The end of the year is chaotic! We spend Oct-Dec running around going from party to party, meeting dead ends at work, gathering health insurance paperwork, last minute shopping, running to the post office, cooking, hosting parties, weekend outings with the kids, you name it! We spend the “most wonderful time of the year,” often doing things for other people and finding ourselves so busy we tend to hit a wall before the new year even begins!
There is no reason to burn out! We all have to take responsibility for our health and often that means taking a time out. The other day I was asked what I had been doing for self care, admittedly I said “nothing.” Sure I work out, I meal prep, but I hadn’t taken anytime to slow down, to do something just for myself and feel the sense of fullness. If you ask yourself that question and say nothing, then now is a great time to intervene! Self care is so important, if we don’t nourish ourselves then we aren’t able to share all of our light with our loved ones, coworkers or strangers. We become rigid, irritated, and burnt out. Below are some great tips on how to hit the reset button and feel better in the long run by starting these habits!
Exercise releases those feel-good endorphins that enhance your sense of well-being! It also gives you a moment to get out of your head and into your body! This doesn’t have to be a boring or strict regimen; go for a hike, grab your friend and workout together, join a group, find a class you’ve always wanted to try. Doing 30 minutes a day for 3-5 days a week may significantly improve depression and anxiety symptoms while improving general mood, self confidence, and you can feel the stress melt away! 1 The key here is to simply get your body moving and you will reap the benefits!
Eat right; but also treat yourself :
Eating a proper diet is key to having a thriving body with all systems working smoothly; however, a rigid diet can lead to the feeling of missing out, obsessive behaviors and a denial of cravings. It is okay to enjoy that piece of chocolate, a fresh baked cookie, or a slice of bread. If you know your body and what is right for you don’t deny yourself, but also don’t overdue it!
Enjoy a nice cup of tea:
The process of making a cup of tea itself is very meditative; get your favorite mug, grab some loose leaf and enjoy the process of slowing down, letting the warm vapors hit your nose and taking a moment to let this warm elixir fill your body and soul!
Multiple studies have shown the many health benefits associated with mediation including: stress reducing, anxiety reduction, decreased depression, improved memory, increased efficiency, lowered blood pressure, lower heart rate, lower cortisol, decreased metabolism, balanced breathing pattern with an increase of oxygen use, increased blood flow to the brain, increased EEG coherence (for our neurofeedback folks!), and the list goes on! 2
Get a massage:
We all know a good massage helps relieve all that tension we’ve been holding onto! But massage is great for reduced depression, improved immune function, lowered heart rate, and an overall relaxation response that helps increase vagal activity 3. A massage does not need to be extensive or fancy, it is all about self-care and relieving the tension in our bodies!
Not only do we have a ton of sunshine here in Colorado, but that sunshine can provide us with natural Vitamin D. The great outdoors is also associated with a boost in creativity and focus, improved mood, healing properties from natural light, fresh air and connecting with mother nature, and a little something called grounding (going barefoot and touching the Earth!) which has been shown to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, enhance well-being, help with sleep issues, and so much more 4
Some other great ideas include:
Picking up a new book and getting lost in it
Enjoying a Glass of wine or cocktail
Binge watch your favorite Tv Show
Take yourself out for a special meal, just you or with a loved one
Go to a yoga class, mediation class, etc.
Take a day off to clean your environment
Spend some extra time with your children or fur babies
Go for a hike
Take a bath
Bake or Cook
Whatever comes to your mind and brings you joy do that. Do something that allows you to live in the moment. Do something that will allow you to shine, laugh, and fell grateful for all you have! Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup; you must first fill your own. Building a foundation for yourself is crucial and if you can’t get in some YOU time then you have to schedule it in! Sometimes we just need to be reminded that it is okay to do something for ourselves, it is okay to slow down, to turn off our phones and say no. Self Care is not selfish!