Self Care in the Real World
The habitual practice of self care will change throughout your life — that’s a given. Life is comprised of transitions; transitions elicit stress; and we turn to what we know to cope. When resources are depleted, the ability to cope with stress in a healthy manner can feel overwhelming, burdensome, or simply exhausting. Tuning in with awareness can bring insight to patterns and habits, both healthy and less healthy. Ask yourself: How do you handle stress (“good and “bad”*)?
Transitions can serve as a catalyst to discovery.
The way in which you cope with stress during specific times in your life will depend on your internal and external resources.
Internal resources = personal strengths, abilities, skills
External resources = therapy, loved ones, friends, pets, jobs
Life in college will look different than life in high school. Life as a working adult will look different than life in retirement. Grief and loss complicates day-to-day living; and new parenthood presents challenges that are often unexpected.
No matter what phase of life you are experiencing,
a consistent self care practice is possible.
I am constantly shifting and modifying my self care schedule. You read that right; I schedule self care. Scheduling self care is a way I can ensure that I prioritize myself. My Sunday evening ritual entails sitting down with my digital calendar and paper planner. By plotting out my week, I can check for gaps in self care and ensure a healthy balance of work, life and relaxation. Honor your needs by giving it space, literally and figuratively.
What does self care look like in the real world?
My self care practice shifts depending on the day of the week. Some mornings provide the opportunity to move (i.e. kind way of saying exercise), spend time with others, make art or practice any other moderate level of self care — things that take 5 - 30 minutes.
Throughout the day I practice mini moments of self care. These include drinking sparkling water, pulling an oracle card, listening to music, repeating a mantra, or smelling an essential oil. These ground me in the moment and allow my brain to focus on the here and now.
Take a look at two versions of a daily self care practice highlighting micro self care throughout the day and a mega self care practice.
Self care can be as simple as taking a deep breath.
* A note on “good” and “bad” stress: The brain and body reads all types of stress similarly. The body may respond to a joy filled wedding in the same way as the loss of a job. Practicing self care in both of the so-called “positive” and “negative” experiences is important. Decompress your body and bring a sense of peace for the mind - body connection.