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Self-Care...Self-What?

When you hear the words “self-care”, what goes through your mind? I used to think that "self-care" was such a silly term. I imagined women taking luxurious bubble baths while watching the Bachelorette. Is that what you think of too? In reality, self-care is way more than bubble baths. It really is a big deal to your mental, physical, and emotional health and should be something you implement daily.

It's no surprise that self-care is all the rage these days. In fact, I'm really happy that psychologists are shedding light on it. We are so conditioned to be busy, caught up in comparing ourselves on social media, and drowning in our daily schedules that we barely leave any time to ourselves. We end up feeling drained and can even experience lower self-esteem.


Self-care basically equals "self-love" and can promote more positive feelings about yourself and can increase your self-confidence. When you take time out of your day to fill your self-care bucket, you'll also most likely experience improved relationships with those you love and spend time with.

Although there are eight major pillars to self-care, we are going to focus on FOUR: Physical, Emotional, Social, and Spiritual.


Try something for me this week. Choose ONE habit/action from ONE pillar and do it. One new and healthy habit can make all the difference.


Next week, choose something different. You’ll create healthy habits and might even discover some new things about yourself.



PHYSICAL:


1) Sleep ONE extra hour- This might come as a surprise, but you don’t have to watch Netflix every night! Say what? I know, this habit is going to require some discipline. You might need to forego a couple Office episodes, but guess what, it will be worth it! You most likely don’t have the luxury of sleeping in so choosing to go to bed one hour earlier is a MUST! Your overall health is closely connected with how much sleep you get. Don’t believe me? Check out this article for all the juicy details.



2) Stretch/Yoga- Your body craves movement! We are not meant to be sedentary. I get it, you might be too busy to fit in a one-hour yoga session. Good news, even just five minutes of stretching has been proven to be beneficial. Check out my blog post on the four stretches you need to be doing everyday.

These stretches only take a few minutes and can leave your body feeling so good.





3) Eat a healthy breakfast every morning. I’m serious! Commit to this. Also, Diet Coke is not breakfast. Ladies, eat REAL food!


Here are a couple of great (and quick options) for breakfast:


1 Egg with 2 egg whites and ½ cup oatmeal with 5oz blueberries.


Veggie Omelet with Avocado


¾ Cup non-fat Greek Yogurt with 1/3 cup granola


Overnight oats - Here's one of my favorite recipes!





EMOTIONAL:


1) Forgiveness- Are you holding a grudge against someone? When you are experiencing these feelings of anger, take note of how your body feels. Your muscles most likely tense up and you find yourself with a clenched jaw or fists. Holding a grudge against a friend or family member only hurts you. Try this. Write down ALL of your feelings toward this person and/or situation. Get it out! Don’t hold back. Then, take a deep breath. Imagine what it would feel like FOR YOU to forgive that person. Crumple up that piece of paper and either throw it away or burn it. Doing this gives you the opportunity to release your anger once and for all.


2) Compassion- What can you do for someone else? I know, I know, you’re thinking “with what time?” Taking a moment out of your day to reach out to someone, offer your services, or simply smile not only makes them feel good, but makes you feel amazing. Try it! There is an obvious link between helping others and your mental health. When we help others, we allow ourselves to step out of our own thoughts and circumstances that weigh us down and instead help us focus our energies into someone else.

SOCIAL:


1) Purge your negative social media- Do me a favor. Scroll through your Instagram and Facebook feed for a moment. Are there any posts that make you feel bad about yourself or jealous? Easy solution. Unfollow unfollow unfollow. Choose content that speaks to you. Choose to follow people who inspire you and who are authentic to who they are.


2) Ask for help- Ladies, you don’t need to be a hero every day by taking on every single responsibility. Social media can lead us astray. A lot of influencers look like they have it all together and that they do it all on their own. Nope, they sure don’t. They have a team of people who help them and they sure as hell don’t have it all together! Ask.For.Help. Are you drowning in housework, carpools, and soccer practice schedules? Or maybe being swallowed up in a demanding career and you haven’t spent time with friends or family in weeks? Talk to your significant other. Set aside some money and hire a housekeeper. Delegate some work to your co-worker. I don’t know why this is the case, but sometimes we (as women) feel like we need permission before taking the next step. This is me giving you permission to ask for help. Do it. Your life will become significantly more manageable.

3) Find your girl squad- Support systems are everything and are so important for our sanity. Let’s be honest, there’s a different kind of bond between you and your girlfriends. Having friends who truly have your back can set your soul free on your worst days. They make your good days even better. I’m pretty sure you’ll laugh a lot more too. (Hello endorphins!) Here’s your challenge. Quit isolating yourself. Join a book club. Take a cooking class. Join a yoga studio. Find a community of women (or even just 2-3 friends) where you can truly be yourself.







SPIRITUAL:


1) Breathe- Take 10 deep breaths every single day as often as you need to. Try to focus on your breath and nothing else. Want to take this a step further? Take a seated position, cross your legs, and place your hands on your knees (palms up to go “outward” or palms down to go “inward”) Take a deep breath in through your nose, fill up. Pause at the top of your breath. When you can’t hold your breath any more, sigh it out! Exhale every last bit of oxygen out.


I love adding in little mantras as I breathe.


Here are a couple you can try:

Breathe in PEACE, exhale anxiety

Breathe in LOVE, exhale anger

Breathe in POSITIVITY, exhale negativity

Breathe in GRATITUDE, exhale selfishness

2) Connect with nature- This is a huge one for me. Spending time outdoors is so therapeutic. If you don’t have time to go up into the mountains or time to walk along the beach, take a moment to go barefoot in the grass. Even just feeling the blades of grass between your toes and the cold earth below your feet can be tremendously soothing. Mother Earth has an energy all her own. We take this for granted all too often!


3) Spend time alone and create your own sacred space- A lot of people think that spirituality requires you being religious and attending church services. While this can be beneficial for some, it can bring on anxiety for others for various reasons. Find your own sacred space. Spend some time in your own thoughts. Take some time to journal while in your sacred space. While I prefer to use the outdoors and hiking trails as my sacred space, I also have a couple unconventional sacred spaces that I use on the daily.


My shower – I’m not even sure I need to explain this one! Showers are amazing. They are cleansing. They allow you to spend time by yourself lost in your own thoughts. Has anyone else come up with your best ideas while taking a shower?


My car - My car is my safe space. I could literally sit for hours in my car, especially during the winter months when my heater is on full blast. Sometimes I’ll sit and plan my day after I reach my destination or I’ll take a few minutes to write down my thoughts.

Well, there you have it folks! What habit are you going to start today?

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