I won’t even try to act like I’m the kind of gal that doesn’t enjoy a pedicure or spa day here and there. I like to be pampered just as much as the next woman—safely, of course, I bring my own nail polish, sugar scrub, and body butter to the salon to avoid the toxic chemicals in traditional products.
The point remains, I will never turn my nose up at a chance to treat myself to what many people consider “self-care”.
And it is—self-care—to give yourself time to break away from the crazy to get a massage, facial, etc. But it’s certainly not the ONLY way to practice self-care… not by a long shot.
To me, self-care is identifying what your body needs, and honoring it enough to make it happen. And it’s not just physical or mental; there’s also social self-care, and practical self-care if you ask me.
Need quiet time to collect your thoughts without the whole house needing you? Try waking up earlier in the morning for YOU time. Or heck, book yourself a one-night STAYcation at a local hotel in town (or at a girlfriend’s if money’s tight). You deserve time to hear yourself think every once in a while.
Have you noticed your energy levels aren’t quite what they used to be? Maybe self-care looks like getting your cortisol levels checked (ahem, like I mentioned in the last blog on Adrenal Health).
Honestly, if I get some quiet time with a strong cup of coffee and a good book, I’m a whole new person. Maybe a grain-free cookie, too. As an introvert, I have to schedule alone time into my life as a way to recharge and recover from the busyness of this life. Otherwise, I tumble headfirst into significant adrenal fatigue, and that’s always a major setback.
So today we’re going to focus on breaking the mold of what people expect self-care to look like so you can create a healthier self-care practice that works for YOU.
Practicing physical self-care means listening to our bodies past the normal creaks and cracks in our knees. You may have noticed abnormal bloating, belly aches or even headaches after eating certain foods. Adjusting your diet to eliminate food sensitivities is one of the biggest forms of self-care there is—even if you don’t want to part with your beloved slice of pizza.
Other ways to show our bodies self-care include:
- Drinking enough water throughout the day
- Stretching in the mornings and at night
- Investing in a stand-up desk to avoid sitting too long
- Committing to 7.5+ hours of sleep a night (and actually going to bed at a decent hour so you get it)
- Not over-exerting yourself when under the weather
- Incorporating greens and proteins into your diet
These may not sound like self-care to you… but your body will thank you for it.
Emotional/ Mental Self-Care
To commit to caring for your body is one thing, but how often do you take time to focus on what your emotional or mental needs are? Especially for women who tend to keep everything buttoned up as we care for others, there’s an unspoken need for letting it all out and dealing with the “messy stuff”. We can even include SPIRITUAL self-care into this—whatever that means for you. For me that means taking time to be with God, pray about whatever’s heavy on my heart, and connecting with friends who love Jesus.
To do this, consider:
- Finding a professional/ therapist to speak to
- Getting outdoors for nature’s healing
- Having a “NO” day that means you get a whole day to rest and reset (Hint, mine is Wednesday!)
- Practicing gratitude
- Sharpening the brain with puzzles and word play games
- Meditating or practicing breath work
- Attending a place of worship
- Diving into a morning devotional
- Taking up a new hobby
When’s the last time you went out to lunch with a girlfriend? Or heck, even your spouse? When was the last time you nurtured relationships with the people in your life? Chances are, it’s been a while. Social self-care is all about taking the time to reinvest in and deepen connections with your loved ones, friends, and even community.
Finally, there’s the care that needs to be focused on the “business side of life”—ie: your finances, goals, household structures. Again, this may not seem like a form of self-care but if these are out of whack… and you experience stress because of it… then isn’t it something to address?
Take some time for practical self-care by:
- Creating a family budget
- Organizing and donating things you no longer need
- Investing in professional or personal development/ coaching
- Having family meetings (hey, maybe over dinner at the family table!)
- Making a list of family and household goals for the year
YES, it can be hard to take time for ourselves—and even harder if it requires leaning on someone else to help get it done—but ultimately, self-care is self-love, friends. Can’t pour from an empty cup, now can you?
Fill yourself… support others… find a self-care routine that honors what YOU need. And heck, if it’s green smoothies and pedicures, go for it, girl! I’ll join you.