This week’s blog piggy backs off our topic last week regarding the importance of self care, and managing stress. Let’s look at it this way, if you don’t take time to care for yourself, your ability to help others is in jeopardy. When you’re stressed out, how efficient are you at work? Does the chance of you snapping at someone you love increase? For me the answers are “not at all”, and “yup”.
Self-care strategies that help metabolize stress will be different for everyone, a technique or activity that does the trick for me may not work at all for you. Spending the time trying out different activities, and truly giving each one the old college try is the key. While you’re putting together a list of techniques that work for you, look for self-care, stress reducing activities or techniques that fit into a few different categories: an activity you can do multiple times per day, per week, per month, per year. Practicing self-care needs to be high on our list of priorities. I find it helpful to schedule my self-care in, writing when I will do an activity on my calendar and treating it like any other appointment. Here is a list of activities that I use that fit into each of these categories
Every Day stress fighters
o You can find free guided medication’s online, like this one on youtube. Meditation calms your heart rate and breathing, refocuses your mind and reduces muscle tension
Yoga poses for the office
o Stretch it out! Quick, simple yoga poses like these help rid your body of tension, promoting over all calm and refocus. Put together your own sequence of stretches to help reduce tension where your body feels it most.
o In the car, in the shower, in your backyard…where ever. Pick any song that gives you the boost you’re looking for and belt it out.
Putting yourself 1st
o I would argue this is the # 1 way to practice healthy self-care. Making yourself a priority is key to keeping stress levels low and energy high (such important things during these winter months) Putting yourself first means saying no, delegating tasks, and making your self-care a part of your everyday routine.
Weekly stress fighters
o Engage in some sort of physical activity (preferably) a few times per week. Make sure you pick an activity that you enjoy and will do, not something you will dread. Going for a walk or jumping rope are low cost examples. You can also try a spin class (my fav: CycleBar) or Yoga (my fav: Namaste Yoga)
o After you begin to practice mindfulness, it will astound you how on “auto pilot” we do most activities. Find the basic premise here
o Swing on a swing set, draw with sidewalk chalk, color in a coloring book, put together a puzzle, play with Playdough… These might seem childish, and that’s the point. Relax, have fun, one of these activities is bound to make you smile.
Monthly stress fighters
o One day a month schedule a few activities that you love to spend time doing. Reading, biking, bird watching, batting cages, lunch with friends etc. Whether you prefer activities with others or something solitary, plan a few things ahead of time and schedule them in. Kind of like your very own personal day.
Yearly stress fighters
o Helping others does wonders for us. Volunteering helps combat depression and stress and helps boost self-confidence. There are tons of places to volunteer from soup kitchens to kid’s art classes. Do a basic google search for a topic that interests you and see what you can find.