Self-Care, we all do it, righhhttt?
Not so much.
(For those who don’t feel like reading the article: simply scroll to the bottom of this article for some tips on how to practice self – care for the mind, body and soul along with some memes you can save to your phone for easy access.Having trouble getting cozy enough to give this self-care thing a shot ?
Read this then!)
For a pretty simple question there is a simple answer, but the immediate response and it’s simplicity soon become contemplative. Initially, for deep seeded, personal reason, each of us finds that this question tends to provoke us to intuitively (and immediately) answer ‘yes’, but the reality is that ‘yes’ is not always the actual answer.
Sure, generally speaking, if we are of sane mind, have food & shelter, and can make ends meet, we are better off than many people in this world and for that, we are thankful. And, for the most part, we can all assume that we are doing ‘just fine’ if we have those things…but that is not to be confused with having the sentiment of what the concept of self-care truly means.
Self-care isn’t merely ‘getting by’ or ‘surviving’, it is paying conscious mind and mindful effort towards nourishing and nurturing your soul, heart and physical body in a way that honors oneself with no judgement, not just ‘maintains’ it.
That said, stop everything you are doing just for a second and ask yourself if you actually practice self-care…
Crickets, or at the least a debate with yourself, right? That is because: who has the time!?
It wasn’t until recently when I started browsing the interwebs and found myself lost in endless memes on self-care rituals. I realized there was a reason I was so intrigued: I apparently suck at self-care.
Shocking, I know.
Let’s be real: with such a busy life in today’s world the days fly by rapidly, regime, routine and check- lists go out the window and p horrifying occurrences (such as realizing your roots are showing a bit longer than they should) happen daily, days where you’re feeling empty and want to cry for no reason are more than norm than any of us would like to admit and the reality that you gained five pounds since last year is now expected at every annual physical exam.
But it isn’t just about the surface things when it comes to what suffers when you deprive yourself of self-care. A slew of other things come into play too, such as grabbing food on the go which leads to said weight gain and malnutrition which then makes you moody AF and emo to boot. Not attaching a sense of urgency to your own well being or prioritizing taking care of yourself because you are focused on others doesn’t make you a saint, it makes you reckless. No one else is going to let themselves go down the drain because they are too busy being worried about you nd your well being. That is a truth I learned long ago. After a multiple hour review of countless lists of self-care habits I realized that just because we are still breathing doesn’t mean we are honoring ourselves. We have to have a concerted, discipline consciousness of ourselves, to side and listen to what our soul needs, in order to hear it.
Yea, I know, you are likely rolling your eyes right now thinking who has the time for this and or that it sounds so cheesy to nourish yourself, but you must. Even if you are ‘just getting by’ or treading water temporarily, yes that is part of life, but it isn’t sustainable. Every single struggle and stress leads to much bigger situations that truly do affect our well being down the line The reality is that this pace of life can and will come back to haunt you – if you don’t start practicing even a minimal amount of self-care habits now you could wake up one day wondering who you are and what happened to the person you used to know (you) down the road and trust me, you don’t want to have to back peddle to answer that question.
The one thing to know and remember is that routine, rituals, regimes are all a discipline. And discipline is a muscle, you have to train it and work consistently at it to keep it up. You have to commit to things and hold yourself accountable to follow through. Yes, sometimes that means compromising on other things, but nothing else should really come before this, before yourself to yourself. Practice self-care because nothing is worth losing yourself or not caring for the vessel our souls reside in.
For those of you who are eager to get on the SC wagon, let me give you a starting point with this first piece of advice that you must embrace: STOP GIVING A SHIT about what anyone other than YOU thinks. Don’t let outside opinions about who you are or what you are make you question what YOU know in your heart to be true. Keep those sacred answers of who you are at your core to yourself until no one can shake you because the truth is, people are weird and people can be mean. Don’t give away your power.
Check out the Pinterest board I made with some fabulous examples of these self-care lists for more of what I believe are truly Greenwich Girl Pearls of wisdom. Hopefully, you too will find them as useful as I did in coming back to yourself with control, confidence and overall order!
The number one thing that helped me most: lists! Tune in this week to see my a.m.and p.m.routines, rituals and must-do lists.
Tiny Self-Care Ideas for the Mind
1. Start a compliments file. Document the great things people say about you to read later.
2. Scratch off a lurker on your to-do list, something that’s been there for ages and you’ll never do.
3. Change up the way you make decisions. Decide something with your heart if you usually use your head. Or if you tend to go with your heart, decide with your head.
