Self Care - Taking Care of YOU!
In early 2020, we all watched as the world changed before our eyes. We scrambled to keep up with the ever-changing regulations and guidelines. And in our frantic striving to keep our heads above water, many of us let self-care fall to the sidelines.
I mean, seriously, eyebrows not plucked, hair in a bun 24/7, working from home and only the top half of me ever got dressed for work - you know just in case the boss needs to do a Zoom Call, and you had to show your face and show some semblance of normalcy. I’m serious self-love was not even on my radar - I was making sure everyone else was okay, filling in for kids who needed me to babysit (don’t get me wrong I loved the time with my grandbabies), but I did these even when I was exhausted.
During the pandemic, I realized that my usual self-care routine no longer worked. Instead of going to a quaint bed and breakfast in an out-of-the-way town and indulging in spa treatments, I was forced to think of new ways to take care of myself. Perhaps you’re in the same spot, wondering how to take care of YOU when the world around you seems upside-down.
1. Keep a gratitude and celebration journal.
It’s really easy to get bogged down by stress, especially if you’re overwhelmed by everything you have to get done. Writing down things you’re thankful for can help you lower stress levels in your body. It may also help you keep things in perspective, even when life is at its most hectic.
In addition to writing down things you’re thankful for, write down things you specifically have done well. When you write down your accomplishments (big or small), you’ll get a boost to your self-esteem. Look back on those pages when you’re in a rut, especially if you’re feeling down on yourself.
2. Take yourself on a fun or fancy date.
Don’t wait for someone else to take you out. If there’s a restaurant you’ve wanted to try or a movie you’d like to see, take yourself on a date! Even if you tend to be extroverted, taking yourself on a date is a great way to invest in what you want to do.
There’s no rule against going to a sit-down restaurant alone. While outings with your significant other or family are great, time spent alone is good for your soul. As a bonus, you won’t need to entertain anyone else or maintain the conversation, since you’ll be all by yourself!
I know eating out in a restaurant right now is difficult in some areas. But why not set up a romantic corner in your home, with a fancy table setting and order in. Break out the fine china, and the crystal wine glass, turn on some classical music or music of your choice and just revel in the moment. This day is yours, it will never pass this way again, so enjoy the time, whether alone or with someone, revel in the moments of today.
3. Have a cup of herbal tea (or wine)!
Sometimes we overthink self-care when in reality, it can be as simple as sitting down to a cup of herbal tea. Or maybe treat yourself to some connoisseur teas, like Hibiscus, Matcha, Jasmine, or Oolong. You might even sit down in a cozy chair and pour yourself a glass of wine at the end of a busy day.
This is one of those self-care ideas that you can work into your schedule every day. You don’t need to get away for the weekend or even carve out a full afternoon. Take ten to thirty minutes and sit down with your drink. Consider the smell, the flavor, and the sensations. If possible, turn off your phone during this time so you can truly live in the moment with your drink.
4. Cut out toxic relationships.
Some relationships are just toxic. If there’s someone who habitually mistreats you, steps on your feelings, or stresses you out, it may be time to reevaluate that relationship. Be honest with that person about why you need to take a break from their friendship.
Most women aren’t comfortable cutting people out entirely. If you can’t cut off the relationship, set up very strict boundaries around it. For example, don’t be afraid to say, “When you say that, it really hurts my feelings.” Keep in mind that it’s always okay to say “no” to requests to meet up, especially if that relationship isn’t uplifting.
5. Take a day (or more) away from social media.
Social media can be detrimental to your mental health in so many ways. While it’s a powerful tool for staying connected with others (especially during the pandemic), it can also be a cause for significant stress.
Take a day or more to completely disconnect from social media. If you need to use social media for your work, set careful boundaries around how you use it. Limit how much time you spend scrolling through your news feed and free yourself up to invest in other areas of your life.
In today’s world, you need to shut off the world, and all its negativity. I started doing this every evening, and what a difference it makes in my sleep, in my sense of well-being.
6. Buy a new set of comfy pajamas (or a nice set of bedsheets).
Few things are as luxurious as slipping into comfortable pajamas at the end of the day. Even if you already have pajamas, go out and buy a new set of comfortable bedclothes. Comfortable sleepwear can be an effective tool to help you unwind and recharge at the end of the day.
This is another self-care practice that doesn’t require a lot of time, yet provides significant benefit to your well-being. You’re already going to bed on a daily basis, so why not enjoy it to the fullest?
New bedsheets are another great way to indulge in self-care. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to bedsheets, but a fresh pair of your favorite type of sheets may be just the rejuvenation you need.
7. Embrace the small things in life.
In Denmark, Hygge is the idea that people should appreciate coziness and small things in life. Take time to embrace the small, cozy moments in life. Whether that’s sitting on the couch cuddled up with your grandkids or enjoying a delicious meal.
Mindful practice can help you enjoy thing things that are already right in front of you. Instead of rushing from task to task, take time to live completely in the moment. Don’t worry about everything on your plate, but enjoy each activity and task as it comes. And when you can… take some time to indulge in something warm and cozy!
8. Don’t ignore your physical or mental health needs.
Let’s be honest: we as women can be pretty bad at taking care of our own needs. However, neglecting your needs can result in catastrophic physical or mental health problems. Whether you need to go to the doctor or set up a visit with a therapist, make sure you’re staying on top of your overall health.
This also includes listening to your body’s cues. When you’re hungry, resist the urge to skip meals because you’re too busy. If you’re exhausted, take a nap or go to sleep early. Listening to your body’s cues can prevent burnout and health issues down the road.