Oh the irony - as I sat down to write the self-care Saturday post earlier today; my body had other ideas - and that idea was a nap. A long all-encompassing afternoon nap! To continue with the irony, I drank coffee at 8:30 p.m. so I could do some work for my "real job" AND it was the spring ahead day light savings time. Just for context, it's 4:00 a.m. and I am bed writing. And I love it!
Back to the topic at hand, self-care is anything you can do to intentionally to take care of your mental, emotional, and physical health. Although it's a simple concept, it is something we often overlook. I am a firm believer of consistent self-care and that my self-care routine has been my key to improved balanced in life.
Self-care may be a buzz word at the moment, yet it is so necessary and critical in this day and age. With the amount of information we are continually processing and the chaotic world we live in, taking care of yourself is important. Your self-care practice does not need to follow any set criteria or schedule, it is as simple as doing what is good for you - when it is needed. this is something only you can determine.
I would like to highlight each of the areas that need balancing and how you can incorporate self-care activities into those areas. I do not believe that one is more important than the other, one may take up a larger space in your life than another and that's okay. I think what's important here, isn't that amount of space as much as do we have balance and account for all the facets of our wheel.
Something you will notice - some activities may fall into more than category; and that's okay too! If anything, I believe that would help to account even more balance. It's like a cross-pollination in your life.
Disclaimer - these are what work for me in my life They may not work, nor apply to everyone, and that's okay too!
Yoga! I am sure you saw that coming. Yoga has done wonders for my physical body. I have been able to tone parts of my body, participate in deep stretches, rejuvenate in restorative poses, apply multiple breathing techniques, and increased flexibility in my body. I have been able to reap the benefits of yoga by incorporating this into my practice about five times a week for one hour.
Reiki! Reiki is a healing technique based on the principle that the therapist can channel energy into the patient by means of touch, to activate the natural healing processes of the patient's body and restore physical and emotional well-being. I have been able to reap the benefits of reiki by incorporating this into my practice at least once a month.
Counseling! This is so tremendously helpful. I actually have two therapists and they serve very different purposes. I have a psycho-therapist I have a bi-weekly sessions with. This is sounding board and my check-in. She is tremendously talented and I learn so much. I also have a psychiatrist, she is my doctor for medication management. I only get 20 minutes with her every other month. I will tell you what - I learn more in those 20 minutes than I do anywhere else.
Church and Bible Study! I undoubtedly believe this is seasonal. No, I do not mean Christmas and Easter, I mean I believe this portion for balance in my life ebbs and flows. My faith is unwavering. My prayers are never-ending. My gratitude and grace get help me to keep pushing through every single day. To elaborate on what I meant by seasonal had more to do with the Bible Study and relationship portion of my spiritual life. At this time last year, the closest people in my circle were the girls from Bible Study and I know, without a doubt, God had a hand in that. They were there for me when Louie got sick and when Louie passed away. They were there to do a book club with me, in my home, about never giving up. All meant to be. I have been able to reap the benefits of being a Christ follower by incorporating prayer into my life multiple times a day and church weekly.
Reading & Writing! This is something I do daily with no set schedule or plan. Hence - pouring onto the page in the middle of the night right now. It may not seem like I write a lot, but I am continually jotting down ideas, quotes, concepts, thoughts, prayers - I have a notebook with me at all times. This practice of self-care helps keep my head clear and my thoughts positive. Reading keeps my brain sharp, learning new things and applying what I read - all great self-care / self-improvement habits.
Friends Family Fun! We are getting into the areas of my wheel that, at times, could use some work. My social is limited because my network of friends is small. I commit to "phone dates" with my best friend from junior high, at least monthly. I cannot even begin to tell you how much better I feel after one of those conversations and even more so a conversation with my mom. My family is over 600 miles away. My work schedule is busy. All the more reason I have to commit to this portion of my wheel. When I've committed to doing something socially, I keep my promise. I think this goes back to my drinking days and being such a flake. My social relationships and commitments are important - and I do everything in my power to not cancel and always follow-through. There are significant benefits to the social aspects of life. Literature tends to suggest, the more social you are, the more it builds up your immunity and you live longer.
Get Outside! Here is where I need to improve. I am a home-body by nature. So much literature says getting out in nature does the body wonders. I know whenever I do go for a walk, I feel so much better. With the weather warming up and the days getting longer - all the more reason to get outside, get fresh air.
PTO! Usually when there is PTO involved, so is the environment. It means that (usually) I am traveling and getting out of the office and house. Use your PTO. You can't take it with you and even 8 hours away from email will do the body and the brain some good.
work work work! Full transparency - the balance here needs to change. I love my job! I do get energy (for the most part) from what I do. I also know that I spent too much time, effort, energy on work which doesn't always allow for the other self-care topics that I enjoy so much! For me, finding balance in the other areas, allows this area to be acceptable.
New Ideas! Along the lines of occupational, I have so many exciting ideas for work and jobs, it keeps my brain going and the "real work" that much more tolerable.
Other self-care routines that help - remember it's the little things... Starbucks, a facial, a massage, manicure / pedicure, meditation practice, browsing the sale rack at Target, getting a B-12 shot, burning your favorite candle, snuggling in with your weighted blanket, coloring, the devil is in the details.
Thinking about like this - self-care and mental health days go hand in hand, they are prerequisites for one another. Just keep pushing through - a little self-care goes a long way!