Society today is all about giving. Giving your time to a job, offering resources to a cause, giving your attention to the needs of family and friends. And while these things can be rewarding, it leaves little time for us to focus on our own needs.
I often tell family caregivers that self-care is not just going on a spa day once a year or the occasional break away to get their hair done or to buy a new outfit. Self-care needs to be a daily practice to feel as rested and good about ourselves as we can be.
Yes, finding an hour in a busy day can seem like an impossible feat, but you most likely are already doing this. Are you spending an hour watching TV? Or maybe catching up with friends on Facebook? This hour is the best time to start introducing a self-care routine.
Start an Exercise Practice
Incorporating an exercise practice can be challenging. Regardless of knowing all the excellent benefits, it is the getting up and going part that can be difficult. Especially if you are tired from your busy schedule.
Being mindful of the type of exercise practice that works best for you is critical to the success of starting a practice. So many of us are taught that exercise is only for weight loss, when in fact it is so much more than that.
When starting a practice, be conscious of what type of goals you have in mind. Are you interested in building your strength? Or maybe better balance? Then perhaps a cardio exercise practice isn’t the best option for you, and you’d find a yoga practice easier to adopt.
Nothing is set in stone, so give yourself time to play and try a variety of exercise options so that you find the best one for you.
Start a Creative Project
I often thought that you had to be a good painter or drawer to be an artist, but I was wrong! There are so many ways to be creative. Writing, painting, or even gardening are all creative ways we can use to express ourselves.
Through a creative project, we get to know ourselves a bit better. We discover our likes and dislikes and even offer ourselves opportunities to mess up without fear of criticisms. Are you coloring outside of the lines? Who cares! The creative process is yours alone, and the freedom in that can be liberating!
Start Reading a Book
Sinking into a good book can be so relaxing! No matter the genre, spending time each day to read keeps the brain active and healthy.
Not one for reading? Try an audiobook that you can listen to while working on your creative project.
Use Your Imagination
Using our imagination is just something many of us don’t have time for in the busyness of day-to-day life. Daydreaming of an upcoming vacation is helpful, but it doesn’t allow you to play or be creative.
You don’t even have to have an artistic bone in your body. Just spending some time throughout the day using your imagination is a fun way to keep the mind active.
Have a Conversation
Do you ever find yourself in a conversation only discussing the day’s tasks you did or did not accomplish? Or considering the latest news headlines?
While these topics have their time and place, they don’t take you away from your daily routine and can even cause you more anxiety.
Becoming purposeful in our conversations may sound easy, but it can be difficult to break away from our routines. Try instead discussing an interesting article you read on Sixty and Me. Or brainstorm ideas for your creative project.
Conversations bring us closer to those we engage with and keep the mind active and stimulated, which can be a rewarding and relaxing experience.
Meditation is an incredible tool for stress release and mindfulness. While sitting quietly can be difficult at first, over time you will find that your body will welcome the respite from daily concerns and an overactive mind.
Even if it is only for five minutes, giving your mind a rest is one of the best relaxation techniques.
You Deserve It!
It doesn’t matter how you decide to spend time on yourself – what matters is that you do. It is too easy to get caught up in the chaos of daily life, and while a focus on others is essential and encouraged it can sometimes add to your stress.
The best way to take care of others is to take care of yourself first. You deserve it!
How are you planning to take care of your own needs this year? What things do you to do make yourself feel positive and confident? Please share your favorite activities and practices that take care of your well-being.