Self-Care – What's that?

happiness-priority-quoteSummer has faded and the leaves are just starting to change. It is time to build up our reserves before the cold weather hits. People all around me are already getting sick and I don’t want that to be me this year.

To protect myself this year I have been looking at habits/routines that don’t serve me. One thing I don’t seem to take enough time for is self-care. We are all busy and that makes it most important to stay healthy. It is time to spend a little time on ourselves. Don’t you agree?

Think about your answers to these questions to determine if you could use a bit more self-care time.

  1. Do you feel like you “run” all day long without taking any time for yourself?
  2. How many hours of sleep did you get last night? (Less than 7?)
  3. When was the last time you took longer than 10 minutes to eat lunch?
  4. When was the last time you were active on purpose? (Took a walk, exercised, played a sport, etc.)
  5. Do you find yourself short on patience, or easily frustrated?

Women are built for nurturing –putting others first and their selves last. With the pace of life today it is easy to see how our reserves can get depleted when we give and give to others and put off taking care of ourselves. Reminds me of the airplane reminder where they caution you to “put your own oxygen mask on first” before helping others.

What do you need to feel like you have taken care of yourself? Can you use a routine or a habit that you already have to add some self-care time to? Maybe start with 15-20 minutes and build from there until you have a new habit that makes you feel like you have nurtured yourself. Some ideas might be, writing in a journal, meditation, taking time to read, gardening, sipping a cup of your favorite tea or soaking in a hot tub.

Or would you prefer a “once and done treat” like a facial, massage or mani/pedi? How about a walk in nature? Studies have shown that walking in nature actually reduces cortisol levels in the body. Cortisol is the stress hormone that affects your health in a number of ways. A walk in nature can also help creative thinking and problem solving. It has been shown to have a positive effect on depression and is great exercise too. In a study done in 2009, a walk in nature was shown to improve the attention span of children with ADHD. What will you do for yourself today?

The best thing we can do for our loved ones is to take care of ourselves. Try different things until you find what works for you and it can be different things each day or each week. The key is to make the time and to make taking the time for self-care a habit. I’d love to hear what you’re doing on my Facebook page this month so please share your thoughts there.