We are almost to the holiday season and well on our way to 2022! I am not quite sure where the time has gone, but I am appreciative that some things are opening up more. The ability to get together with family and friends alone, has been a huge mental relief! In some ways, 2020 was challenging with the ever-changing CDC protocols but also, I appreciated the ability to slow down and stay home with my family for a while. It was easier to prioritize quality time spent together, versus the normal hustle and bustle of normal (pre-covid days) hectic schedules. With that said, my self-care has definitely taken a hit with going out more and getting together with friends/family on the weekends. As a wife and mother of two rambunctious little boys, time to myself is fairly non-existent.
My self-care, like much of my life, is always something I strive to improve. There are days I feel more stressed than others, and most times I take a step back and consider when is the last time I focused on my self-care? Often, the days leading up to the more stressed-out days, there has been minimal-if any, self-care. There’s no one-size-fits-all self-care, but here are some things I try to utilize that I feel have helped me get back to “status-quo”.
Keeping Things Fresh
I am a classic, introverted extrovert. I am extroverted when I need to be, but definitely most comfortable at home, with my family. I can come alive at social events but then definitely need some time to recharge. When my self-care is optimum, it’s a lot easier to make plans or even, dare I say, a spontaneous plan! Recently, my husband had some expiring hotel and airline points, and we decided to utilize it with our first post-covid vacation to Maui, Hawaii. While the thought of finally traveling again excited me, the planning, packing, and making arrangements at work and home felt daunting. The experience of traveling somewhere new, with new food and drinks, and culture, was more than worth the stress of planning etc.
It doesn’t need to always be a spontaneous trip to a tropical island. Sometimes I feel just trying a new recipe for dinner, or going out to eat to a new restaurant, can have similar effects. It’s common to get comfortable in the everyday monotony. Think about it. You wake up, have the same caffeinated beverage, get ready for work, drive the same route, and start your daily work routines. Afterwards, you drive the same route home, eat a regularly rotated dinner menu option, clean the kitchen, bed time routine. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Consider this: What if one day, you took a different route to work, or tried a new morning beverage, utilized a new dinner option you “pinned” months ago, or left the dishes in the sink to have more time to snuggle up to a good book or spend more time with the kids. The dishes will always be there, but those snuggles won’t!
Learn When To Say ‘No’ & ‘Yes’
Sounds simple, but the saying “You can’t pour from an empty glass” comes to mind when considering self-care. At HSC we talk a lot about reviewing our ecomaps. Ecomaps are great tools that help us show the personal and social relationships of an individual with their environment. Our ecomaps are constantly changing! It is vital to consider what we have going on in our lives, making careful considerations and accessing whether or not going to the party, or volunteering to bring something to the bake sale, is something we are physically and mentally able to do. There’s always a social obligation to attend and RSVP to every event that comes up, but I promise, if you’re not filling up to it or know that there’s a lot going on in your personal life, you can say “no thank you”. Some people thrive on a jam-packed schedule. I’m somewhere in-between. That introverted extrovert comes to play here- I like to organize and pre-plan my schedule but I am cognizant of my limitations and don’t try to jam pack every day and hour. Sometimes it’s helpful to plan downtime, or have a regular booked time at your salon. Don’t underestimate the power of a fresh pedicure or haircut!
Movement Is Key
Often times, the simple solution to stress is exercise! While this could mean a good HIT class at your local gym, or a job around the neighborhood, it could also mean walking your dogs or going outside to water your garden. In a digital world, we spend most of our day behind a screen -Zoom calls, emails, paying bills, social media, the list goes on and on! Even for our kiddos, sometimes they just need a moment to get their wiggles out. I have found some great kid YouTube accounts that have many kid-friendly yoga routines. At HSC, we take turns bringing our puppy friends to work, which gives us a furry little reminder to take breaks and walk them outside throughout our work day.
I hope some of these small, but impactful, tips can help you achieve some self-care. Self-care doesn’t always have to be something formal like going to the gym, or getting your nails done. It could be finding 5 minutes to do some deep breathing exercises or cancelling going to an event because its been one of those weeks you just need to be home. Be sure to find ways to recharge yourself! I challenge you to incorporate one of these methods in the next week! What do you have to lose?