Self Care

Self Care seems to be a current buzz word, but do we know what it means? What are the ways you take care of your own needs? Many people recommend bubble baths, walks in the woods, aromatherapy…

These are all great suggestions. What are your needs? Are you a person who needs to be around others to be energized? Maybe, you are an introvert who needs some alone time to recharge. What can you add to your life that helps you to thrive?

What are you putting into your thought life? There is an old saying I heard somewhere about garbage in and garbage out. As harsh as it sounds, I think there is some validity to it. Are you watching and listening to things that are empowering, uplifting, motivating and/or expanding your world or spiritual sponge? Are you someone who finds memes that seem funny but are maybe a bit mean-spirited or watches/reads mostly violent information? We are shaped by what we choose to put into our minds, both positive and negative. What would happen if you spend a week without putting anything negative into your brain or allowing negativity out of your mouth? This may sound impossible, but if you shoot for the moon and land among the stars (I have no idea who coined this phrase but it wasn’t me), what could your life be like?

Is your music life filled with rage/hatred or destructive messages? For those of us who are musically inclined, what is a song or playlist you might play if you wanted to start your day motivated and positive? Have you ever thought about that? What songs pump you up, give you joy and make you want to move, dance or work out? Personally, I love to wake up, get in my car and fill my mornings with Bethel music, usually Kim Walker-Smith. That’s what gets me in the best frame of mind in the morning. I know it, and I know the difference when I instead start my day with music that I may identify with now or in the past, but isn’t helpful. I’m not saying you should listen to my playlist. Maybe your playlist includes songs like “Lowrider,” “Jump,” “Let it be,” “Walking on Sunshine,” “I am Beautiful” “Titanium,” “You’ve got a friend,” “Fly me to the moon,” some SuperChik or even a rousing morning of Disney Favorites like “Let it go.” What’s your morning motivator?

Books, Videos, TV and Movies. What have you been watching and reading? You can make a big difference in your life when spending your time watching positive, motivating, inspirational speakers, uplifting films rather than scary movies, or things that glorify negativity, relational violence, suicidality and drama. These things are portrayed as typical and just part of life, and that has an effect on us. Ever get interested in history? I’m not saying that you should never watch movies, videos or TV shows that are just for fun. We all need to laugh and sometimes those that start out looking negative have plot twists and endings which show courage to persevere, and how the person did that. Find things that align with your values and fill up your cup.

Okay so let’s talk about relaxation. Are you able to be present and “in the moment” when you need to be? Do you know how to get rid of stress, anxiety and let things go at the end of the day? Can you leave work at the office and disconnect before getting home? Did you know that just a few minutes of mindful relaxation can be as de-stressing and restful as taking a 20 minute nap? It does not replace sleep, but is valuable for everyone, especially those who live and work with a great deal of stress in their lives and walk around exhausted. Mindfulness can help you to focus in relationships, communication, work, competition and play. What is mindfulness? It’s when you shut the world out, focus your attention to your thoughts, inner world or goal. This can be done through relaxation exercises such as taking a mini mental vacation, focusing on deep breathing, practicing yoga or Huna, focusing on a calming, relaxing or motivating word or phrase to focus on for your life. Prayer is also a form of mindfulness. Did you know that studies show that those who follow their own spiritual beliefs and practices show decreases in anxiety, depression and increase in sense of well-being?

Time/Life management. Use a schedule and possibly a list maker. Some suggestions are a planner, or a phone app or two. Some suggested apps are: Habitica’s Habit RPG, Google Calendar, iCalendar, Outlook Calendar, Cozi or Wunderlist. You don’t need them all. Find out what works for you and take the time to use it. It may seem like it takes too much time in the beginning but once used to it, these tools can save time, energy and help us to say no when we need to. This can help you to create and maintain healthy boundaries. Have you heard the saying those who fail to plan, plan to fail? Think about it, maybe in more positive terms. How about this as food for thought? Those who have a master plan, master their plan. I know, it doesn’t sound quite as catchy, but it does put it in terms our brains can process and hold onto. More on that later 🙂

When was the last time you played? Play has all sorts of meanings, and can be surprisingly valuable. Whether you surf, paddle board, hike, play an instrument, sing, play a team sport, or are into board games. Play can be alone such as a game on your phone, or with others. Games like Candy Crush, Fishdom and Tetris have been shown to reduce anxiety. Believe it or not, there is actually a study that shows that the game Dark Souls is shown to reduce depressed mood. I will tell you that the person I know that plays Dark Souls says it’s quite challenging. Not my cup of tea, but maybe yours. Do spend time playing well with others. Get involved, have fun, interact, enjoy life. Play.

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