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Living a healthy life isn't just about what is on your dinner plate or what you do at the gym. True holistic wellness focuses on your physical, emotional, mental, and social health, too. Just as we work out our physical muscles, it's extremely important that we work our self care muscle as well. In fact, it may even be more important to get your sweat on by doing your favorite activity, instead of a forced activity.
There's a little bit of a stigma that surrounds the idea of self-care. We tend to put ourselves last on our priority lists because we feel it would be selfish to rank ourselves any higher. The problem with being last on our priority lists is that the list gets long. That means not only are you continuing to neglect yourself, but you're also neglecting everyone who relies on you.
In the long run, if you don't take the proper time to fill up your own cup, or recharge your batteries, you won't be able to pour from it any more, or operate from a healthy, functioning place. It's important to remember that we have to put on our own air masks first before we can assist others.
It's common for the idea of self care to seem selfish, but it's anything but that. Sometimes, people tend to feel guilty for taking the time to care for themselves, as they feel that they "should" be doing something else. Wrong. Again, if we are operating in the red, that just leaves us and those around us drained.
So, thinking practically, how can you go about including self care in your daily routine? Make it part of your to-do list, and make it a non-negotiable. Below, are some ideas to help you get started with your own personal self care list. Remember, everyone does different activities that make them feel good, so feel free to add or remove any activities that fulfill you!
1. Pray or Meditate: Studies show that just 10 minutes of silence to pray or meditate can help you re-center your mind and heart, and it helps you to focus on taking deep, calming breaths.
2. Yoga: Similar to the first point, Yoga can do wonders for the body and spirit. You don't have to be a fitness guru to participate in yoga. Take some time out to try a beginner class, or if you're nervous about trying it, several companies make beginner yoga DVDs that you can follow along with at home.
3. Hug Your Pets: Pets are known to bring joy and pure merriment to everyone around them. Studies show that pets can lower stress, lower blood pressure, and provide a calming atmosphere for those around them. If you don't have a furry friend of your own, check out your local animal shelter, as they have plenty of dogs and cats just looking for love and a forever home!
5. Take a Leisurely Walk: Go for a nice, calming walk to clear your mind! Or, go to the gym or take a run if that's more your style.
6. Take a Nap: Sometimes a little snooze can give us the extra energy boost that we need!
7. Watch a Sunrise or Sunset: and, don't take any pictures or post about it on social media. Just be present and watch.
8. Unplug: Turn off the social media for a bit and just focus on living within the present moment. As a bonus, unfollow anyone on social media who doesn't bring you joy. It doesn't matter how nice, cool, or inspiring they are. If they don't bring you peace, let them go.
9. Bake or Buy a Dessert You Love: and then go ahead and eat it - without feeling guilty!
10. Sing: Listen to music, belt out your favorite song at the top of your lungs.
11. Go to Bed Early or Sleep in Late: Remember, your rest is important to your overall health and wellbeing!
12. Stretch: Take a nice, 20 minute stretch. Work out those muscles and stretch those joints!
13. Color: Be a kid again! Coloring is actually very therapeutic for those with anxiety and stress. Plus, it is an overall happiness maker!
14. Go for a Drive: With no destination required.
15. Take a Mental Health Day: This is so important and often overlooked. In a world where stress is prevalent, sometimes it's incredibly necessary to take a day to ourselves to just breathe and collect our thoughts.
No matter what your list looks like, be sure to make some time to do what makes your soul happy!