If you do not take care of you, who will?Unknown
Picture this scenario… you are working extra hours at work, your kids are driving you crazy, student loan debt seems never ending, and you are becoming more and more irritable with your spouse. For too many of us, this isn’t difficult to picture. When this happens one of the first things to get thrown out the window is self care routines.
What is self care?
Self care in essence is the mindful taking time to pay attention to you, not in a narcissistic way, but in a way that ensures that you are being cared for by you.Maria Baratta, Ph.D., L.C.S.W
I absolutely love the way Dr. Maria Baratta describes self care as a “mindful taking time to pay attention to you.” When we get overly busy, we stop being mindful and start focusing on the busyness of life. Typically we begin to notice an imbalance and feel out of sorts when we neglect self care. Today, I’ll share 10 self care activities that you can begin to do to get balance back in your life.
- Slow down and take a few deep breaths. That’s it. Simple. You can use your smartwatch, set a timer for 1 minute, or simply close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Your mind may wander and that’s okay, but refocus on your breath brings you back to the present moment.
- Go for a walk. Start small and take a 10 minute walk while on your lunch at work or around your neighborhood before work. Any increase in physical activity, including walking has many positive benefits on your well being.
- Speaking of eating, be sure to actually eat during the day. Many times we are rushed in the morning and skip breakfast, I’m guilty of this several times during the week. Plan ahead and make breakfast easy by preparing quick meals or grocery shop for things that take little effort to make in the morning. Be sure to sneak in some fruits and vegetables throughout the day as well.
- Take a break from staring at your computer screen. Stretch you legs, do a quick lap around the office, or grab a drink of water to give your eyes a break from your computer screen.
- Speaking of breaks, why not also consider taking the unplugged challenge and turn off your phone for 1 hour or the afternoon. You would be amazed at the impact this can have on your mental well being. If you have FOMO (fear of missing out) start small and see how you feel with taking a 30 minute break.
- Enjoy that special expensive coffee or tea once in a while. Treat yourself to something that you enjoy on occasion.
- Go to a class like yoga, Pilates, or a spin class. Many people already have access to these things through gym memberships but don’t use them. Give it a shot, if you don’t like it, then you can always try something else like a massage or going into a sauna or hot tub.
- Sit down and write a list of what you are grateful for in your life. If you want help with this check out the Gratitude Journal from the Greater Good in Action website from the University of Berkeley.
- Read a book, a magazine, or the newspaper. Read something that isn’t connected to a screen.
- Try the practicing mindfulness by using the meditation app, Calm. Calm is an Apple BEST OF 2018 award winner, Apple’s App of the Year 2017, and Google Play Editor’s Choice 2018. The app is available for iOS and Android.
I believe that you deserve more than ok. Ready to make an appointment? Contact me today.
Remember, no great misery goes unnoticed, if you are struggling with your mental health, be sure to reach out to a qualified mental health professional. If you are considering suicide please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK, call 9-1-1, or visit the closest emergency room.
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Jeff Simms is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Board Certified Counselor in private practice in Grand Blanc, Michigan. Jeff works with adults that want to get better dealing with their anxiety, depression, PTSD, and marriage.