It’s 2022- and what a wild journey it has been. The new year is that interesting time when diet companies thrive on their talks about promising quick weight loss and the promotion of ‘resolutions’ installing pressures and guilt to meet strict intentions. This year, we are shaking things up. If there is one thing I have taken from this whirlwind of the past two years, it is the importance of rest, spending time with loved ones, and taking care of YOU. Let this be the year of self-care goals!
Yes- self-care is important. Yes- taking care of YOU is important!
You may be wondering, what even is self-care? What does it look like? Maybe you pictured a therapeutic massage, a manicure, a fresh haircut- but it is so much more than that, and get this, it shouldn’t cost you a penny. In essence, self-care is a conscious decision to protect your health and wellbeing by putting yourself first. Self-care looks different for everyone, and it is about finding what works best for you. By taking care of yourself mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. Looking to discover what self-care means for you? Let’s dive into some strategies for taking care of you.
My top 8 ideas to get started with self-care
Why do we measure burnout as a success? In an overwork culture filled with long hours and exhaustion, this year we are learning to rest with no guilt in sight. Allow yourself time to truly rest- whatever that means to you.
Practice the art of doing nothing- and don’t look back. Trying to fill every minute of the day is a recipe for burnout and an obstacle for relaxation, creativity, and mindfulness. It’s hard to embrace that learning to be okay with doing nothing is hard, but it is an important skill to have. Everyone has a different idea of what doing nothing looks like. Maybe it’s walking without music to truly connect with your surroundings, drawing, reading, or simply staring out the window. Whatever it is, find out what works for you.
Once you have found your favourite float time, try to intentionally schedule it into your routine. Start with just 5 minutes of silence or a change of scenery to help recharge and recalibrate. No spot in sight? Know your limits and adjust accordingly- maybe you need to skip a day or perhaps modify tasks and demote low-priority tasks. Get in tune with your body to learn how much rest it craves, and how the art of rest is not unproductive.
We all know the importance of a good night’s sleep, but sometimes it’s not that easy to get. One way to help get your sleep patterns back on track is to try to get into bed at least 30 minutes early and do a restful activity instead of sleeping. One technique is to practice meditation, and with so many apps like Calm, Headspace, The Mindfulness App, Relax Now, EXHALE, and Insight Timer. It is a great time to explore. Insight Timer is free and my new favourite app, with over 30,000 guided meditation classes. Not sure about guided meditation? Give nature sounds and white noise a try. Be sure to put your phone on silent and dark mode when using so you’re not tempted by the device.
Another method to help relax is to grab a good book and dive in. I always find reading allows me to focus on the story rather than the busy thoughts in my head and sleep very quickly. I am currently reading The Last Widow by Karin Slaughter. What book do you love to read at night time?
MOVE (the way *you* want)
Forget the burpees, bootcamps, and routines that you dread- discover the importance of intuitive movement. Intuitive movement isn’t about exercising to change your size but moving because it feels good. Make time for a walk in nature, join a yoga class or dance to your favourite playlist, discover what movement makes you energized, empowered, and brings joy. Move away from the culture that pressures you to exercise until you can’t feel your legs and recognize that they are unsustainable and do not make you feel good. Tune into what your body is telling you- what movement, how long, how intense. You’d be surprised how much you will learn from listening.
THE SIMPLE THINGS
Feeling overwhelmed? Sometimes you don’t need to make huge changes to feel back on track! Journalling is an amazing way to process held feelings and tap into creativity. Journaling is commonly done in the evening to clear thoughts and promote better sleep, but can also be used in the morning to start the day with reflection, positivity and gratitude! A simple gratitude practice is to write 3 things you are grateful for, but the freedom of journaling makes content completely up to you! In addition, creating a checklist with priorities and even little tasks like brushing your teeth can make you feel productive, empowered, and organized when you are stuck in a rut.
Make time to connect with those that support you. Nourish the relationships that nourish your soul, and reevaluate those that do not. Do not be afraid to establish personal boundaries and say “no” in order to take care of your needs. While in-person meetings are not always possible, at-home date nights, zoom meetings with friends and family, and sending letters to family the old-fashioned way are a great way of staying connected with those you love. Local Facebook groups with online game nights and socially-distant strolls are another great way to make new friends and battle restrictions together!
No, no juice cleanse here folks. In this modern age, it is so easy to be bombarded with messaging. Billboards, video ads, unrealistic images, and body expectations- everywhere you look, you can find them. Phones, watches, meant to keep you connected often make me feel even more disconnected to things around me. While scrolling is an easy autopilot activity some days, be mindful to take a break from social media and allow yourself to recharge.
Organizing is another great way to cleanse a space and a busy mind. I don’t know about you but the state of my living spaces is a clear reflection of my stress levels. There’s something so magical when I’m in a cleaning mindset- like nothing can stop me. I find it incredibly empowering to declutter and feel back on track again. Choose a space and know your boundaries to fit it into a day that’s not jam packed with other duties. A clear space and a clear mind, yes please!
Start a new project or experience for you and only you. Whether it is a new food experience, sport, skill, art, choose something that doesn’t feel like work. Learning something new can help keep your mind engaged and active, gain confidence, and is incredibly therapeutic. Your creative side will thank you!
Be kind to you. We all know the importance of being kind to others, so why don’t we take our own advice when it comes to ourselves? Throw away your magazines promising easy weight loss and get mad at the culture that has fed you unrealistic expectations and guilt. Get in tune with your body’s hunger cues, give yourself permission to eat, listen to your body, and learn to ditch diet culture and the damage it has caused you. Learn to love YOU- worthy, valuable and beautiful. Want to know more about ditching diets and gaining a positive relationship with food and your body? Book a free discovery call with Atheana today, follow her Instagram account and check out her podcast Diet Culture Dropout, available on all podcast platforms!
And there we have it! Which self-care practices are you interested in adding to your routine? I hope you learned or were reminded of some strategies for implementing self-care today. Everyone sees self-care a little differently, so take time to discover what truly nourishes your soul. And remember, take good care of you.