Monday, February 1, 2016
Self-Care 101: Explanation, Tips, & Ideas
When the majority of your time and energy is spent or focused on helping people, being there for people, making peoples lives better... you start to get burnt out after a while. You still love what you're doing of course, but it's your body and mind that get run down. Self-care picks you back up again. People in helping professions already know all about this, and self-care, so let this be a gentle reminder to do it! But for everyone else who maybe haven't heard about this? I'm talking about parents, stressed out college kids, people with fast-paced jobs...Take a second and read this. You need this.
So what is self care? Self-care is basically burnout prevention. It is doing something for yourself, when you are stressed out, when it's been a long day, or ideally before you get stressed. Self-care can be whatever you want it to be, but it's something that is just for you, and let's your body and mind rejuvenate. Let me give you some examples (most are free!), and then I'll go into more detail.
Listening to music
A glass of wine
A yummy treat
Your favorite food
Going for a drive
Sitting on the Beach
Counting the good things that happen each day
So here is when I will do these things...
On a regular basis:
At least a few times I week, I will do yoga. Or at least try. Even if it's just for 20 minutes, it's something I really enjoy. Exercise is one very common and awesome form of self-care, because it naturally releases happy chemicals (aka neuropeptides called endorphins), and turns your focus to what you are physically doing. Just make sure you are doing an exercise you actually enjoy, otherwise you aren't going to reap as many of the mental benefits.
Another thing I absolutely love (but don't usually make time for) is reading. When you read, your mind is in an entirely different place. Instead of thinking about your life, you're wrapped up in someone else's story. It's mindless in the sense that you don't have to think about your daily issues or stressors.
On busy/rough days:
These are days where you are going non-stop, or maybe you are put into stressful situations, or it's just tough. You may pass it off as normal and not give it a second thought, but your body takes the brunt of it. Exercise and/or reading are awesome to do on these days when you get a chance, but sometimes you need a little extra something. This is when I will treat myself to that soy mocha frappe with no whip, or my favorite food. I might have a glass of wine, watch my favorite episode of Gilmore Girls, take Molly for a long walk, or some other positive thing to counteract the rough day.
On bad days/after a long week:
When it's been a bad day and I just feel crappy, that's when I need more self-care. This is when I will watch a Disney movie like Cinderella, because look at how her life was, and how amazing it ended up? Also, it's a mindless/feel-good activity. Or maybe I will go for a drive or take the long way home, and listen to Delilah, which is basically a guarantee that I will feel better. If I have more spare time, or free time the next day, then I will take a drive down to the beach and just sit and watch the waves for a little while. Hot or cold! The ocean is always there, sometimes calm, sometimes chaotic, but it's still there. Or I may go to my favorite hiking spot, again, just to let my mind wander. I know coloring is an excellent form of self-care for some people. And most of this stuff doesn't cost a dime! If you do have some extra pennies, go get a facial or a massage, go see a new movie or go shopping!
Self-care is going to look different for everyone, but it's finding those little things in life that you enjoy. That is what I'm talking about. No matter what you do in life, everyone needs to practice self-care. And it doesn't have to be some long process, it can be something you only do for 5-15 minutes a day! Just do it.
I'm admittedly terrible at remembering to practice self-care. It's something my professors really got after me for last semester, and I'm trying to be more mindful, especially with such a stressful semester ahead of me. Blogging is one of my favorite self-care activities, and I really need to get back into it. So, here is my self-care for the day!
What do you do for self-care? I love asking people and finding new things I can try!