Self-Care is one of those subjects most Americans are preached to about as mental health professionals go on & on about how we should incorporate self-care into our lives.
In the past, when I would hear the word, I would picture a woman penciling in hair and nail appointments every two weeks. I might also have imagined a man on a golf course with his buddies on a Saturday morning.
These pictures of self-care are nice, but does one really have time to make it part of their day? Can you even afford to do so? There are so many reasons why self-care isn’t in the cards for most people.
Self-Care was pitched to us in the early ’00s as a “glamorous endeavor” connected to privilege and seemingly reserved for those with money, time & access. Thinking of self-care as something that’s “high end” isn’t completely out there, however, what typical Americans miss is that self-care isn’t always synonymous with spending money. It’s actually connected to cultivating a healthy lifestyle.
Most of us already engage in some form of self-care without realizing it. That lunch at Chipotle you had last weekend with your best friends where you laughed your head off was self-care. The long bath you took after putting the kids to best was, yup, self-care.
How are these things self-care? Because they’re all part of taking care of one’s self, needs, desires - mentally, emotionally, spiritually & physically.
We also all need “escape” at certain points as well. Escape includes taking care of our bodies, minds & souls by engaging in activities that promote well-being and reduce stress. Doing so allows us to live lives that are full, vibrant, and balanced. Without balance, our lives tend to become “out of whack” usually resulting in feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, lonely, scared, or developing a lack of motivation.
So, what are healthy examples of self-care? Let’s list some activities:
○ Cleaning can be relaxing and for others, having a clean space without clutter enables them to think and enjoy their space.
● Cook or bake
○ Not just cooking for your family, but for you! Why not prepare a healthy meal more suited to your weight loss goals.
○ Begin building the body you’ve been dreaming of, especially post-covid
● Get a massage
○ Yes, this one is still on the list. It supports drainage, removes toxins from the body, and helps you get to sleep.
● Go for a walk
○ Sometimes the beauty of the world around us, even in our communities, gets missed while rushing around in our cars. Take time to really observe!
● Listen to music or a podcast
○ Something educational today? Maybe self-help tomorrow? True crime podcast after that? Whatever it is, indulge.
● Make art
○ Art doesn't always mean painting & sketching. Do you enjoy photography? Take some new photos of your kids. Did you sew? Hit up Joanne’s and buy some new patterns. It all counts!
○ I love The Calm App! And no, mediation isn’t a “weird new age thing” as the stigma suggests. It’s allowing yourself to take mental breaks. Here are some great apps to get started, HERE.
○ Did you even notice how tall your oldest child has gotten this month? Or how the cat’s meow sounds like he’s saying “NOW!” lol. These questions all allow you to tap into your senses in this very moment. Get support on exercises to begin today, HERE.
● Play a game
○ Board games are all the rage right now! Uno, Taboo, Would you rather, Apples to Apples, Monopoly...pick one!
○ Did you know the average person spends 5.4 hours on their phones DAILY? Get off the screen for at least 60 minutes a day!
● Take a Bath
○ Browse the Target bathing aisle and grab a bubble bath that has a fancy fruity scent OR go for a soothing all-natural brand. Whatever your preference, give yourself the time and make it a ritual.
● Take a nap
○ Don’t underestimate the power of rest. Even for 15-30 min a day.
● Watch TV or a movie
○ Instead of Netflix surfing, why not reserve two hours a night to watch something you really like.
● Yoga works!
○ Ease arthritis, relieve pain, cleanse your organs, get better sleep!
Overall, you probably have a better idea now of why self-care is important and why it should be a staple in your life. Remember, it’s not selfish, it’s needed to free your mind, spirit, & body of the trials that come.
Let yourself relax, recuperate and heal from the “boxing ring” of life in some small (or big) way TODAY!