The challenge of all challenges is SELF-CARE.
This concept is believed to be out-of-reach or “not for me” because of the pictures we see blasted on social media of the all-white cottage by the lake surrounded by nature, relaxing in a hammock as the breeze blows and the sun radiates at the perfect temperature. The pitcher of fresh brewed ice tea is on display with fresh slices of lemon accompanied by the perfect bite-size snack that looks like there must be a personal chef on hand. Your imagination takes you to a fictional place that must exist somewhere in reality because you have seen this type of picture a million times!
Life is hectic. Most people struggle to makes ends meet and to put away for their 401k at the end of the day. Most people do not live luxurious lives that involve being pampered by chefs or being whisked away for a weekend of relaxation in their sundress where they sunbathe in a prairie of wildflowers reading the best fantasy novel allowing their mind and soul to experience freedom from the daily grind. No… This is not the reality of self-care!
Self-care in reality looks and feels much, much different than this. Self-care for most is more of a mindful practice in spurts of time throughout the week and month in a fashion that best fits between chauffeuring kids, going to work, cooking meals, cleaning the house, attending church or social activities, and the like. So what does self-care look like in reality?
Self-care only has to be 15-30 minutes per day. Yeah, I know… the spontaneous weekend long get-away to a tropical resort just got blown out of the water! Sorry!
You can practice self-care at your house. You heard me right. No wildflower-filled prairie required. Just you inside your house! ::sigh::
Keeping self-care simple keeps it realistic, consistent, and effective. It’s the old K.I.S.S. rule… Keep It Simple Stupid! Social media over-complicates what needs to be a simple relaxation period in your every day; not an elaborately planned perfectionism event!
The entire purpose of self-care is to allow yourself a break from exhaustion. If your phone is flashing a low battery signal do you run it until it dies, or do you drop everything you’re doing to locate a charger? Everyone knows it is not good for a battery to die, not to mention it makes the device useless when it has no power. Yet, as people we offer recharge solutions to technology long before we allow ourselves to recharge. Do you function better when your battery is dead or fully charged?
If you are a jar filled with life and your role is to pour life into those around you (your children, your spouse, your family, your friends, your coworkers, your church, your community, yourself)… but you have poured until you’re empty, what are you pouring into other people?
Here are some simple ideas that will refresh your daily living and allow your mind the 20-minute power nap it needs to fuel you through the rest of the daily grind.
Rule #1: turn off all electronics. No, you will not die if your Instagram account does not instantly notify you that someone thinks your post is awesome!
Read a book
Take a timed nap
Exercise (it releases happy brain chemicals!)
Listen to music
Watch the sunset/sunrise
Lay down in a candle lit room
Play with animals
Take a bath
Sit outside (#sunshine makes me happy…)
Enjoy the sights and sounds of nature
Cry (yep, that’s right… tears reduce cortisol the stress hormone!)
Make some music (or noise! Ha!)
Watch a movie
Dance (because no one is watching!)
Take an extended shower
Diffuse essential oils
Write a list of your blessings
Get a massage
Stretch (it relaxes your muscles [and you])
Go for a stroll
Give yourself a facial
Ride a bike
Sing to your favorite jams
Meet up with friends for laughter and small talk
Ask your partner for some cuddle time
Overindulge in TV for a night
Go for a scenic drive
Pajamas. Pajamas. Pajamas.
Declutter your space (it’s hard to relax in a mess!)
Go to a concert
Be still and enjoy nothingness
Smile and Laughter (they really are the best medicine)
*this is a list that can never be complete. Self-care is limitless in its ideas.
This is just a simple jumpstart! Check out my Pinterest board “Self-Care Ideas”
I encourage you to set aside 15-30 minutes each day (whenever it is convenient for your busy schedule) to try some of these self-care ideas! Self-care is personal, so make it your own! Some people practice self-care early in the morning, some practice it on their lunch breaks, others practice at night when the kiddos are sound asleep. Some people have no set time and fit it in when they can; each day is a different experience! I promise you will love taking care of YOU. Self-care is not selfish, self-care allows you to be fully charged; self-care give YOU life again. The only outcome of consistent self-care is that you will become a better person to yourself and to all the demands life has placed on you! Try self-care for 21 days. If you don’t love the results… quit… but I doubt you’ll be disappointed… I know the people around you will take notice of your ability to pour quality life into them! Enjoy your self-care results! Give it a try!