Thursday, June 28, 2018

33 ways to practice self-care

Today, self-care looks like skipping the work outing at the Mud Hens game in this beautiful weather. (You know when the 90-degree heat and hot soup feel good, you are not feeling well.) I was looking forward to attending with my girlfriend and coworkers, eating the free food and having a couple drinks. But sometimes, you have to take care of your health first.

This is an appeal to take care of yourself. Take time for you, without guilt.

Why without guilt? Well, I wish I didn’t have to answer this, but I’ve heard a few of my favorite people grumble at the thought of taking time for themselves. One doesn’t do it and suffers. The other does do it, feels guilty and suffers. I can be the same way.

Practice self-care because you deserve it. Because it’s good for you. Because you’re a better person when you do. You are more present, more energized, more loving – hell, I’m all around nicer (sorry for snapping when I didn’t get my personal time in!) when I take care of myself.

Over the past year, I learned that I need time to myself in order to be happy and productive. I was spending time with people almost 24/7 and I noticed I was sad, lazy, anxious and became agitated easily. I was not happy. I began to worry about my wellbeing and my friendships.

Intuitively, I knew that I needed time to myself. Time to lay in bed and watch TV. Time to walk my dog. Time to go shopping. And if I didn’t feel better the next day, I did it again, without guilt.

Eventually, I started to feel better. Now, I realize for some of you this is second nature. Good for you! But to others, it may be news. Or they may avoid the idea because they don’t want to be selfish.

Honey, it’s not selfish. IT IS NOT SELFISH. Repeat after me. I deserve self-care. I deserve time to myself. I deserve to rejuvenate so that I can take care of myself, the special people in my life and be the productive person I know I can be.

Honestly, if you feel guilty about it the whole time, you’re not going to feel any better. So, might as well put that aside and get on with it.

Self-care can be different on different days and to different people. Sometimes it’s with others, sometimes it’s alone. Sometimes it’s a splurge, sometimes it’s working harder. It’s whatever feels right for you, to improve your mental health and make you feel like your best self again.

Here are some ways I practice self-care:
  1. At lunch time, I drive to the nearest park and eat my lunch while watching people pass. 
  2. Sometimes, I’ll even join them for a walk. 
  3. After work, I’ll take my dog for a walk in my favorite park or neighborhood. 
  4. I sign up for a yoga class and actually attend it. 
  5. I have a glass of wine, or three. 
  6. I get a small, decadent dessert and eat it all by myself. 
  7. I eat Taco Bell. 
  8. I ignore others’ judgement. I like Taco Bell! 
  9. I go swimming and actually put my head under the water. No makeup, no cares. 
  10. I go shopping just for me, for nothing at all in particular. (I do set a spending limit, because, you know, boundaries and budgets.) 
  11. Speaking of money, I set a budget for the whole month. This one isn’t so fun, but it gives me peace of mind knowing how much money I have to spend on extras. 
  12. I say, “no,” to offers from friends to do fun things to protect my personal time and my wallet.
  13. I splurge on a pedicure.
  14. I decide to rock that outfit that I was first thought was a little too extra
  15. I buy fresh flowers for my home. 
  16. I go for a long drive with the music turned up and the windows down. In Toledo, I enjoy any road by the river. 
  17. I call my mom, sister or good friend out of the blue. 
  18. Better yet, I hang out with my mom, sister or good friend out of the blue. 
  19. I take trips to experience new people, places and things.
  20. I have playdates with my niece, nephew and friends’ children. 
  21. I show gratitude to those who care about me. Pro tip: Send thank you cards to show your appreciation.
  22. I wake up early. Ok, I’m not great at this one, but when I do it – look out, world! 
  23. I do one more thing on my “To Do” list for the day, so I can have the satisfaction of crossing it off.
  24. I cut myself some slack when I don’t make it around to everything on my “To Do” list. 
  25. I cut others slack and forgive them when they falter. 
  26. I enjoy watching ridiculous shows like Tina Fey’s "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" on Netflix.
  27. I allow myself to cry. Need help? Watch “Beaches” or “This is Us.”
  28. I avoid social media.
  29. I learn something new by taking a class. Kati Kleimola offers my favorite painting class.
  30. I read personal growth books. I’m currently loving “You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life” by Jen Sincero. 
  31. I meet with a therapist for those tough talks. 
  32. I support other women with kind words and encourage them to take care of themselves, and let them know it’s ok. 
  33. I use a stock photo for an impromptu blog post when I don’t have the will to stage a photo shoot. Shout out to kaboompics for awesome free stock photos.
Tell me, how do you take care of yourself? 

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