Mindful Moments

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You can’t pour from an empty cup. Self-care can often get lost in the hustle and bustle of daily life, and when caregivers take time for themselves it can feel “selfish” or rushed; however, self-care is a vital part of taking care of others. In fact, those who practice strong self-care techniques are often more emotionally available and feel more prepared to take care of others.

What is self-care? Bubble baths and girls’ nights out? Maybe! However, self-care is more than just the occasional practices of relaxation. Self-care is the practice of taking action to improve and/or preserve one’s own physical and mental health. Think of it as preventive health care; take care of your physical body with healthy eating and engaging in physical activity, as well as taking care of your mind by practicing reflection, mindfulness or seeking mental health support.

Self-care is really about refilling what makes you, you! Imagine this: you work a full 8 hour day, then go home to cook dinner and take care of your family; the dishes need washing and the toys need picking up. You have been putting off finishing your favorite book or spending quality time with your partner or friends. What would happen if tonight, you went to bed without picking up the toys and read your book instead? Or playing a game with your family? How would you feel the next morning? How would you feel if you said to yourself “the chores will be there tomorrow, but this quality time with my family might not?” How would it feel to set a limit for yourself either to say “I’m not going to go out tonight” and rest or to say “I’m going out even though there are things to do here?”

As you begin to think about the ways you take care of yourself, reflect on what makes you happy, refreshed, excited, etc. Work to set aside time in your day to do those things! Making a physical plan, whether you write it in your journal or post it on your wall, can assist you in being more accountable. You can search the internet for guides, or create your own self-care plan: keep it simple, make it super detailed, get creative; it’s all up to you.

I challenge you to create a plan and practice one simple mindfulness activity. Notice how your body feels throughout the day; check in as you move through the activities of normal daily life. Notice how you breathe; are you breathing? Or do you tend to hold your breath? Notice where your shoulders are throughout the day, can you move them down away from your ears? Check-in and begin to take notice of your own body. Share your self-care plans with us on our Facebook page.

Written by Kimberly Polstein, Development Education Director

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