Self-Care 101 Every. Damn. Day.
"I wish I could do this stuff but I just don't have time."
"That sounds incredible but I have other more important things to do."
"I'd love that but I'll get by with something quicker."
Self-care basics are so incredibly important. Taking time for yourself decreases stress, improves your mood and energy, heightens mind clarity and creativity, increases patience and empathy, and a great number of other good things. Whether you scroll through Pinterest and daydream of rose petals and bath bombs, a big mug of tea and a chunky knit blanket, or a night under the stars, I'm seeing way too often all desire and no action.
That needs to end. Now.
Listen to me: you are worth a certain amount of time EVERY day to do something for yourself. 20 minutes or 2 hours. Or more!
There's one thing you need to remember when you try to stop prioritizing yourself as number one - you are the common factor in everything else in your life, so if you don't refill your cup daily, you don't have as much to give to all of these other important pieces of your life.
That's right. You need to be full for your kids. Your job. Your relationship. Your new company. Your hobbies. Your community. Your friends. Your family. How can you possibly do that without giving yourself time to maintain a good, solid foundation? You can't!
So here are the four key areas of self-care basics. Try to fit them all in every day, but play around with them and try new things that excite you and maybe fill your cup a little fuller than just skimming through the basics.
Take 5 minutes, 20 minutes, an hour or more. Meditation and focusing in on the breath is a huge scientific focus right now, proving again and again to offer benefits to the heart, blood pressure, memory, stress and anxiety, depression and mental clarity to name a few.
See if you can find a meditation group or workshop, find guided meditations online (or use this app - totally my favorite) or take a mindful walk, beginning with a focus on the breath and then extending awareness to each of the senses.
You can also play with enhancing your practice with essential oils, music, crystals or mala beads and see how they might improve your experience.
Our bodies were made to move. Fitting exercise into your day helps your heart, your energy, slows down aging, and increases your mood while decreasing anxiety.
I'm low impact girl. I do some moderate lifting at the gym to keep my strength up for some of the more intense yoga poses that I practice, but 20 minutes of yoga or a brisk walk are all you need. If you want to branch out, check out local fitness classes (this app helps you find fun new ones and oftentimes you can find killer new student specials!), invest in some weights to try out the 10 minute workout you've been eying on Pinterest, or check out local gym specials and see if you can find one with a community that suits you! Many gyms offer complimentary passes to try free before you join.
You are what you eat - do you want to be fresh and clean, or processed and made up of cheap, mysterious fillers? Take the time to make yourself something that will truly fuel you. If you have to prep some stuff once a week, that's okay! I always prep cashew cheese, cashew sour cream, sauces and sometimes beans so that they're easily ready to throw together during the week. It's as quick as a microwave meal but way better for me.
Take time to experiment, too! It's a rule in our house that we try something new every week. I find inspiration on Pinterest and in my new favorite app. I try new foods that I've never had and new combinations I've never thought of. By nourishing my body with natural, whole foods is how I've come as far as realistically transitioning into a vegan diet. A few years ago I never thought eating vegan would EVER work for me! I used to go to Buffalo Wild Wings every week, now I opt for my own lentil noodle soup and buffalo french fries! The difference how it makes me feel (mentally and physically!) is insane. Listen to your body and what it needs, you’ll start noticing the healthy changes you make instinctively, too!
Love is broad but so important! Showing acts of love and kindness with no expectation for reciprocity is so fulfilling. Whether it’s paying for the person behind you at the Starbucks drive-thru, loading the dishwasher for your significant other or complimenting the cashier at Whole Foods. Just spread some love! We all share energy through vibrations, so spreading positive energy is making the world that much more peaceful and loving.
Don’t forget about showing yourself some love, too! Instead of opting for your same quick shower, recreate the gorgeous bath you see on Pinterest with the relaxing essential oils, rose petals and vanilla candles. Start reading that book you’ve been wanting to start with a chunky blanket in your favorite chair or at your favorite local coffee shop. Binge on your favorite show on Netflix with a glass of wine. Whatever you need to do, remind yourself that you’re a pretty spectacular person and you deserve some self-pampering, too!
None of this is luxury - it’s all necessary! Try to fit in a little bit of it every day, and splurge whenever possible in each area. The best part is you don’t even need to spend tons of money or go to crazy spas or whatever. You can totally make do with what you have, and even maybe be a little bit more proud of the outcome for being so resourceful!
It’s time to stop making self-care basics low priority. Your cup deserves (and NEEDS) to be filled in order to be the best possible version of yourself for everything else in your life! So put yourself first and take notice of how much it benefits every other piece of your day.