Summer is the season for self-care!
Can you believe it’s already August? Summer days are flying by and August is usually the time when the busyness of summer starts to catch-up to you. Endless activities, barbeques, and family vacations are super fun, but can take a lot out of you. The warm weather inspires us to do more, and after 2+ years of pandemic restrictions a lot of people are planning trips to make up for lost time. While these activities and vacations are great, don’t let all the fun of summer burn you out. Instead, now is the perfect time to prioritize some self-care. Especially for those who have kids going back to school in a few weeks. We need to rest and relax a little before another hectic year starts.
Therefore, I encourage you to focus on you this month. Re-charging your battery, filling your cup, and doing activities that bring you joy. Read on to learn more about the importance of self-care and tips for bringing more self-care into your summer!
What is self-care?
In short, self-care is anything that you do just for you that brings you joy. It doesn’t have to be a big elaborate or extravagant activity; it can be as simple as enjoying a cup of tea on your porch. Self-care means different things to different people and there’s no “right” way to practice self-care. The key is to find activities that you truly enjoy and prioritize fitting those activities into your schedule on a regular basis.
Why is self-care important?
“You can’t pour from an empty cup.” Have you ever heard that saying? It means that if you are constantly “pouring out” to others and never taking the time to “pour into” yourself that eventually your “cup” will run dry, and you will have nothing left to give.
Do you ever feel like all you do is give to others? As a parent, partner, manager, employee, friend, child, or sibling, is so much of your time spent taking care of others that you’ve forgotten to take care of yourself?
Perhaps you feel like it would be selfish to do something just for you. But can I tell you something? Self-care isn’t selfish. Let that sink in. You deserve to prioritize you. It’s possible to strike a balance between selfish and selfless. When you invest in yourself not only will you be healthier and happier, but you will have more to give to others.
Where should I start with self-care?
If you are already feeling overwhelmed with work, family, and social obligations, then adding one more thing to the “to-do” list, even if it’s for your own good, can seem overwhelming. I get it. Therefore I recommend starting small, with just 5-10 minutes per day. Begin by brainstorming a self-care activity list. Think about activities or hobbies that bring you joy and put them all down on a list. Think of small activities that take 5-10 minutes as well as some longer activities that take 30 minutes up to a few hours. The options are endless. Here’s some examples to get you started:
Spend some time reading for pleasure
Get a massage, facial, or pedicure
Drink a cup of your favorite tea
Go to your favorite yoga or exercise class
Prepare a nourishing snack
Take a warm bath
Talk to a close friend on the phone or video chat
Listen to your favorite song
Plant a garden
Practice mindfulness through meditation or prayer
Write in a journal
Start a new hobby (hiking, knitting, photography)
Some of these activities can be done daily (practicing mindfulness or preparing a nourishing snack), while it may be more realistic to fit in others a few times a week or weekly (reading for pleasure or talking to a close friend) and even monthly or quarterly (getting a massage or facial). Dividing up your self-care activities in this way will help you set self-care goals for yourself. This activity list will also serve as gift ideas for holidays and birthdays (for example a gift certificate for a massage or a box of your favorite tea).
How do I fit self-care into my routine?
As with any new habit, you need to start small and be consistent. Pick one 5–10-minute daily activity and practice it for two weeks. From there, add in one slightly longer weekly activity. Once you feel comfortable, schedule one of the monthly/quarterly activities. Add your self-care time in your calendar, just like any other meeting or appointment. Find which time of day will work best for you. Perhaps it’s first thing in the morning before anyone else in your house is awake. Maybe it’s better in the middle of the day when you need a break from your routine to re-charge. Or it could even be at night before bed to relax and unwind.
Make this the Summer of You! Remember, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Maybe you can’t fit in an hour, but what about 5 minutes? That 5 minutes will have more benefit than you think and you’ll never be sorry that you took time to invest in yourself and health.
Stay cool and until next time…Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well.