You’re tired. You’re stressed. You feel pulled in a hundred different directions. You can’t seem to find balance. Your thoughts are all over the place. You are trying to take care of too many people and things. You are stuck trying to work through a problem. Your project lacks creativity. Your mind is fuzzy. You can’t seem to complete one thing off your list. Your spouse, kids, co-worker, sister or other person in your life is driving you crazy.
Dear friend, that’s me. That’s you. That’s all of us trying to do life.
Let me ask you a question: When’s the last time you took five minutes to an hour for self-care?
You’ve heard that self-care is important. You may even know it’s important. But maybe it still doesn’t happen.
Here’s the thing: It doesn’t have to take very long at all and it can regulate, rejuvenate and re-energize your spirit, mind and body.
To help us both, I’ve put together a list of 12 Ways to Practice Self-Care:
- Spend time outside. Sit in your backyard, take a picnic break at a park, go for a neighborhood walk, walk outside your office for a few minutes, sip your coffee out on the front porch.
- Read for pleasure. Is there a novel you’ve been waiting to get your hands on? Reserve it at the library, grab it at the bookstore and throw it in your bag, or download it to your phone. Next time you need a break, take it out and read a chapter or two.
- Listen to a favorite song. Whether it’s a nostalgic song that conjures up memories and smiles from the past, a current feel-good song, or a song that you just find is beautiful, take a minute to lose yourself in it.
- Stretch and breathe. If you’ve been sitting at a desk for awhile, take a stretch break and breathe in and out deeply while you do. At home with the kiddos? Lead everyone in a stretch break with deep breathing. It’s a good re-set button.
- Treat yourself to your favorite coffee or tea drink, and savor it. What’s that flavored coffee or tea you love? Order it. Make it. Smell it. Drink it while it’s the perfect temperature. Put your to-do list down for a minute and savor this delightful and simple treat.
- Take a shower. Seriously, are you in a funk? Go take a shower. As your muscles relax under the hot water, your thoughts will too. You may come out of the shower a new person on the outside and the inside.
- Light a candle or diffuse some essential oils. Choosing a scent that you find calming or pleasant and inviting its aroma into your environment will have a positive impact on your mental status.
- Be creative. Are your children coloring? Jump in and join them. Are you staring at your calendar? Why not embellish it with some of your own unique flair? Did your co-worker just say something funny? I dare you to write it as a cartoon or in block or fancy letters.
- Put on lotion that is one of your favorite scents. This delights two senses – touch and smell-and gives your mind and body a minute to be grounded before moving on to your next task.
- Make a list of 5 things you are grateful for today. This is easily my #1 most effective way to lift my mood. And it doesn’t take but a minute or two.
- Journal. Write out some of your thoughts, dreams, ideas, things that happened today or something you want to remember. Journaling not only has therapeutic qualities, but can lead to increased productivity as well.
- Write out an inspirational quote or Scripture and post it on your mirror. What’s something that inspires you and says it in a beautiful way? Write it out, print it out, or have someone design a small poster for you with those words and post it on your mirror, where you’ll see it every morning.
See? Easy-Squeezy. Pick 1, Pick 12 – Take 5 minutes, Take an hour.
You’ll just be glad you did.
I’d love to hear from you- How do you practice self-care? Which self-care practice are you going to do today? How did it help? What would you add to the list?