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I recently had a conversation with my grandma (one of the wisest and most amazing people I know). And while we were saying goodbye to end the phone call, she said something that stuck with me. She said, ‘Take care of yourself and do something for your health.’ As we all know grandmas have the ability to say the most extraordinary things completely out of the blue and nobody knows where it came from. Or why that is exactly the right thing to say in that moment. Grandmas are simply just very wise and amazing women. 🙂
Anyway, that got me thinking. What does taking care of myself even mean? What does it really mean to do good by yourself and practice self care? I mean, we are living in times of thousands of vegan recipes. In times of people wanting to decelerate their lives from the ever-growing need for more. Where it is just about climbing higher and wider creating more speed, stress, and a lot more anxiety.
But we also live in times of people seeking peace and quiet, a break from the fast-paced hassles of everyday life. People realize that material success is not at the center of their happiness anymore. So in the midst of our daily struggles:
What does self care really mean for us?
Is it doing sequences of mindful meditations, reading self-help books and articles en masse, or constantly practicing positive thinking?
Those things are all super helpful, but they also take up time, self-discipline, and effort. And let’s face it: When we come home from a tough day at work, when we just finished an eight-hour or double shift at a physically demanding job, do we really have the strength to get our mind going for another round of conscious living?
I believe taking care of ourselves can be much simpler than that. Self Care can bemade way easier. Looking after yourself should not be hard. If you try to manage your family life, your work, and your home all at once, it should not be part of all the other chores that keep piling up.
It should be a rewarding and relaxing experience that you can enjoy. It should feel like a mini vacation between that huge basket of dirty laundry, paying your bills, raising your kids, and your every day routine at work.
That’s why I want to give you a list of really simple and easy tips of how to practice self care doing all those small things that might sometimes be overlooked, but work wonders if you approach them with the right mindset. Which is: ‘I am giving myself a treat right now. I’m treating myself to something good.” :
Take a nice hot bath
The next time you think about taking a bath, why don’t you make it a special experience for yourself? Put up some candles, turn on nice and relaxing music that you enjoy, give yourself a wonderful smelling bubble bath, and then shut everything else out. This is a moment just for you and for you only. Give yourself the space and the time that you need. And remember: Time and space don’t just happen to be there, you have to claim them for yourself.
Have a cup of tea
I am a huge tea lover. For me having a cup of hot tea is a coping mechanism. Every time I get upset or sad, every time I have to deal with an emotional crises or an emotional challenging situation that throws me off track, every time I feel unbalanced – I feel the need to make myself a cup of tea. This is my self care go to. It has such a soothing and calming effect on me. It grounds me in a way that makes me feel secure and gives me a break from whatever is unsettling me. I often intentionally take a moment to myself in those situations to collect myself. Feeling the hot liquid running down my throat and warming me from the inside gives me a great deal of comfort. This ritual creates a moment to breathe and pause.
Listen to that one song that always makes you feel good about yourself
We all have one or two songs that make us feel good every time it is on. Sometimes new songs are added and sometimes those ‘feel good songs’ change, but they all have the same purpose. They get us out of the hole we dug for ourselves while feeling sad, depressed, or melancholic. It is easy to fall into that hole of self-pity, and complain about all the things that go wrong in our lives at that point. That’s why it is important to make the conscious decision to get yourself out of that pit and move on.
Make a conscious decision to practice self care in that moment. Sometimes it is, of course, necessary to allow even those feelings to be. No feelings should be repressed or pushed away. Everyting has its own place to be. But after that, listening to music that makes us feel good, that encourages us to dance, and which touches us positively on a deeper level empowers us to take charge again.
Take a moment to bathe in the sunshine
This is especially helpful during those gray and dark winter months. And yes, self care can be as simple and easy as that. Sunshine triggers the production of Vitamin D in our skin. Vitamin D is an important vitamin responsible for maintaining a healthy immune system, improves resistance against certain diseases and supports growth and development (especially of bones and teeth). It also reduces depression and feelings of anxiety. A bit of sunshine can therefore have a major impact on your mood regulation. The next time you feel down, try to take a moment to close your eyes, lift your face towards the sunshine and enjoy a few seconds of warm light on your skin.
Close your eyes and just breathe
Sometimes taking care of ourselves simply means to just take a moment to pause. To close your eyes and just breathe in deeply for a couple of seconds. I love to especially focus on my breathing for five to ten seconds when I’m confronted with a challenging situation, or right before I have to take on a task which makes me nervous or self-conscious. I like to slowly breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth and tell myself something encouraging (depending on the situation). It might be a simple sentence like ‘you can do this.”, or maybe I need to take a quick break to get myself out of a deteriorating conversation to reset my mind and energy, so it’s not going to get any worse. Breathing calmly for a moment will center your feelings and works as a stress-reducing mechanism.
Take a walk outside
Fresh air and taking a break from everything that makes you upset gives you a chance to reset your thoughts and feelings. I don’t know about you, but I always feel that being surrounded by nature grounds me in a way that nothing else can. It connects us with our roots and brings us closer to the essence of our character. I just love to take hikes! It is not only an exercise for my body, but it also helps me think. It is bone-deep refreshing, and above all, it has a very soothing and calming effect. Put this on your got-to self care list and I promise you’ll feel better immediately after doing this exercise. 🙂
Pick or buy a nice bouquet
From an interior decorating perspective cut flowers arranged in a nice bouquet bring a feeling of liveliness to a room. Flowers are not only pretty to look at, they also are important contributors to decorating and surrounding yourself with a sense of vitality and aliveness. Additionally, cut flowers can be very mood-lifting. They bring a little healthy part of nature into your house.
Give a rose to yourself
Roses are the most well-known symbol of love. They come in different colors which all represent a different aspect of love. Red stands for passion, whereas rose symbolizes tenderness, gentle beauty and delicate fragility. And white is the color of innocence and faithfulness. But why do you always have to wait for someone to give one to you? You can treat yourself to a rose. For me, this is one of the most incredible effective self care experiences. You can give a rose to yourself because you love yourself. Because you treasure yourself. Because you like yourself. Because you yourself acknowledge the tender and warm side of your being. Because you yourself are a beautiful rose (!)
What are the special treats you indulge in? What are small and tiny things you do for yourself that make you feel good about who you are? What do you do to practice self care? You can leave a comment if you feel like sharing. I would love to hear your experiences!