S is for Self Care: 6 Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself
Why is it so hard for women, particularly mothers, to stop for a minute and take care of themselves? Women, by their nature, are caretakers. We take care of our children, our partners, our parents, our friends, neighbors and acquaintances, our pets, our homes, our coworkers. So what gets in the way of being able to take a few minutes for ourselves? Guilt? Pride? An unrealistic expectation that we don’t need it? Too expensive? Sometimes it comes down to the sheer amount of time it takes. You will be a better person for everyone you hold near and dear if you take the time to refuel yourself. And, no, you are not being selfish! Here are 6 do-able ways to take better care of yourself… Are you ready? You deserve it!
1. Identify Things You Find Soothing or Relaxing
Light a candle. Take a hot bath or shower. Make yourself a cup of tea. Put on some relaxing music. Get a pedicure. Meditate. Ask a loved one to rub your back or give you a foot rub. Pet an animal. Slowly rub some scented lotion into your hands and savor the experience. Snuggle under a blanket. Take some deep breaths in and out through your nose. Do some gentle yoga. Write in a journal. Blow bubbles.
2. Try Something That Energizes You
Go for a brisk walk. Crank up the music! Try a Zumba class. Take the stairs. Bounce or balance on an exercise ball. Stretch your body and take some deep breaths. Do jumping jacks. Find a video on YouTube and try a new kind of exercise. Have a dance party (this is even more fun with kids to dance with you!). Practice some yoga poses. Take a kickboxing class. Play ball or tag with a child.
3. Find Enjoyable Ways to Distract Yourself
Distraction is a great way to relax or manage anxiety. Try a crossword, word search or Sudoku puzzle. Count backwards from 100 by 3s. Think of a name or an animal that starts with every letter from A to Z. Read a magazine. Browse Pinterest. Call an old friend to check in. Find some crayons or colored pencils and color – there are many free printable adult coloring pages to try on the internet and Pinterest. Watch a funny movie. Count how many green things are in the room. Play a game on your phone or computer.
4. Tap Into Your Creative Side
Find a project that excites you. Try a new recipe. Learn to sew. Paint a picture or a room. Draw. Color. Spray paint something. Write a poem. Organize a drawer. Bake something yummy. Learn to play the piano or guitar. Pretend play with a child. Sing. Rearrange your furniture. Knit a scarf. Write someone (or yourself) a love note.
5. Utilize Your Five Senses
Hear – Try a white noise machine or a sound app on your phone. Play music. Appreciate the sounds of nature or silence. See – Admire a beautiful piece of art. Read something. Watch a sunset. Buy yourself flowers. Taste – Slowly let a piece of dark chocolate melt in your mouth. Eat something spicy. Suck on a sour candy. Allow yourself to fully experience these different flavors. Smell – Experiment with essential oils. Savor the aroma of newly cut grass or a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Open a window and breath in the fresh air. Feel – Put a warm heating pad on your neck and shoulders. Splash cold water on your face. Squeeze a ball or play with a small toy. Stretch your body. Put a cool cloth or an eye pillow over your eyes.
6. Find Ways to Express Gratitude
Help someone in need. Bring cookies to a neighbor. Write a heartfelt thank you note. Keep a gratitude journal where you start or end each day writing 3 specific things that you are grateful for no matter how big or small. Volunteer. Visit a nursing home or spend time with a child. Check in with an old friend or someone who you know is having a rough time. It can feel so satisfying to give back in some small way.
Wow! That is a lot of ideas. What else would you add to this self care list? Make a list of 5-10 ideas that you can really commit to trying for yourself. Aim to incorporate 1-2 activities into each day and reap the benefits of some self care time. Even a little time can go a long way! Doesn’t it feel good to focus on you for once? Relax and enjoy!
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