“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” - Eleanor Brownn
For the past 8 months, each Roots Monthly Health Challenge has been pretty focused. If you participated in any of the health challenges, have you continued on with any of the health habits? If not, I invite you to think about picking up some of those health habits again. This is a great month to do it, as this month's health challenge is 30 Days of Self-Care.
Of course, self-care can mean different things to different people, and you don't have to focus on what I have suggested in the past health challenges (although I would advocate that taking care of your health is one of the greatest forms of self care!). For one person, self care could mean taking a long epsom salt bath with candles or curling up with a book and a warm cup of chai. For another person, it could mean going on an afternoon hike in the forest, getting cozy on the couch to watch a good movie or treating themselves to an over-priced fresh pressed juice. And for another person it could mean taking a kick boxing class, getting a massage or taking the time to cook a slow home cooked meal. It could even mean leaving the party early so you can get an extra hour of sleep.
In 2016 I wrote a blog post about Nourishing Yourself. I would like to revisit that post as an option for integrating self-care into your daily routine. In that post I suggest making a list of 5 realistic things that you can do for your self care. If you choose this method of prioritizing daily self care, the goal would be to do at least one of those five things, every day for the next 30 days. My 2016 list can be seen here, for an idea of how it might look - but make it your own!
Another option is to make a list of 7 self-care goals to do every week for the next 4 weeks. You should do at least one of the items on the list each day, and make it through all the items on the list by the end of the week; repeats are OK! I like this method because it makes sure you get some "self-care variety". I'll be trying this method in September. Again, everyone's list will look different, but to give you some ideas, here is my weekly list for September:
- Go for a 3 mile run outside.
- Meditate for 20 minutes.
- Splurge on going out for a healthy smoothie or juice.
- Indulge in a fancy at-home spa session: mani, pedi and facial.
- Spend the day 100% free of social media. Instead, connect with friends/family in real life! Community and social relationships are so important for health.
- Sweat it out in a hot yoga class.
- Do 20 minutes of oil pulling.
Your list will be unique to you. Make it as specific and realistic as possible. Maybe add in one or two items from the health challenges earlier in the year that you have fallen off the wagon on (ex. eat five vegetables, add in a movement goal, hydration goal or promise yourself to spend an afternoon in nature).
Once you've come up with your list, put it up somewhere you will see it every day. If you notice something on the list is not getting done, replace it with something that is more likely to get done. It may seem silly to make a self-care to-do list, but I actually give this homework to my patients who tell me that they have no time for self care (and you would be amazed at how many people tell me that they don't have/make time for self care!). There's something about making it "homework" or part of the to-do list, that actually results in it getting done. And I would argue that it will make everything else on your "to-do" list so much easier to accomplish if you are also taking the time to take care of you.
Here's to Self-Care September!
Dr. Khaira, ND