I feel like self care is a term thrown around so frequently that it’s starting to get a bit of an eye-roll response. Be honest, what’s the first thing you thought of when you read the term in that last sentence. Bubble baths? Face masks? There is so much more to self care than treating yourself to the occasional luxury.
We live in a day and age where we are constantly connected, constantly bombarded with information, and constantly exercising a go-go-go mentality. Most days, we just need a break. The following list I’ve compiled highlights a few simple things I try to do when I’m feeling like I need a little extra self care.
Take a Deep Breath
I feel like I’m always forgetting the impact taking a deep breath has on my body until I actively stop myself and take one. Filling your lungs forces your muscles to relax, your mind to focus, and gives your emotions a moment to reset. Furthermore, even if you’re not experiencing a moment of stress, breathing deeply provides an awareness and energy I desperately need throughout the day. I’m always surprised that the act of pausing, even to do something so simple as breathing, makes such a big difference for me in a moment.
Drink a Cup of (Insert Beverage of Choice Here)
Whether you drink coffee, tea, wine, beer, kombucha, or plain old water- pouring yourself a glass and sitting down to drink it offers you an opportunity to savor something simple in your own space. Forcing yourself to drink it slowly? Even better.
Allow Yourself to Be Bored, to Be Quiet, and to Be Reflective
I read an article recently about how children are suffering because they are no longer given the opportunity to be bored. It’s scientifically proven that when you’re bored, your mind does something funny. It gets more creative with its processing. Having space to be bored and be quiet gives you the opportunity to actually sit down and think. Do it without the distraction of your phone or other tech and you’ll notice a huge impact. Take some time to reflect, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Call Someone You Love
I’m sure while reading this one, someone popped into your mind. You know, that one person who can without fail make you laugh? Call them! I know we all hate the phone, but it will make you feel better just to talk. I believe a good ‘ol rant is healthy, as long as you’re working towards a positive solution by the end. Call up that person who gives you the best advice. Call up that person who gives you the worst advice (and then do the opposite!). Pick up the phone and listen to someone else’s voice for a change.
I feel like I preach this a lot on this blog but I’ll say it again for the people in the back: FRESH AIR AND SUNLIGHT DOES AMAZING THINGS. Why do you think we feel so blah in the winter? We’re missing out on a few key earthly elements that our body desperately needs. Get outside for a walk. Sit on your front steps for a few minutes. Listen to the sounds of the world around you. I like to go to the ocean because it always shifts my perspective. I like to feel small, to realize that maybe the worries and fears I’m experiencing aren’t as big as they feel.
Stretch Your Body
Did you know that if you take a forward fold and let your head hang, your body will actually send a message to your brain that it’s okay for your mind to relax? Did you know that opening your chest opens your heart, and that taking any kind of twist actually aids in digestion? Your body does remarkable things when you move it the right way and stretching is such a simple action. Even the smallest movements can make a huge difference.
Make a Joy List
I recently shared my Joy List in a post and found that the act of writing it was such a stress reliever. I find that putting word to paper really helps me regain perspective and in this case, it genuinely made me feel better. I’ll say as I did then- I challenge you to write one of your own.
In a yoga class I took at the beginning of the year, the instructor prompted us to “think about a time when you wanted exactly what you have now.” That sentiment has stuck with me for weeks now. There is so much to be grateful for and so many ways to find light, even during the dark days. Self care, put simply enough, means giving yourself exactly what you need. I challenge you to try that today.