4. Go cloud-watching. Lie on your back, relax, and watch the sky.
5. Take another route to work. Mixing up your routine in small ways creates new neural pathways in the brain to keep it healthy.
6. Pay complete attention to something you usually do on autopilot, perhaps brushing your teeth, driving, eating, or performing your morning routine.
7. Goof around for a bit. Schedule in five minutes of “play” (non-directed activity) several times throughout your day.
8. Create a deliberate habit, and routinize something small in your life by doing it in the same way each day—what you wear on Tuesdays, or picking up the dental floss before you brush.
9. Fix a small annoyance at home that’s been nagging you—a button lost, a drawer that’s stuck, a light bulb that’s gone.
10. Punctuate your day with a mini-meditation with one minute of awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and sensations; one minute of focused attention on breathing; and one minute of awareness of the body as a whole.
11. Be selfish. Do one thing today just because it makes you happy.
12. Do a mini-declutter. Recycle three things from your wardrobe that you don’t love or regularly wear.
13. Unplug for an hour. Switch everything to airplane mode and free yourself from the constant bingsof social media and email.
14. Get out of your comfort zone, even if it’s just talking to a stranger at the bus stop.
15. Edit your social media feeds, and take out any negative people. You can just “mute” them; you don’t have to delete them.
Tiny Self-Care Ideas for the Body
1. Give your body ten minutes of mindful attention. Use the body scan technique to check in with each part of your body.
2. Oxygenate by taking three deep breaths. Breathe into your abdomen, and let the air puff out your stomach and chest.
3. Get down and boogie. Put on your favorite upbeat record and shake your booty.
4. Stretch out the kinks. If you’re at work, you can always head to the bathroom to avoid strange looks.
5. Run (or walk, depending on your current physical health) for a few minutes. Or go up and down the stairs three times.
6. Narrow your food choices. Pick two healthy breakfasts, lunches, and dinners and rotate for the week.
7. Activate your self-soothing system. Stroke your own arm, or if that feels too weird, moisturize.
8. Get to know yourself intimately. Look lovingly and without judgment at yourself naked. (Use a mirror to make sure you get to know all of you!)
9. Make one small change to your diet for the week. Drink an extra glass of water each day, or have an extra portion of veggies each meal.
10. Give your body a treat. Pick something from your wardrobe that feels great next to your skin.
11. Be still. Sit somewhere green, and be quiet for a few minutes.
12. Get fifteen minutes of sun, especially if you’re in a cold climate. (Use sunscreen if appropriate.)
13. Inhale an upbeat smell. Try peppermint to suppress food cravings and boost mood and motivation.
14. Have a good laugh. Read a couple of comic strips that you enjoy. (For inspiration, try Calvin and Hobbes, Dilbert, or xkcd.)
15. Take a quick nap. Ten to twenty minutes can reduce your sleep debt and leave you ready for action.
Tiny Self-Care Ideas for the Soul
1. Imagine you’re your best friend. If you were, what would you tell yourself right now? Look in the mirror and say it.
2. Use your commute for a “Beauty Scavenger Hunt.” Find five unexpected beautiful things on your way to work.
3. Help someone. Carry a bag, open a door, or pick up an extra carton of milk for a neighbor.
4. Check in with your emotions. Sit quietly and just name without judgment what you’re feeling.
5. Write out your thoughts. Go for fifteen minutes on anything bothering you. Then let it go as you burn or bin the paper.
6. Choose who you spend your time with today. Hang out with “Radiators” who emit enthusiasm and positivity, and not “Drains” whose pessimism and negativity robs energy.
7. Stroke a pet. If you don’t have one, go to the park and find one. (Ask first!)
8. Get positive feedback. Ask three good friends to tell you what they love about you.
9. Make a small connection. Have a few sentences of conversation with someone in customer service such as a sales assistant or barista.
10. Splurge a little. Buy a small luxury as a way of valuing yourself.
11. Have a self-date. Spend an hour alone doing something that nourishes you (reading, your hobby, visiting a museum or gallery, etc.)
12. Exercise a signature strength. Think about what you’re good at, and find an opportunity for it today.
13. Take a home spa. Have a long bath or shower, sit around in your bathrobe, and read magazines.
14. Ask for help—big or small, but reach out.
15. Plan a two-day holiday for next weekend. Turn off your phone, tell people you’ll be away, and then do something new in your own town.
Little and Often Wins the Day.