10 Self-Care Practices for Optimal Health
Consistent self-care is vital to your physical and emotional well-being. All too often we forget to engage in the things that bring us joy, peace, laughter, or calm. Life gets busy and we make us excuses like, "I'm too tired", or "I have to pick up the kids" and our self-care gets pushed to the side again and again. It's a slippery slope to poor eating, sleeping, and relational patterns, so here are a few suggestions to help you establish a self-care plan, or get back on track.
1: Take a Bath. After the kids are in bed, and your hubby is snoring, draw a bath with some essential oils. Light a candle, pour in some bubble bath, and relax. It doesn't have to be for long; even 10 minutes can be enough to calm your nervous system and mind.
2: Read a Book. Have you been meaning to read that book on your bedside table for months now, but haven't gotten around to it? Even reading just a few pages can let you escape into another reality and lull you into relaxation and maybe even sleep! Or at lease a nap.
3: Meditate. Meditation has boundless benefits. From better emotional regulation to improved sleep, meditation can change you life in just a few minutes at day. Many people are intimidated just by the thought of meditation, but once you learn a few tools to help you stay in the moment, the practice feels incredible. There are a few Apps out there to help you along the way if you get stuck. Try Headspace, or Oprah and Deepak Chopra's Meditation series online.
4: Hit the Gym. Get those endorphins going and increase your serotonin! Exercise releases much wanted neurochemicals that keep us feeling happy, balanced and attuned to our life. It's also great for the heart and brain! Start with 15 or 20 minutes and increase as you feel more confident.
5: Go Outside. Whether you take a walk around the block, go for a run, take a boat ride or simply stop to smell the roses, being in nature is one of the best ways to de-stress.
6: Enjoy a Favourite Meal. Let food be thy medicine. Sometimes all it takes to feel a bit better is to eat something we love. For me, it's eggs benedict and pancakes.
7: Do Yoga. Similar to meditation, yoga is a well-spring of goodness for your brain and body. Yoga teaches us to tolerate discomfort and eventually find peace with it. This directly translates to everyday life. If you can't make it to a yoga class, learn a sun salutation or a few simple poses to open your heart and stretch out your body.
8: Spend Time with a Friend. This might seem too easy, but when we're not feeling so great, we tend to turtle and isolate. Reach out to a good friend, someone you trust, and grab a coffee or lunch and chat. Connecting with the people we love feels good.
9: Listen to Music. Turn on your favourite band and float away for a while. Music can be relaxing or energizing, whichever way you look at it. Either way, it can help boost our mood and perspective.
10: Have (safe) Sex. Like exercise, sex releases happy brain chemicals. Maybe you try something new with your partner, or get back in the saddle with your longtime spouse. Orgasms elicit great relaxation and even act as a pain reliever.
Try to commit to one self-care act a day. After a week, check in and see if you notice a difference in how you feel.