilities required of you (yet).
- Mindfully moving on to your next morning routine (or evening depending how your sleep cycle is) whether it’s showering, fixing yourself and/or family breakfast, preparing lunches, etc. Focus on the task at hand and breathe.
- Glance at your list(s) and adjust as needed or check off completed tasks.
- Before leaving the house or starting your day at home, practice pausing to breathe and acknowledge how you feel and what your body requires. If you are not feeling as well as you usually do, can you adjust your list before your day even starts and incorporate a bit more rest in place of certain tasks, or at the very least make a goal to be in bed a bit earlier than normal so you have a solution in mind to get you through the day and incorporate your rest as a priority, but also a reality with however busy your day may be.
- Incorporate movement throughout your day whether it’s getting up from a desk you work at as often as you can or incorporating movement into your home routine – listening to your limitations and unique ways you can challenge yourself while staying safe and mindful. Using a chair or couch and getting up and down while watching a favorite show on TV or listening to music, an online lecture, etc. and stretching or even walking around from kitchen to bedroom, to living room (I live in a small home and use the path from my bedroom through my living room into my kitchen as a walking track), even 15 minutes two to three times a day is beneficial to self-health!
- Get outside when you can. When weather permits get fresh air, feel the sun, take in the new scenery and if at all possible, move around while outside whether exercising by walking around your work building, your neighborhood, etc., or gardening, etc. Parking further away at work or the store, adds in a few minutes of activity and outdoor time. Again, 10 to 15 minutes a couple of times a day is so beneficial.
- Take a break. No matter what your typical day looks like take a lunch break. Please. Make time for nutritious food. Planning a meal list, getting the groceries, cooking or creating the meals…it’s all forms of self-care (health). Finding new recipes is a form of destress for me, I spend about 15 minutes and browse online or through my cookbooks for new ideas about once a week or so and then create a meal around that, sometimes I adjust ingredients to either what I can afford, what I have on hand, and/or what my diet limitations and likes/dislikes require. Swapping out certain foods or beverages is a form of nutrition awareness. Again, not stressful, simply acknowledging realistic changes you can start to incorporate into your existing routine. I love potato chips. I use to buy a big back and snack on them daily. Eventually, the portion size was less and less, I never just open the bag and start to eat them, I don’t use a big bowl to pour them out in…I use a lid from plastic container that is about the size of small tea cup saucer. This is a good amount for me and a realistic habit changer for me personally. Incorporate what you can, cut out what you can, reduce portions when you can, and drink plenty of water daily.
- Listen to your needs, when you need a connection and time with a friend, seek that – call a friend, go to lunch with a coworker, write a letter to a loved one explaining why you are grateful for them…take 15 minutes and connect. In the same breath, if you need some alone time, create that. Find a creative way, whatever is required for your unique self-care, find 15 minutes to embrace it and pause, be mindful during whatever works for you.
- Give yourself love and self-acknowledgement for all accomplishments (whether they seem minor or major).
- Create your calming down routine, even 15 minutes before you sleep to recap your day and acknowledge three moments you are grateful for. Write out your short list for the next day, and try to get in bed with enough hours to give you the sleep you require.
This is not medical advice and should not replace seeing a medical professional, but can be incorporated into your current health routine. Please see medical professionals when needed or with any new concerns you may have for your mental, emotional and/or physical wellbeing.
Self-care is necessary, but it should not be stressful. I will continue to share my tips and suggestions in the coming days, weeks, even months. Please share your self-care tips or questions below or contact me with your suggestions or questions!
Thank you for reading, thank you for following and thank you for sharing this space with me. Find me on Instagram @successencourager for quotes and more tips.
Please take care of you.