Self-care is such an important part of living your best, most authentic, life. It is something that often gets put on the back burner in the hustle and bustle of daily life. We have jobs, families, responsibilities and obligations pulling us in different directions non-stop. It's easy to push your own wants and needs to the side thinking you will get to them when everything else is taken care of. However, when we don't prioritize and make time for our own spiritual/physical/emotional self-care it can negatively impact the other parts of our life and create unwanted stress and chaos. When we make time for our self it positively impacts us in all of our other endeavors. Today we are going to share 15 self-care ideas to help you live your best life.
1. Wake up earlier- Waking up earlier gives you some moments of peace before the chaos of the day gets going. You will feel less rushed and more calm when you wake up even 10 or 15 minutes earlier each day. Waking up even a little bit earlier gives you time to reflect and prepare for the events of the day ahead. You can use this time for writing in a journal, meditation, repeating positive affirmations, or simply have the first sips of coffee while you step outside to enjoy a moment of watching the morning sun rise in the sky. I like to use this time for devotions, prayer and catching up on current events. Whatever you do make sure it is something that helps you feel calm and relaxed, this will help set a positive tone for the rest of your day. They say with children their are 3 times of the day that are most important when connecting with them, and the first few moments after they wake up is one of them. I feel this is true with adults as well, those first few moments after you wake up are important and can really impact how your day will continue. Start your morning with a sense of peace, calm, and happiness that will overflow into the hours to come.
2. Exercise- Incorporating exercise into your routine is a great way to help your mind and body. When you get even a few hours of exercise in your week it helps release endorphins, these are some of the feel good chemicals your brain produces that make you feel happy and content. I love doing yoga, going for walks or hiking, swimming, and Zumba. Those are just a few that I try to do as part of my exercise routines, you should try to find a few things you like and do them a few times a week.
3. Commit random acts of kindness- It is proven that when you do something good for others it makes you feel good. Cultivating an attitude of compassion and putting others first will make you feel good while doing good. Try to find moments throughout your day where you can commit random acts of kindness. These are opportunities that present in our daily life, things like helping an elderly person load groceries in their car, letting someone go in front of you, buying coffee for the person behind you etc. You don't have to cross the ocean to make a difference, sometimes you need only cross the street to visit or help a neighbor, keep your eyes open for opportunities to serve in your community and in your daily life and reap the rewards of kindness.
4. Create a vision board- A vision board is a visualization tool to help you envision and focus on your goals and dreams while you take action steps to achieve them. They should include things that represent your dreams, goals, and ideal life. Gather up some old magazines, pictures, or print some favorite motivational sayings. Cut out pictures from magazines, grab the glue, some markers or colored pencils and create your vision on a poster board or use a cork board. For my vision board I had pictures of family, marriage, work, my dream home, my faith, and things that I wanted to see come to fruition in my life. Place your vision board in a place where you will see it everyday, this will prompt you to visualize your ideal life regularly. This will help activate your subconscious mind and programs your brain to be more aware of the people, resources, and opportunities available to help you reach your goals. This is a wonderful visualization technique that can help you become more motivated to reach your goals.
5. Journal- Take some time to journal your thoughts, feelings, and desires. Try focusing your writing on a specific topic or emotion you are dealing with at the moment. You can write about unresolved issues you have to help you work through them and heal. You can simply write a little bit about your day and what you experienced. Another option is to create a bullet journal which is a combination sketchbook, to-do list, and diary. Look on Pinterest for some great bullet journal ideas. Also you can use journaling prompts, these are questions to get you thinking and give you a starting point for writing. You can find ideas for journaling prompts on Pinterest or do a Google search. It doesn't matter what you write about, it is the act of putting it down on paper that can be very calming, healing, and therapeutic. Your blank page is waiting...
6. Meditate- Meditation is a great tool to help you feel grounded and centered. Meditation can help you learn to live in the moment, to be mindful of the here and now, and let go of any negativity you are holding onto. If your new to meditation you can try using a guided meditation, also, you can checkout this great meditation app called Headspace. Another option is to look for a guided meditation you can attend, the La Crosse Buddhist temple offers a weekly guided meditation, also, you can check out the Franciscan Spirituality Center in La Crosse they have different events throughout the year that focus on health and well being and may have some meditation events available.
