Self- Nourishment is a Necessity, Not a Luxury
Self-care does not mean being selfish. Self-nourishment means maintaining a daily routine of sufficient sleep, recreation, and downtime. Taking time for yourself provides you with the energy, presence of mind, and stamina that you need to pursue your daily activities and achieve your goals. Rest and relaxation also contribute to a calmer, more serene outlook, and thus, reducing anxiety. This wellness check is a great reminder to always strive to achieve a balance in your life---the constant juggling between love, work, and play. And yes, slowing down the pace of modern life and the state of "constant doing" may mean "unplugging" from your technology gadgets!
Here are a few things you can do for self-nurture:
- Taking Downtime
- Be Willing to Do Less
- Pace Yourself and Take Mini breaks
- Nurture Yourself on a Daily Basis
Taking downtime is exactly what it sounds like--time out from work, children, family, and other responsibilities to give yourself an opportunity to rest and replenish your energy. Without it you may continue to push yourself until finally your drop from exhaustion, become irritated or agitated at the simplest things, or become stressed. Sleeping at night doesn't count as downtime. You can go to bed feeling stressed, sleep for 7 or 8 hours, and still wake up feeling stress, tense, or tired. Downtime needs to be scheduled during the day.
There are three types of downtime:
Rest time is when you simply set aside all activities and just allow yourself to be, do nothing, sit quietly, meditate, listen to music, take a catnap, take a bath or enjoy some light reading. Remember, the key to rest is to do stop doing and just be.
Recreation time involves engaging in activities that can help to " re-create" and replenish your energy. Recreation involves doing anything that you experience as fun or play. This may include: going to the movies, going on a hike, taking a short trip, cooking, gardening, go visit one of the many Smithsonian Museums, perform some car repairs/modifications if you are an car enthusiast, or any other special interest.
Relationship time is the time when you put aside your personal goals and spend time with those that matter in your life, your partner, family, and friends. Being socially connected to "someone outside of yourself" ensures a sense of stability, security, and well-being in your life.
Be Willing to do Less
Doing less means literally reducing the number of tasks, "things", and responsibilities you normally handle in any given day. This may involve restructuring how you allocate time for work versus rest and relaxation. You may need to do a fundamental shift in your priorities so that maintaining a simple, more balanced lifestyle takes precedence over earning money or gathering accolades. Consider how you can shift from "what you actually do" or your accomplishments and productivity to putting more emphasis on "how you live", or the process of life.
Pace Yourself and Take Mini breaks.
Self-image and personal ideals frequently do not harmonize with the needs of the body. Self-imposed standards regarding work, success, achievement,or how well you take care of others can lead you to betray the natural rhythms of your body. The degrees of stress you experience today is a direct measure of how far you've gotten ahead of your body's needs in the past. Pacing yourself and giving yourself small breaks throughout the day are two ways to begin reversing unhealthy trends and living more in harmony with yourself.
Mini breaks can be extremely helpful at times when you transition from one activity to another. For example, after commuting in the morning, take a short break before going to work.
During your break you may:
- Practice abdominal breathing
- Write in your journal
- Get up and take a short walk
- Do a few yoga stretches
- Massage your shoulders and neck
- Do guide or visual imagery
- Read an uplifting book
Do anything else that helps you re-energize, relax, and clear your mind!
Nurture Yourself on a Daily Basis
Although "life can get in the way", can bring ups and downs--even sudden, unexpected challenges--you can find reprieve from worry and build a sense of inner security through small acts of kindness for yourself on a daily basis. Giving yourself regular downtime is one way to do this. When your outer life circumstances seem harsh, it's particularly important to make time for yourself without feeling guilty or self-indulgent. Achieving a healthy balance with rest, recreation, and relationship definitely makes the road to wellness an easier path.