There has never been a more important time for self-care than right now. Regular life stress seemed tame compared to what we have been dealing with as of late. Not that regular life stress wasn’t already too much, now we have a global pandemic and a civil rights movement underway. Emotions are high everywhere. The very best thing that we can do right now is to take care of ourselves so we can remain calm and centered and be able to clearly handle the world around us, not to mention stress affects the immune system.
Before we get to the check lists\ of self-care tasks, we first need to give ourselves permission to allow self-care. It is absolutely ok and completely essential to take care of ourselves. You can not pour from an empty cup. With that in mind, we also need to be generous and flexible with ourselves. We have never had to deal with this type of situation before, and all emotions and reactions to what is going on are normal and valid. Forgive yourself for everything you aren’t achieving right now. You do not have to be productive to be worthy.
These are all important steps in taking care of ourselves, and it can be overwhelming. But it doesn’t need to be. Pick 1-3 tasks a day as a goal to focus on. Pick ones that are easily achievable and mix it up when possible.
Hydrate! Drink a glass of water, coconut water or something hydrating that isn’t full of artificial ingredients. Watermelon is a great way to get hydration!
Slow, deep, intentional breathing. Take at least 3 minutes to do some deep, slow, breathing.
Eat something that is nutrient-packed. All you need to focus on here are the nutrients.
Are you getting enough sleep? How can you get better sleep? Are you getting too much sleep? Evaluate your sleep and ways to make it easier, more restful and more regimented. Consistency is key.
Take note of your environment. Is it messy or dirty? Is your space comfortable?
Make sure you are eliminating enough. When was the last time you eliminated? Do you need to urinate or have a bowel movement? Make sure you aren’t holding things in and that you are eating enough fiber to keep things moving.
Physical touch is so important. If you can’t get it from others such as a partner or professional and licensed bodyworker, don’t forget your own hands. Put lotion on your body, massage your hands, arms, feet or legs, brush your hair, wash your hands.
Take time out to meditate. 5-10 minutes to ground yourself. Find guided meditations or music that calms you down
Move your body. Take time to stretch, take a walk, run, do yoga, lift weights, do body resistance movements, or dance. Anything to get your body moving.
Find time to relax in the best way you know how. Take a bath or shower, read, sit outside, enjoy some tea. Do whatever you can to find relaxation in your mind and body.
Be creative! Take time to invest in your hobbies.
Find your gratitude. Take some time to come up with at least 3 things you are grateful for. Write them down. Say thank you upon waking or going to bed at least three times.
Check-in on your self talk. Most likely it is full of violent, harsh, shameful, guilty or overall self-deprecating thoughts. Write out positive affirmations and repeat them to yourself as often as you can.
Make sure you are getting enough you time. Take a drive, spend time doing something that you enjoy. Make yourself a priority.
Are you getting enough social time in your life? This can be hard with the current state of affairs, but don’t forget we can use our phones to call people, text and even video chat if available. Reach out and have a conversation with someone.
Are you communicating your needs? Even if just to yourself. Practice giving a voice to the things you need, you can even make a needs journal to help understand yourself better.
Are you spending quality time with your family? Family bonding is so important. Take some time to spend nondistracted time with your children, partners and furbabies.
When was the last time you had a good belly laugh? Laughter really is the best medicine. Know what makes you laugh so you can achieve that big smile, stitch in the side, tears in the eyes laughter.
Get out into nature. I know this can be hard for some of us. So work with what you have. Admire a tree in your neighborhood or a weed popping up through the cement. Go for a hike if you can. Look at the sky.
When was the last time you did an act of service? Take time to do something nice for someone else no matter how small.
Learn something new! Find out about something you are interested in, take a class, read a book. When your mind is learning new things your brain's pathways are firing off which creates new space in your mind.
When was the last time you deep cleaned and simplified? Get rid of things you don’t need and doesn’t bring joy. Clean out your dusty corners. Things will feel lighter when your environment is tidy and decluttered.
Remember that it is ok to have boundaries. In every part of your life. Do not say yes when you want to say no. Know your limits and express them clearly. It is especially important to have boundaries around social media right now. If it is causing you stress, turmoil, sadness, sucking your energy, you need to set yourself limits and adhere to them. Most phones have either internal settings or there are apps for reminders, setting time limits, and restrictions on app usage. Take advantage of these if you aren’t able to control yourself.