Fresh Views

You are the most important person in your life: 16 tips for self-care

Morning tea with a view of the sea, Santorini, Greece

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. — Anne Lamott

Continuing on in our “Summer Self-Care” series where we’re sharing simple tips and ideas to help focus on strengths in a solution-focused way that you may share with patients/clients, as well as implement in your own life. Today our topic is self-care itself.

Simply put, self-care is the practice of looking after your own mental and physical health. Taking time for self-care is actually necessary for our well-being. Despite the perception of some, self-care isn’t selfish. Too often we find ourselves running around and doing a hundred different things at once. There seems to be some glory in “multi-tasking”, when in reality it induces stress and makes it hard to just breathe and reflect. 

Today we share 16 simple ideas of how you can practice self-care, including ways we personally are practicing self-care.

  1. Sit and be still alone with your thoughts for 10-15 minutes. Deb practiced this in the above photo during a recent Greece tour. While her days were filled with activity and fun, taking a pause before the day started provided her with self-care. And the view was a definite plus!
  2. Journal about how you’re feeling. Learn more about our experience doing so here.
  3. Get out in nature. We’ve written about the benefit of being in nature here.  
  4. Listen to your favorite music.
  5. Be active in a way that feels good to you. 
  6. Organize or rearrange your space. Read our thoughts on bringing order to chaos here.
  7. Spend quality time with friends or family that pour into you.
  8. Enjoy a long bath or shower.
  9. Allow yourself to sleep-in. This is a favorite of Tami’s on the weekend. Spending every weekday living “the grind”, she really welcomes this luxury
  10. On the topic of sleep, try sleeping with a weighted blanket. This is another self-care practice of Tami’s. It brings calming, reduces stress and anxiety, and helps promote better sleep.
  11. Let yourself have a good cry (sometimes we just need it). We’ve heard it said that tears are the safety valve to the heart.
  12. Take a break from the news and social media. 
  13. Write down 5 things you love about yourself. Post them where you’ll see them.
  14. If you enjoy scents, light a favorite candle or turn on a diffuser with a favorite essential oil. Lavender, rosemary and chamomile are particularly calming.
  15. Write down 5 things you’re grateful for. We share more gratitude practices here and here.  
  16. Have realistic optimism, meaning you confront the situation you may be in, rather than thinking you’re helpless and powerless and avoid it. We’ve shared more thoughts on this here

Granted, no amount of self-care can completely mitigate all of the struggles that may arise. And everyone’s self-care needs are different. Yet, implementing more self-care and being compassionate with yourself is a process that will be worth it. As Tami shared her “New Year’s Solution” back in January, “1% effort always beats 0% effort.”

We have been reflecting over the year, and the progress that we’ve made on our own personal “New Year’s Solutions”. Deb shared an update in our last post here. Wondering about Tami’s progress in embracing  “1% effort always beats 0% effort”?  I’m choosing to continue to embrace and build on this principle that’s worked for me before. Rather than talking myself into what I can’t fit in, I’m focusing on what I CAN do, with the energy and focus I DO have. So a few positives, I HAVE been using my under desk elliptical at work when on long Zoom meetings, especially when fitting fitness in otherwise seems a challenge that day. I’m not perfect by any means, but I’m making progress. I keep 5 pound hand weights by the bed and HAVE been using those at night while watching a favorite show before bed. Again, not perfect every night, but any is better than none!.

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Deb is employed by Dexcom, but her words and opinions in this blog are her own.

Tami is employed by the University of Kentucky HealthCare Barnstable Brown Diabetes Center, but her words and opinions in this blog are her own.