According to information adapted from RAINN.org, UK Violence Intervention and Prevention Program, self-care includes “any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental, and emotional health.” The best self-care routine is consistent, not expensive.
We hear a lot about meditating, deep breathing, and journaling for self-care, but we don’t always immediately think about what we can do for physical self-care. Physical self-care involves actions we must take everyday (eating and sleeping), so if we give those actions a little extra thought, we can make sure we are truly taking care of ourselves. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Food: eat regularly, even when you have a full, busy schedule. One self-care goal is to eat something, even a small amount, for each meal. Don’t let a busy day force you into eating something that you know isn’t going to truly feed you in a positive way, just because you don’t have a lot of time. Plan ahead by taking along some fruit &/or nuts to get you through the day without a stop at a fast food restaurant or convenience store.
Exercise: a quick walk at lunch time or after work can be calming after a stressful day or put a smile on your face when you’re feeling down. Set a goal of walking at least two or three times a week and then put those “appointments” into your schedule and you will feel a positive difference.
Sleep: the amount of sleep needed to feel rested is different for everyone. Pay attention to what your body is telling you to determine how much sleep is enough. Look at your bedroom with a critical eye, is the room conducive to solid, restful sleep? If not, what can you do to create an environment that helps you get the sleep you need? Perhaps closing the blinds at night to shut out outside lights, turning off all electronics at least one hour before bedtime, and going to bed at a regular time each night are self-care goals you can work towards.
None of those suggestions will cost additional money. We have to eat, so why not make every effort to make positive food choices? Taking a walk doesn’t mean you have to have a gym membership. Walking outside and enjoying the flowers and the birds while clearing your mind is free. Adjusting your night-time schedule and bedroom environment costs nothing, but can reap huge benefits. Remember, self-care can be free, but neglecting yourself is very expensive.
“Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting.”
~ William Shakespeare, Henry V.
(Some information adapted from RAINN.org, UK Violence Intervention and Prevention Program)