Posted By: EnvisionWell
Self-care is a term that gets batted around quite often, and for good reason. It is an important component to mental, physical, and emotional well-being.
Self-care is really just a fancy way of saying that you take care of yourself, which seems like a pretty common-sense thing to do. Unfortunately, we don't always do it! We know we 'should' but it gets shoved behind all the other 'shoulds' we consider more pressing or more important.
But, self-care shouldn't be a 'should'; it should be something you can't wait to do or, at the very least, are excited to do. If it seems stressful or overwhelming, then it has turned from self-care into self-chore, which defeats the purpose.
Meditation, for example, is often touted as a wonderful way to practice self-care. And it is for many people! But, if you find yourself dreading it or avoiding it, then it might not be for you, at least not the way you’re attempting it.
At its core, meditation is about being fully present in the moment, clearing your mind of the endless stream of chatter it is constantly bombarded with. If ‘traditional’ meditation seems like too much, try walking meditation or rock climbing. (When you’re rock climbing, you really can’t think of anything else except where your feet and hands will go next.)
Or, perhaps the problem is that you’re trying to take on too much at once, striving for a full thirty minutes of meditation when five minutes would suit you bettr, or even just one. (Check out our Mindful Minute series on YouTube and Vimeo.) It’s all about figuring out what works for YOU.
The same principle can be applied to exercise. Yes, exercise is (and always will be) an important component of self-care. Our bodies are designed to move and when we don’t, bad things happen to them.
This doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym every day for 45 minutes, unless that’s something you enjoy. There are so many ways to move your body, there’s something for everybody. The trick is to find out what types of movement YOU enjoy and do them consistently.
Another important component to self-care is nutrition. The food we eat affects every bodily process and function. This does not, however, mean that you must eat ‘perfectly’ in order to take care of yourself. There is no such thing as perfect eating, by the way. It implies that there are good foods and bad foods, which is falsehood.
It is important to nourish your body with foods that help it function well and heal, but it is equally important that you enjoy the food you eat. Eating that piece of chocolate cake with pure enjoyment (no guilt allowed) is just as important an act of self-care as eating enough vegetables with your dinner.
On the flip side, eating a more nutritious meal is something you can enjoy as well! A meal can be both healthy AND delicious after all. Plus, how your body feels and functions when you feed it a nutritious diet is a pleasure in itself.
Bottom line, self-care is meant to be an enjoyable experience, like giving yourself a much-needed hug.
If it seems like a self-chore instead of self-care, you have three options:
1. Don’t do it.
2. Figure out a way to do it that’s enjoyable to you.
3. Break it down into smaller, bite-sized pieces, or baby step your way into it.
In closing, here are ten simple and easy self-care ideas to get you started:
1. Head outside, find a spot to sit, and just take it all in. Look closely and notice things you don’t ever take the time to see – a blade of grass, how a bee drains nectar from a flower, the way the sun shines through the leaves.
2. Savor your morning cup of joe. Most of us drink coffee (or tea) in the morning, but we usually do it mindlessly and in a rush. Try turning it into an act of self-care by slowing down and relishing the experience.
3. Create a ‘feel-good’ playlist of your favorite upbeat tunes. Then, take a morning walk while listening to it. It’s a great way to start your day, guaranteed to put you in a wonderful mood.
4. Create a ‘feel-calm’ playlist of your favorite wind down tunes. Then, take an evening stroll while listening to it.
5. Get artsy. Have fun with sidewalk chalk, paint along with Bob Ross, or color a design in an adult coloring book.
6. Pamper your body. Whether it’s the quintessential bubble bath, a trip to the steam or sauna, or just a nice relaxing shower, take the time to show your body some love.
7. Watch a funny movie or comedy show. Laughter heals, seek it out. (And don’t forget the popcorn!)
8. Take a nap. Our bodies need sleep but most of us don't always get enough of it. Napping can be a luxurious act of self-care.
9. Adopt a gratitude practice. This one has become cliché, yet it holds great power and should not be overlooked. Being mindful and present to all that you have to be grateful builds resilience and helps you maintain a positive outlook.
10. Brain dump. Get out a notebook and spend five minutes writing down every thought in your head as it comes. Don’t think about the thought or what it means, just write it down. This is a great exercise to help clear your mind, as well as clue you in to what may be stressing you out.
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