What do you do for Self-Care?
I was talking with a friend the other day about her very stressful job. She had some really valid points about a situation at work that was complicated and unfair. Much of it was out of her control. I listened. I sympathized. I validated her frustrations. And then I asked her what she was doing to manage her stress. Her response: “Nothing.”
The conversation then took an unexpected turn. We started exploring the concept of stress management and self-care. We talked about the possibility that her work wouldn’t seem as stressful if she was doing more to counteract the stress. I made sure she understood that I wasn’t trying to put it back on her or blame her for stress. Her work situation was very stressful and not her fault. However, her stress related to it was spiraling out of control because she wasn’t managing it.
Too often we feel helpless or at the mercy of a stressful situation because the circumstances aren’t our fault or we can do very little to change it. It is easy to forget that we have 100% control over how we react to situations and how we manage our stress and frustrations.
When you manage your stress you can be a better employee, parent, friend, spouse, sibling, and general human being. And it’s not just you who benefits – everyone around you benefits. This is why self-care is not selfish. It’s necessary to get through life. Remember this every time you start to feel guilt or think you don’t have time to devote to yourself.
Self-Care Practices You Can Start Today
A lot of people will get one or two massages in their lifetime. Maybe it was on vacation or someone gave them a gift certificate. They think of it as a “treat.” In reality, massage can be one of your biggest weapons against fighting stress and promoting self-care. Regular massage – not just when you are really stressed and feel like you are going to lose your mind. Massage can help prevent you from ever getting that stressed out in the first place.
Massage therapy promotes blood flow, helps you sleep better, relaxes you, and gives you time to focus on yourself. The very definition of self-care.
Just like with regular massage, regular chiropractic care can help you maintain your body, stay in alignment, fight off allergies, colds, and other illnesses, and generally feel better. Don’t just go when your back hurts. Regular chiropractic adjustments keep your body tuned up and ready to face the world at your best.
According to the Mayo Clinic: “Meditation can produce a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind. During meditation, you focus your attention and eliminate the stream of jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind and causing stress. This process may result in enhanced physical and emotional well-being.”
There are a lot of apps and videos to help you get started. Start small with just a few minutes a day. Give it some time to see if it works for you.
Food is medicine or poison depending on what you put in your body. The better you eat the better you feel and the more equipped you will be to face obstacles.
Get your body moving and produce endorphins. Your body’s natural response to exercise is a great stress reliever. Exercise also helps you get out of your head and focus on your body. Start easy and work your way up. Exercise doesn’t have to be hard and unpleasant. It doesn’t even have to happen at a gym. Do something you like – walking, hiking, bike riding, swimming, find something you like to do and it won’t be “work” to get into shape.
Making time for your hobbies
If your main source of stress is your job you need to regularly get away from your job and focus on other things. You can’t be at work or thinking about work all the time. That is not living. Get back to your hobbies and the things you love to do, or start something new. Put time on your calendar for your hobbies. It’s important. Schedule “meetings” with yourself for proper self-care. Don’t break those meetings, you are your own most important client.
We have all experienced that feeling of life seeming way too hard when we are tired or completely exhausted. Everything is literally harder when you aren’t getting proper sleep. The best way to start getting better sleep is sticking to a schedule and routine – just like toddlers do. Go to bed and wake up at the same time – even on the weekends. Create a peaceful environment by hanging blackout curtains, having white noise or music, a comfortable bed, and whatever else makes you feel relaxed. Like I mentioned earlier, regular massage really helps promote good sleep.
Spending Time with Loved Ones
Your loved ones LOVE you. Spending time with them will help remind you who you are and what makes you special. We can lose sight of this when we are busy, working, and stressed out. Laugh with friends. Unwind with family. Do something fun together. It is so important to connect to other humans and have fun. You can even book a couples massage and really double up on your self-care.
Which Self-Care Strategy Will You Start With?
What are you going to do first? Do you have a suggestion that isn’t on our list? Let us know.
What can we do to help you with your self-care and stress management?
All Body Kneads massage therapy has many massage therapy options and an infrared sauna to help with self-care. We are here to help.
Schedule a treatment today and focus on YOU!