For years I have been a proponent of self-care. As a social worker I often encouraged not only clients, but also co-workers to make sure they were finding time to rejuvenate themselves. As a health coach, it is something that becomes a focal point in my work with almost every client. With friends, I am often encouraging them to find ways to unwind and take care of themselves. There was just one hitch: I am not so good at taking my own advice.
In the past few months, though, I have been trying to do better about my own self-care and it has made a huge difference!
As I am sure you have heard over-and-over again, in order to be more available and open to others (whether as a parent, a friend, a service provider, or even as a stranger), it is important that we maintain our “reserves” by doing things that help us to unwind, relax, and get the stress out. It helps us to have more patience, to feel more centered, to be better listeners, to be more present in the moment.
But when you are busy and life isn’t slowing down, it can be very hard to make the time to take care of yourself and for some of us it can be hard to spend the money on things that might help us to unwind. So in an effort to help you to start to actually try to take care of yourself. Here are seven ideas of quick and cheap things that can help to take the edge off.
- Go for a walk around the block. Let’s be honest, 5 or 10 minutes is not going to make or break your to-do list, but it will give you time to breathe.
- Take a 5-minute stretching break. Do a few of your favorite yoga poses or just reach for the sky, but as you do whatever stretches you do, try to be mindful of your breathing and take slow, deep breaths.
- Have a dance party (with or without your kids). Crank of some fun music and just let loose. No one is watching.
- Set aside 15 minutes a day that is “me-time.” You don’t check email or social media, you don’t talk to anyone in your house, you just allow yourself to be.
- Make what you want for dinner. So often we are consumed with pleasing everyone else that we forget about ourselves and our desires. So for one night a week make what you want, regardless of whether or not anyone else will be happy with it (no one will starve to death).
- Take a bath. Do not clean yourself. Just draw a warm bath with the sole purpose of relaxing. If you’ve got some bubbles or salts, great. Maybe have a glass of wine, play some favorite music, or light a candle. The main thing is to shut the door and take the time for yourself.
- Go to bed early. Forget the dishes, forget the laundry, forget the to-do list, just go to bed. Give yourself a truly good night of sleep.
What do you do to take care of yourself? What helps you unwind?