What is all this talk about Self-Care?

By: Amy Anderson

It seems like one of the latest buzz words in health and wellness, like kale chips and smoothie bowls.  But unlike kale chips and smoothie bowls, self-care is an essential part of living a healthy life.  So when you hear that term what is the first thing that comes to mind?  Treating yourself to a mani-pedi?  A nice massage to de-stress?  While those are perfectly good ways to unwind and care for yourself, self-care is really so much more than that.  And it doesn't have to mean dropping a bunch of cash at a salon or spa.  So what exactly is it all about?

Self-care is meeting the needs that you have whether it's physical, emotional or spiritual to keep yourself balanced, feeling good and healthy.  When you're feeling off in some way, or not well, or not like yourself, it's important to pay attention to those feelings and try to recognize what this issue is.  Am I sad?  Am I coming down with a cold?  Am I anxious?  Am I overwhelmed?  Am I achy or stiff?  What ever the feels are that don't feel right, you want to recognize it and remedy it as soon as your busy life allows.

So if you feel like you'res coming down with a cold, take a nap or have a warm mug of soup.  Take some vitamins or say no to what ever comes up that evening. 

If you feel stiff or low energy, try making time to stretch, do yoga or get a good workout in if that's what your body is craving.

If you're feeling stressed, overwhelmed or anxious, figure out what affords you the opposite of those feelings.  This is different for everyone, so just know, there is no right or wrong answer.  I myself was recently having a rough couple of days.  I was all tapped out mentally from so many hours on the computer (starting a membership site is a lot of work!) and I was feeling a little down and anxious due to the never ending news cycle.  At least that is what I felt was the cause of the yucky feels I was having so I decided to not waste another minute and take action and kick that shit to the curb.

I had some time before I had to deal with dinner so I turned off the outside world (no phone, no T.V., no, social media or anything else and headed up to my office (also known as the art room).  I put on some Grateful Dead (always makes me feel good) and opened a fresh canvas and got a bunch of paints and supplies and and just had at it.  I didn't have anything particular in mind to create, I just made sure I used colors that would lift me up and make me happy.  I was able to spend probably close to two hours (with a brief disruption to drop the car off at the tire store in between), with the door shut.  Just me, and the Dead and my paint.  

I can't even tell you how much better I felt after that.  It was a really good reminder that sometimes you have to turn off the news.  Sometimes you have to not worry about writing that next piece for your website, or creating that next course.  Sometimes you have to say sorry kids, I can't give you a ride right now (unless it's on the way to the tire store that is going to close soon) because I'm busy working on me.

Being healthy, and living a healthy lifestyle is not just about hitting the gym and eating all of your veggies.  Of course a healthy, balanced diet and regular exercise are important but so is keeping your stress levels down, being happy with yourself, having peace, having energy to get through the day, having dreams to shoot for and people to lean on.  It's important to listen to your body and give it what it needs.  A nap in a hammock, a soak in the tub, a funny movie, a really good book, what ever works for you.  Make time for it, make time for you.  It all matters.

 

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