In our living histories, perhaps there has never been another time where self care is more important than today. The last year of our lives has been steeped living in a reality few thought possible one year ago. We have all experienced different levels of stress, anxiety, pain and sadness in the past year. A metaphor which has been repeated and very salient for me is this concept of how the storm has been the same but the boats in which we have weathered it have been different for each of us. And the truth is, that it is still raining. Some of us have lost loved ones. Others have lost time- time with friends, time with family, time at work. Some of us are remote learning and remote working and remote socializing. Some of us are taking care of loved ones and tending to medical and personal needs which have become more immediate or remained unmet.
So as we breathe in the rare (and still semi-new) air of 2021, we must figure out a way to help meet these needs which may be so easily overlooked for each of us. No matter how much or little the storm is still hammering at your windows, no matter how solid your boat, each of us needs a little something to help bolster our souls during this time. The more stressful life gets, the more we need time dedicated to self-care, to filling the cup which we cannot pour from when empty.
So here in this article is a laundry list of the top 25 ways we can provide self-care for ourselves during these challenging times.
1. A warm cup of coffee or tea.
2. Reading a chapter of an engrossing book under a blanket.
3. Yoga poses to help with the ergonomic challenges of our profession.
4. Journaling to reflect on the year that has passed and the year ahead.
5. Letting a warm bath or hot shower wash away your worries. Practice being present by noticing the touch, smells and feels of this experience.
6. Making a massage appointment with a local masseuse. Many have found new ways of providing a safe yet relaxing experience. If going out isn’t your jam, order some massage oils, warm them up, add some scents and candles and give and get a massage at home with a loved one.
7. Find a hiking trail and walk until your mind is clear.
8. Buy an adult coloring book and get lost in a world of color which may remind you of sweet childhood memories.
9. Find a delicious new recipe, put on some music and cook in your kitchen. (Accompanying glass of wine recommended, but not required).
10. Download a meditation app or find some free YouTube videos and start a meditation practice.
11. Find a motivating playlist and hit the gym.
12. Schedule a sleep time on your phone and tuck into bed to get a solid 8 hours of shut eye.
13. Go to the grocery store and find 5 new (or old favorite) fruits or veggies to incorporate into your diet this week.
14. Buy a new water bottle which makes hydration exciting again. Set a hydration goal and crush it every day this week!
15. Use a Pomodoro timer to create breaks in your routine. During the break, put down your phone, look at things far away to help your eyes rest, and move around.
16. Make a list of five things which you are doing out of obligation. Call this your “Not To Do” list and find ways to say “no” to obligatory things which are muddying your schedule and your soul.
17. Find your favorite show and let yourself binge watch a few episodes. Bonus points if you include popcorn.
18. Take some essential oils and massage them into your pulse points. Sit and breathe deeply for 5 minutes.
19. Find a new fitness class to try- water aerobics, yoga, Zumba, bhangra dance are all good options!
20. Pack a picnic with your favorite items and go have lunch outside under a beautiful tree.
21. Plan a socially-distant date or Zoom date with a loved one who you have missed. Block out time to connect with another human.
22. Dust off your favorite board game and spend an afternoon playing it with friends or family.
23. Start an art journal. Use your favorite mediums to create joy on blank, white pages. Document something awesome that happened every day.
24. Turn on your favorite song and sing to it at the top of your lungs. Bonus points for dancing like no one is watching.
25. Sit in your stillness and list every single thing you are grateful for. Make it an exhausting list and keep listing until your mind is clear.