Learn the basics of self-care and see how self-care makes you healthy and happy. Includes a full list of self-care ideas you can start using right now!
Seeing that it's Sunday, a day many of us use to recharge and get ready for the week ahead, I think it's the perfect day to talk about self-care. We're just starting to dip our toes into the wellness series here on SQ and as I was thinking about the topics I wanted to cover, self-care was at the top of my list. Why? Because it's critically important for your health and wellbeing.
For many of us, we think of self-care as an indulgence; something we do only when we have the time. So when stuff starts piling up at work or at home, we let self-care slip by the wayside. We stop going to the gym, skip meals, order more takeout, work until the wee hours of the morning, etc. It's not a priority because it's an indulgence that we just can't afford, especially when we're stressed.
But today I want to flip that theory around and talk about why self-care is one of the most important tools you have to live your healthiest and happiest life.
First and foremost, self-care is NOT selfish. I repeat: self-care is not selfish.
Great! Now that that's out of the way, let's get down to it.
In today's society, we're raised to believe that the harder your work, the bigger the rewards. While yes, I do believe that hard work does pay off, it's when we let that hard work compromise the way we live our lives that we get into trouble.
Do you know that little thing called stress? Well turns out it's not so little after all. Stress is toxic. And I'm sure you've heard it before, but I'm going to say it to you again, the stress levels in our life have a direct correlation to our health and happiness. Now, I'm not going to dive too deep into stress in this post (we'll save that for another one), but those moments when we're stressed out are the moments we need self-care the most.
Let's use food as an example. When you're under emotional stress, and that can mean anything from the standard idea of stressed at work, to anger, sadness, tiredness, etc., what type of food do you find yourself craving? My guess is your body is craving calorically dense, not-so-healthy foods. It's a natural response and since we're feeling bad at the time, we let those cravings take hold and doesn't make the best decision for our health.
But let's say we approach that situation through the lens of self-care. We're not feeling great, so rather than reaching for the Chinese menu and ordering your favorite Lo Mein, you go for a walk. Or you make a mug of tea and have a piece of dark chocolate. Or you turn on a bubble bath. Or you make a smoothie.
Right there? Those are all choices made from a place of self-care rather than stress. And just imagine how much better that would make you feel!
How to add more self-care in your life!
There are a number of ways to incorporate more self-care into your daily life, and it will vary from person to person, but here are some of my favorites. If you've been feeling stressed, sad, lonely, tired, and just a general sense of blah, pick one from the list and try it out for yourself.
I'm willing to bet that you have 10 minutes a day you can spare for yourself. And if you don't, break it down even further by doing 5 minutes of self-care in the morning and 5 at night. It's really that simple!
- Massage or Manicure
- A Candlelit Hot Shower or a Bath with Epsom Salts
- Trading a Foot Rub
- Buying Yourself a Fancy Candle
- Leaving Work Early for a Yoga Class
- Taking a 10 Minute Break to go for a Walk
- Paying that extra $ for a Kombucha or Almond Milk Latte (no sugar!)
- Reading a Fun Book
- Curling up with a Blanket and Netflix
- Reading your Kids a Book you Love by Candlelight
- Asking your Kids to Give you a back massage
- Watching inspirational videos/following inspirational people online
- Chopping Veggies to Music You Love
- Hot Coffee, the Newspaper and Quiet!
- Choosing healthy foods that will energize you
- Buying yourself a pass to a fun Fitness Class
- Doing an Art Project you Love with your kids
- Finding your 5 minutes to breath
And honestly, the list goes on and on!
And now it's time for you to take action!
Commit to doing one act of self-care every single day for a week and see how you feel. My recommendation? Bookmark this page so you can come back to this list when you're stuck on ideas and WRITE IT DOWN. The physical act of writing it down gives you a much greater chance for success.
Here are some of mine:
- Meditate in the morning (5 mins minimum)
- Go for a silent walk with Trevi in the morning (no phone)
- Set phone to do not disturb at night
- Do more yoga
- Tell the people around me how much I love them
- Snuggle Trevi before bed every night
Remember, these are just ideas and suggestions; customize the list above for you and what works in your life. If you're feeling stuck, just think to yourself, “What is one thing I love doing?” and then go do that!
You may not realize it now, but being part of the SQ community and cooking recipes from this site, you've been building your self-care muscle every single day. You're choosing healthy food, you're joining like-minded people, and you're making time for YOU.
So give yourself a pat on the back or a hug, because you're investing in yourself and getting closer to the best version of your authentic self!
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