7. Commit to an "Amish" hour- The Amish hour consists of cutting off all electronic devices an hour before bed. It is called this because most Amish communities live without the aid of electricity. Disconnecting from electronic devices before bed helps your brain start to produce the chemical melatonin which signals your body that it is time for sleep. The light that is emitted from our electronic devices like t.v. tablets and phones prevents our brain from releasing this chemical which can negatively impact our REM sleep cycle (the deepest and most important sleep cycle) and also make it more difficult for us to fall asleep. Instead of electronics use this time to connect with family, read a book, or do another enjoyable calm activity like knitting or coloring.
8. Time alone- Schedule some time for yourself during the week. Even if it is just 15 minutes, having time alone helps us to reconnect with ourselves and not be overstimulated by everything going on around us and in our lives. Taking some time for your self is a simple way to experience rest and renewal in the middle of our constantly busy and moving lives. It is a good time for some introspection, a time to explore what we are feeling, thinking, and experiencing at this stage of our life. When we take time for our self and acknowledge the truth of our lives in this moment it helps us continue to grow and move forward on our own unique journey.
9. Let go, forgive, and move forward- Sometimes it is hard to let go of things that have hurt us or bothered us in the past, but it is important to seek forgiveness, not for the person that harmed us but for ourselves. When we practices forgiveness it benefits us and makes us more positive. Sometimes letting go of past hurts is a process, it isn't always a one time thought. Sometimes we let go a little bit at a time, until eventually we are healed. Try to intentionally let go and forgive when you can and see how it can impact you positively today.
10. Massage- Massage is a wonderful therapy for healing the mind and body. Massage is deeply relaxing and having a 60 minute massage is the equivalent of getting 7-8 hours of sleep to your body. Not only does it physically help heal your body and the muscles you use constantly for living, massage nourishes the mind and soul. Having a massage helps you to fully relax and just be present in the moment and the feelings of the massage. Make massage a routine part of your health and wellness routine and reap the many benefits in your daily life.
11. Create daily affirmations/mantras for your life- When we create and utilize affirmations in our life it helps us to start to believe the things we are affirming. Sometimes it is hard for us to believe we are worthy or good enough or whatever issue we are hanging onto, when you practice affirmations and mantras it is a way to convince yourself of what you need to know and hear. Here are a few examples- "I believe in myself and my ability to succeed." "I am capable, worthy, and loved." "I am safe and grounded" "I am in the process of becoming the best version of myself."
12. Nature- Take some time to wander outside. It feels good to reconnect with the Earth and creation. It helps to ground you and make you feel a part of this wonderful, beautiful universe. Go explore a new trail when going for a hike, or have a picnic lunch at one of your favorite outdoor spots, take an afternoon to go canoeing, wherever you go outside slow down and take in the beauty all around you.
13. Try something new- When you try new things it can take you out of your comfort zone. This is a good thing, it helps you learn how to handle different challenges and face the unknown. It also helps you realize how capable you are when you achieve something new, or helps you learn how to fail gracefully, comeback and regroup and tackle the next challenge. Maybe set a goal of trying at least 1 new thing a month and journal about your experiences.
14. Live with intention- Live with purpose and meaning, finding the things in life that make you passionate and chase those things. Don't just live letting each day pass you by, strive to grow and blossom into who you were made and designed to be. Find your calling and follow it with reckless abandon.
15. Count your blessings- Each day offers something to be grateful for, find that something and name it. When you name your blessings you realize how much you have to be thankful for. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude makes you more content and helps you feel peaceful. We all have blessings in our life, let's focus on the good and let go of the bad.
Give some or all of these ideas a try in your life and see how they impact you. Even if you just pick a few to implement you should notice a difference in how you feel. Taking time to recharge and de-clutter your mind, body, and spirit makes you feel calmer and more equipped to handle the craziness of day to day life. If you would like to schedule a massage with us to incorporate this therapy into your self care routine please check out our website here-http://brilliantbodywork.com/massage
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