It is really easy to fall into the trap of caring for everyone BUT yourself! My struggle with Lyme for the past two years has been a blessing in the fact that it has forced me to prioritize my health and my needs. I hear this often from my clients–it takes an illness to stop them in their tracks…open their eyes…and change their habits! That being said, self-care is a powerful tool that we all can use to prevent illness. Why not avoid getting to the point of illness! Part of my journey towards self-love was learning to care for myself in a meaningful way. This can mean many different things but here are a few ideas to get you started!
Self-care is not about self-indulgence. It’s about self-preservation. Audrey Lorde
It is hard to define self-care as it has a different meaning for each of us. I like to think of it as hitting the “reset” button. I visualize this often. I have these moments when I realize I am not the best version of myself…this is my cue to reflect, refuel and reset!
Let’s break that down.
Take the time to recognize and to hear that voice in your head saying, “Hey you! I need some attention”!
This is the part that can be very personalized. The goal is to refuel and refill your reservoir. When your reservoir is empty you don’t have much to give to anyone…including your self! Here are a few ideas from me to you! Keep in mind that it can be as simple as a few minutes of me-time to something a bit more elaborate! Ultimately, a good self-care practice includes a little of each. You can integrate the simple stuff every day and make space for the others when you feel you need them!
- Step away from what you are doing and breathe! Yes, your breath, it really is one of your most powerful tools.
- Pause. One of my favorite self-care tools is sneaking away from the chaos to enjoy a heart bench or child’s pose. I find that both of these, simple yoga poses have amazing restorative effects. I actually took child’s pose in the tub last night (TMI?!). I submerged my face in the water and enjoyed the calm. I have never done this before but I listened to that little voice in my head that was saying, “do it”, and it was awesome.
- Shake it out! Have a dance party or simply shake your body. This works wonders for wiggling out any pent up, negative energy that may be stuck. You could similarly go for a run. I have been know to run around the block. Yep. Just one quick loop–sometimes I sprint. It takes a few minutes but the result is amazing. I walk back into the house a new person! (I’m a little nutty, huh!?)
- Take a bath. I love my baths. They warm me up and cool me down all at the same time. Set the mood–light a candle and even play around with relaxing essential oils such as lavender (my favorite). P.S. — put your phone away. Focus on yourself!
- Take a nap. Yes! Do it! A nap does not define you as a slacker. I promise. I have been napping with Hudson on the weekend and I love it. I love the time with him and it forces me to rest as well.
- Get a massage. Need I say more?
- Ask for help. This is hard for most people but really worth it. Freeing up time for yourself allows you to be a better version of yourself.
- Take a trip. This can be as simple as a night away or something more significant. If you have kids, try to get away without them! This is always hard for me but even a day away allows me to reset in a huge way!
- Harness your diet. The foods we eat can effect our mood and the way that we feel. Dedicate yourself to eating foods that make you feel good — both while you are eating them as well as the hours that follow.
- Have lunch with a friend. A good laugh, a good hug. We underestimate how meaningful these things can be!
- De-clutter. Clutter can really add to your stress. Whether you do this yourself or have someone help you, a good purge can be really freeing!
Taking the time to refuel allows you to reset without really trying. If I am in a rut, I like to visualize a reset. This goes back to the fact that we can choose our attitude. Choose joy!
With Valentine’s day on the horizon, I challenge you to celebrate with some good ‘ole personal TLC.