I started writing this post prior to the COVID 19 crisis, but thought now was as good a time as any to share some ideas for self-care. I am probably not the poster child for making time for myself a priority, but it is something I am determined to move up on my list. A lot of us believe self-care consists only of bubble baths and keeping our water bottles with us at all times. These do help, but any doctor can tell you the 6 best prescriptions for procuring a positive outlook and sustained self-care are sunshine, water, rest, air, exercise, and diet.
Brighten Your Day!
If you can find just a few minutes of outdoor exposure, even on the cloudiest of days, you will still benefit from vitamin D. Sitting by the office window, isn’t the same, as most modern glass is designed to block UV rays. As we approach May, hopefully there will be brighter skies and ample opportunity to get outdoors. Allowing some solar powered stress relief will also motive your mojo to getting moving and amp up your ability to wind down at bedtime. (Don’t forget the sunscreen though. Sun burns definitely don’t decrease stress levels.)
Ah, rest, the most elusive of healers. Getting good zzzz’s is tough because our brains are over-stimulated from work, worry, and too much time staring at electronic devices. Setting a schedule is one of the best ways to ensure that sleep is secured. Even thought our schedules are out of their normal whack, it’s still a good idea to stick to your regular bed time. Regulating a routine for bed time is also great for getting your brain to shift to a lower gear. Taking time to get sun and exercise each day will also motivate your mind to mellow out and cutting off the caffeine before evening is always a calming choice.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Air is one option that actually isn’t too tough to take advantage of. A few focused breaths of breathing in the calm and letting out the crazy forces you to fixate on what you can and need to do and send the other stuff sailing with your exhalations. Daily meditation or mindfulness practices are super stress reducers. Simply setting your feet flat on the ground, placing your palms on your lap, closing your eyes, and slowly breathing in and out reduces your heart rate and allows your mind to mollify.
Let’s Get Physical
Exercise is intimidating to a lot of us. Just the mention of cardio or aerobics sends us down a spiral of sweat-induced stress. The good news is that exercise isn’t always body building or extreme sport related. Exercise can be walking up and down the steps to your basement 10 times. Exercise can be vacuuming and folding laundry while jamming out to your favorite classic rock playlist. Exercise can be throwing a Frisbee with your kids and then playing a game of hide-and-seek in the backyard. (Running for home base is definitely cardio.) Walking is a terrific way to get your steps in, reduce stress, and work out your worries.
Whatever activity you choose, set goals for yourself. Consider using that step counter app on your phone or write how many minutes you walked on the wall calendar. Giving yourself a goal to achieve is an awesome way to physically feel good and feel accomplished in your success.
Self-Care Those Cravings Away
Diet is a dirty word sometimes. Eating right has been even more challenging with the quarantine situation. The stress and limited travel options can make for dieting disasters. It’s tough when we can’t get to the grocery store to keep precious fresh produce on hand. What we can do is limit what we eat and make sure that our meal choices are fueling us in positive ways. Avoid eating just because you can. This leads to not sleeping or not fitting in your clothes because you can’t.
Easy food fixes for feeling fed and positive are nuts, fruits, dark leafy greens, and high protein dishes (such as salmon), and don’t forget the dark chocolate. Drinking plenty of fresh water will also help reduce your cravings and keep you hydrated adding to your happiness.
Whatever it is you are doing now to provide self-care, don’t quarantine those practices. These uncertain times demand deliberate doses of the things that make us feel sane, safe, and secure. Get those bubble baths going, keep those water bottles filled and close, call your friends and family, have a glass of wine, take a walk, wear clothes that make you feel good, do some cloud or star gazing from your front steps, wake up and say a prayer of thanks. Do what it is that gives Intentergy to your day and allow yourself to feel the positive power of self–care.
By: Melanie A. Peters
P.S. Checking on your friends and family is a form of self-care. Feeling connected is key to maintaining mental health and consistency.
P.P.S. Remind your friends and family to read positivity blogs. These sites are very good self-care solutions. http://www.intentergy.com