September is Self Care Awareness Month. So often self care sounds like another line item on my already overloaded to do list. Frankly, I can get resentful at the very suggestion of self care, isn’t there too much on my plate already?
At the same time, I know that when my own needs aren’t a priority that my energy and attitude suffer, and then everything else starts circling the drain as well. I realize that reframing what I think of as self care and a whole new approach would make it seem like less of a chore, but I wasn’t sure where to begin.
Then I thought that maybe if I had a list of things that make me feel relaxed and content that I could turn to when I’m uptight that might make it easier for me to take care of myself on those days when I really need it.
I know that for some people a mani-pedi or a massage is a great go-to for a breather, but dropping that kind of cash stresses me out, so for it to be a good fit for me it has to be cheap or free.
1 – Bake
Baking is fun, it taps into my creative side and has a built in reward when it’s finished. For me an hour in the kitchen trying a new recipe or throwing together an old favorite is my happy place, so baking gets first place on my list of self care ideas. What better excuse is there to eat a little comfort food than serving up something you just had a blast making?
2 – Get Outside
Fresh air and sunshine is life giving, no matter the season. Often I feel like I have too much to do to waste my time going for a walk or relaxing on my porch swing. However, I usually find that instead of being a useless waste of time, when I go outside I get the focus and energy I need to rock out the rest of the things I need to accomplish.
Taking just a half hour to get my head on straight saves me time in the end because I’m more effective and ready to tackle all the things that need to be done.
3 – Stretch
Especially on days that I just can’t get outside, a mini yoga session or even just getting up and doing some deep breathing with toe touches and arm raises gets my blood flowing and boosts my energy.
4 – Dance
Crank some tunes and get down and boogie. Whether it’s in your car on your commute, in your living room with a house full of kids, or while hiding in the bathroom for a few minutes, a quick dance session gets your blood flowing and lightens your mood, and best of all it can often be combined with other self-care practices.
5 – Tackle The To Do List
Cross off items and get it out of the way. If all the things you need to do are driving you batty, then take a few of the most tedious tasks and get them done, you’ll feel about 50 pounds lighter being free of that list hanging over your head.
6 – Go To Bed Early
Turn off the television, put down your phone, grab a book and hit the sack. Read until you can no longer focus your eyes, then slide into sweet rest. You will not regret it.
7 – Make a Cup Of Tea
Many teas have low levels of caffeine to give you a gentle charge, plus herbs which have health and brain benefits to either help you engage or help you relax.
8 – Laugh
I have a go-to video which always absolutely cracks me up. It takes a couple of minutes to watch and after the certain laugh, I’m always ready to take on the day.
9 – Vent
If you have some things on your mind or built up frustrations, try letting them out. Whether it’s just free-writing them out for only your eyes to see or texting your bestie for some encouragement or calling your mom to cry it out, find a way to get it off your chest and then, when you’re done, move on.
Dwelling on it won’t help, so once you let it out, leave it.
10 – Take An Electronics Break
Screens are addictive and it isn’t healthy. Social media often makes us feel like we don’t measure up and takes up far too much of our precious time. Get away from the screens and focus on your own life instead of everyone else’s!
Hopefully, these ideas will get your creative juices flowing, then you can take advantage of these suggestions or use them as fodder to generate ideas of your own.
Either way, take some time to fill your tank before taking on the world and doing all of the marvelous things you do each day. I think that you, like me, will find that when taking care of yourself becomes a habit, you will be the most effective version of yourself possible.