Updated: Oct 9, 2020
Women are caregivers by nature, and yet we rarely include ourselves on our kindness to-do list. But the truth is, putting ourselves second serves no one. It can lead to poor health, low productivity, and burnout. Self-care is essential for our overall well-being. In fact, not looking after ourselves can actually be irresponsible: Our health impacts how we feel and how we connect with others, as well as the world around us. Here are the reasons you should kick off a self-care practice today- and simple strategies to get you started.
1) Your day will improve because you choose to focus on only what you can control
When there's just so much going on that your brain can't seem to keep track of anything, it could enhance your anxiety levels. Worse, operating from a perpetual state of anxiety could lead to careless mistakes.
Taking time away from the madness can help you regroup and resharpen your focus. An invigorating day (or afternoon, hour, or weekend) of all play and no work can help you reboot.
Here are a list of self care activities you can do to calm and ease your mind and body:
Watch a funny movie
Spend time with family
Read a book
Do a fun activity that makes you feel good about yourself like drawing or coloring
Go outside with a cup of your favorite beverage and just breathe.
Put your phone on 'do not disturb' and take a bath.
Pray and/or practice spirituality
Indulge in a feel good treat
Have a glass of wine... or five.
Journal what you're currently feeling and how you want to feel
Make a brain dump to get all the thoughts out of your head and onto paper
Write down all the things that bring you joy
Write down a list of things you can control vs what you can't
Take a nap when your child naps.. because lack of sleep isn't good for anyone
Do a quick 5 minute declutter to clear your surroundings and your mind
Call or text a friend/family member
Listen to your favorite feel-good music
Watch a sermon or personal development youtube video
Listen to your favorite podcast or audiobook while doing a mundane task. I like to do this when doing laundry because who likes laundry anyways? I've never met a person who does. Kudos to them, though.
2) Your relationships will get stronger - because without self care, you can't pour from an empty cup
You are one half of every relationship you're in, and if you feel spent, cranky, uncomfortable in your skin, it's hard to be present and available for others. Have you ever said (or thought) "Just leave me alone," or snapped at your partner saying something super passive-aggressive because you're depleted and stressed out? I've been there plenty of times. Give yourself grace. Regroup your unwanted feelings by bringing awareness that you can in turn react better.
How can we possibly deepen our relationships when we're so down on number one?
3) Tuning into the needs of your mind and body reduces anxiety
When you are consumed by anxiety, your body then responds to your mind. There's a fight or flight method that we either avoid or we welcome the pain and we then focus on ways to remedy it. Our gut doesn't lie, kind of like when Shakira sings "hips don't lie." But really, you will find that you will feel better when you focus on ways to ease your mind and body.
For me, when I do yoga poses - which as a newbie to this whole thing, I've learned to slow down and tune in to my body and mind. Just taking 5 minutes of stretching and doing yoga poses will leave you feeling more relaxed and reduces your heart rate from skyrocketing when you're stressed.
Whenever you feel stressed and anxious, ask yourself how you want to feel. What would bring you joy? What are ways I can make myself feel better in a 5 minute span?
Your muscles and mind are at ease when you do slow down and practice yoga. It truly feels like a breath of fresh air - for your mind and body! But let me tell ya, when you breathe deeply and become aware of your body's movement - you don't think about what is getting you down. Unless you're downward dogging! Pun intended 😉
Something important to note:
If you've seen lotus flowers and always think of yoga - that is because the lotus flower is a traditional yoga symbol and has been used by poets to inspire strength in adversity, seeking beauty in all things, and continuous progression towards enlightenment. The Buddhist lotus flower symbolizes the mud the flower grows in. The mud is a symbol of the unpleasant state of our human lives. Practicing yoga helps us work through mental and physical barriers to seek clarity and peace.
Here are a few of my favorite self-care apps I like to use to tune into my mind and body, practice meditation, do yoga, and track my cycle
Moody Month | sync your cycle with the weather and moon
Simple Habit | Download to receive two weeks of premium meditations for free
Shine Text | Daily meditations and a supportive community