Self-care is important for us as well as our families or clients.
Self-care is a crucial part of everyone’s mental and physical well-being, but how do you integrate it into your daily routine? If you’re a caregiver for children or elderly relatives or work long hours, you may forget to make it a priority or struggle to find time.
Yet self-care is one of the most important activities anyone can engage in and ultimately helps with all of the other responsibilities that sometimes seem to get in their way. The good news is that it doesn’t have to take a lot of time or resources to integrate it into your lifestyle.
Here are a few ways you can practice self-care in just a few minutes every day:
Put your phone down. Now that so many of us have smartphones, it seems like work, news and other stress-inducing factors never stop. Put your phone down and give yourself 15 minutes a few times a day to disengage from it.
Take a walk. Again, just 15 minutes will help, although more is great. Do not spend that time on the phone or stressing about what isn’t getting done. Just give yourself permission to stop for a little bit and pay attention to your surroundings. If safety concerns stop you from going out, just move in place. Raise your arms and knees; stretch your back and extremities and take deep breaths.
In fact, breathing is one of the best things you can do. Many of us breathe from the top of our chests, never benefiting from deep breaths from the diaphragm that can help increase health and relaxation.
Lay down and engage with your muscles. Start at the bottom of your feet and use your mind to slowly move from one inch of your body all the way around to the top of your head, and then back down the other side. Don’t move your body, just feel each muscle relax.
Eat for health. Most Americans don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables, and eat too much processed food. Eating healthily will help you relax, sleep better and generally improve your total well-being.
Enjoy your pet. Take that 15 minutes we’ve mentioned and play with your pet. They can help you reduce your blood pressure and stress, and help enable you to avoid the endless loop of worry.
Enjoy your environment. Henry Miller once wrote, “I have a theory that the moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself…I see the beauty in the smallest things, and I find wonder in the most ordinary events.” This is one of the secrets to mindfulness.
Mindfulness can be easy. There is a simple mindfulness exercise to help you be in the present moment. Take in the environment around you using all five senses, then name your environment. This can be done in 30 seconds. Name five things you see, four things you hear, three things you feel, two things you smell, and one thing you taste. You’ll be surprised at how it helps you become grounded and aware.
Book your self-care time as part of your daily schedule. Then, don’t let others take that time from you, except in a true emergency. Remember, we are only talking about a short time a few times a day. By protecting your self-care time, you can change your lifestyle to become healthier and happier. Learn to protect and maintain your self-care with the same amount of diligence as you care for others. Your body, mind and spirit will thank you.