Self-Care All Year Round
Today’s world is 24x7 and we’re all busier than ever. What does all of that busyness do? It stresses us out because there’s too much to do and not enough time to do it in.
This turns into a never-ending cycle when we don’t spend as much time on ourselves as we ought to. In short, we’re neglecting self-care. According to the American Institute of Stress there are 50 signs and symptoms of stress. 50! When you don’t engage in stress management your self-care suffers. And you're unable to manage your stress before your stress manages you.
What happens when your self-care suffers?
You’re not eating right, either too much or too little.
You’re not following through on promises.
You’re ignoring things you used to enjoy, either through lack of interest or energy.
You find yourself isolating and avoiding social situations.
You're cranky or feel “off.”
You snap at people.
Your quality of work suffers.
You feel overwhelmed.
You wake up tired, even after a full night of sleep.
Simple tasks seem to take a lot of effort.
You forget little things, such as returning library books.
You’re dragging yourself through the day.
You’ve lost enthusiasm.
Decisions become really difficult, even simple ones.
You’re worried or anxious though you’re not sure why.
You can’t sit still.
You forget what you're about to say.
You miss deadlines.
You’re sick more often.
Whew! After reading that list it’s no wonder you’re tired. So, what should you do? Make time to take time to care for yourself. Self-care is something that you can do all year round. It's all about making time.
In a previous post I focused on self-care through the seasons, but I also really like the idea of incorporating self-care into my life by focusing on a different theme each month. That way you have enough time to become accustomed to one habit before adding another. Below you’ll find a list of self-care ideas grouped by month. Pick at least one each month and begin your journey to better self-care.
Get more natural light
Avoid blue light
Follow a bedtime routine
February: Eating Right
Nutrition is a cornerstone of self-care. When you eat nutritious foods, your mind and body gets the minerals and vitamins needed to repair cells and build up your immune system.
Focus on whole foods
Exercise does a body good. As you know by now, you’ve got to move it or lose it. Exercise isn’t just for your body, it’s for your mind as well. Exercise helps you to remain in good functioning order and what better way to engage in self-care is there?
Take an assessment of where you are
Create healthy daily routines
Track and adjust
April: Setting Healthy Boundaries
Many people find it difficult to set boundaries fearing that if they say no, disaster will happen because they’re the only one who can do all the things. That simply is not the case. It’s important to set boundaries so that you’re not completely stressed out and overwhelmed with responsibilities.
Create a list of your boundaries
Learn how to respond to people who test them
Be direct more often
Don’t feel guilty
May: Treat Yourself
This is what everyone thinks about when they think of self-care. Why? Because it works! There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself every once in a while 😊. It gives you something to look forward to when times are tough.
Take a luxurious bath
Have a night out
What have you always wanted?
June: Practice Gratitude
An attitude of gratitude is something that provides self-care to you in the present and its effects are also felt long into the future when practiced regularly.
Say how you feel often
Write a note to someone you are grateful for
Notice the small things
July: Get Outside
Nature is one of God’s greatest gifts to us. It has great healing power and spending time in nature soothes body, mind and soul.
Take a walk
Play like a child
August: Learn Something New
As long as you’re alive, you should always keep learning. Keeping your mind active and occupied is good self-care and helps to strengthen your creative side.
Learn a new life skill
Read something meaningful
Learn to play Chess
Enjoy a new culture
September: Relax and De-stress
Just be. Deep breathing is one of the most relaxing things that you can do.
Take a step back
Avoid toxic people or places
October: Work On Your Relationships
Think about the people that matter the most to you. A lot of times they’re taken for granted. One way of caring for yourself is to make time to care about others (just not at the expense of caring for yourself).
Establish time together
Learn how to deal with disagreements
Surprise your partner
Don’t avoid the awkward conversations
November: Be More Mindful
Mindfulness is about being present in the very moment that you’re in. You can bring mindfulness to whatever you do by being fully aware.
Find a comfortable position in a quiet place
Close your eyes and clear your mind
Breathe deeply. Focus on your breath
Allow your thoughts to drift and go where they will, keeping them in the now as much as possible
Focus on each and every aspect of what it is you’re experiencing at this exact moment.
As you’re leaving one year and moving into the next, reflection will help you take your self-care to even greater levels. Journal your answers as you reflect.
What worked for you this past year?
What didn’t work for you?
Are you happy in your life?
What do you feel proud of?
What is your plan for moving forward?
So, there you have it, a month-by-month guide to self-care that should give you plenty of options to take care of yourself all year round. And to help you make self-care a priority.
Let’s talk, what do you plan to do each month for your self-care? Let me know in the comments section.
Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a trainer, wellness coach and consultant who believes in empowering her clients and providing the tools that they need to make positive changes in their lives to manage their stress and increase their self-care. In her spare time, she enjoys papercrafting, volunteering and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or Linked/In