Every Day Should Be Self Care Day

Happy Friday everybody!

I know it is still a work day and most everyone with a Monday to Friday grind is working hard with one goal in mind today… START THE WEEKEND!  That’s my goal every Friday.  But as I get closer to this particular weekend, I am finally beginning to realize just how busy it’s going to be.  Not on purpose because my weekends usually aren’t that full, but for some reason, this time, plans just started snowballing out of control and now that I’m looking at everything I wanted to do I realize that I am pushing my time and myself a little too much and I’m worried that this cannot be good for me.

**A little side note – I have generalized anxiety disorder, so no, this cannot be good for me.

It’s so easy to neglect our own well-being (physically and mentally) when we have work, household responsibilities, financial obligations and at the same time trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle and healthy social life.  And because sometimes we don’t know when to stop or say “no”, we end up feeling miserable, unmotivated, frustrated, angry, worried, anxious and just overwhelmed.  That’s me!  It’s not only the responsibilities of life, I had also endured some pretty hard losses in my life in the past 2 years and that is also still taking its toll on me.  But after some counselling, the very best thing that I took away from it was that I needed to look after myself more and in order to do that, it was recommended by one of my counsellors that I create and follow a self-care check list.

After some trial and error and figuring out what worked and didn’t work, I found the following things did work for me and they are a part of my life’s routine now.  Everybody’s self-care list will be different, but here is mine.

I make time for myself
I enjoy alone time and now and again I make sure I get it.  Even if it means retreating to my room for a couple of hours to read magazines, watch a movie, catch up on some grooming (mani/pedi, shaping my eyebrows, etc),  play around with different hairstyles, take a nap, or sit outside on the patio with a glass of wine.   Whatever I feel like doing at the moment is exactly what I do and I do it without feeling any guilt.  We all need alone time now and again and this is one of my favorite self-care practices.

I make a solid effort to get a good night sleep
It’s nearly impossible to function or think straight when I’m sleep deprived.  Not to mention, I am unpleasant to be around my sleep has been compromised.  In order for me to accomplish getting the sleep I need,  I need to start getting ready well before bed time, not right at bed time.  I have pretty strict skin care regimen, which means I need to start my pre-bedtime routine at least 15 to 20 minutes prior to jumping into bed.  It ensures that I am able to get at least 6-8 hours of zzzz’s.

I keep a bottle of water on my nightstand
If I wake up thirsty in the middle of the night, having water on my night stand prevents me from having to get up and go all the way downstairs to pour myself a glass and by going downstairs to hydrate, I am giving myself time to really wake up and I am going to have a more difficult time falling back to sleep.

I take time to unplug from social media
Maybe not as often as I should, but now and again I do make an effort to keep my phone in my room and leave it there to avoid the distraction.

I move
I take time during the day to get up out of my desk and walk around the building every hour  for a minute or so.  I walk my dog a couple of times a day and I’m always looking for excuses to get up and move around the house.  Staying seated for too long is not healthy and your body is looking for trouble if you don’t take the time to move yourself.

I play with my dogs
No explanation needed for dog lovers but it has been said that having a dog is beneficial to a persons physical and mental health. I can confirm that this is true and for me, I get 2x the benefits. My 2 dogs ensure that I walk at least 30 minutes every day whether I want to or not, and they don’t care how cold or snowy it is. And the unconditional love and affection warms my soul to the core.

Sometimes, I just say “NO”
There’s nothing worse than agreeing to something that you really don’t want to do, then being expected to follow through with that agreement.  Before I make any type of decision toward a commitment, I ask for time to think about it.  If it’s something I can manage or feel I would really like to do, I’ll do it.  But if I’m not given the time to think about , if it’s something that is going to make me uncomfortable, or if I know it’s something I’m going to resent later, my answer is “NO”.

I keep a Journal
Nothing is more cathartic or satisfying than unloading all of your thoughts. Whether they are positive or negative, happy or sad… jotting down your most intimate of thoughts in a safe place is a very healthy release.  It helps you to go over what happened during your day and allows you to process how you feel about what happened and allows you to re-live anything good that happened.

I practice gratitude
Practicing gratitude has been proven to help shift your mind from negative to positive over time. Each day, I make myself think of 3 things I am grateful for.   It helps me focus more on what I have and not what I wish I had.

I make time for friends
Living in the city makes it really hard to keep a good social life. After a full day of work, commuting, making dinner for our families and chores are done, I know I feel like I’ve had enough most days and I just want to shut down.  But I refuse to let a hectic lifestyle stand in the way of friendships.  The dishes and laundry can wait.  I would much rather spend that time communicating and bonding with another person than to risk having never being invited out again because I kept putting them off to mop my floors.

I eat and drink what I want
This doesn’t mean I get to eat and drink when I want. In my perfect world, I would live off nothing but pasta dishes, pizza, Chef Boyardee ravioli, bread, red wine, BBQ ribs, Jalapeno poppers and chocolate cake.  But, it’s not a perfect world and I’m not ready for that heart attack just yet, so for the most part, I eat salads, lean meats, vegetables and nuts, but now and again, I will indulge in one of my “perfect world” meals that I will fully enjoy in the moment so I don’t ever feel deprived.

I take long bubble baths
I am definitely a bath person.  Baths are so relaxing.  I love to just let my arms float next to me while my favorite songs are playing on the bathroom vanity.  Add in some epsom salts and a glass of red wine and it’s even better!

Some days… Netflix and Chill
On days when I have nothing to do, I just “Netflix and Chill”.Either I’ll find an old favorite movie, a new movie or a whole series to binge, Netfix, along with my favorite snacks is a great way to get in some down time.

     –> My Current Netflix recommendation: Like Father.  A great movie with Kelsey Grammer and Kristen bell who have an estranged father/daughter relationship trying to reconnect on a cruise.

My list still isn’t complete though.  It will always be a work in progress.  New items will be added as I figure out what helps and current items on the list will only get to stay as long as they are beneficial to my well-being.  My self-care ensures that my cup is always full and gives me back the energy I need to have fun, worry less and laugh more.

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