These past couple of months have been a bit rough. With lots of professional changes as well as a ton of personal stress, it’s been a little crazy around here. And that’s putting it nicely.
In light of this, I think it’s time we officially talked about Self Care. As in, healthy ways to nourish our bodies, minds, and souls during times of transition, stress, and just everyday life.
So, let’s talk about how you treat yo’ self…
For anyone who is a big Parks and Recreation fan (like me!) you might remember the episode where Tom and Donna have their annual “Treat Yo’ Self ” spa and shopping excursion (you can watch a clip on YouTube here). It’s hilarious and completely over the top in some ways, but I love the idea of taking the time to pamper yourself.
Of course, I also think it’s important that we talk about “treating ourselves” in a healthy way that doesn’t involve putting ourselves into debt, indulging in senseless consumerism, or eating a ton of unhealthy food.
I want you to take a moment and answer this question: When was the last time you “treated yourself”? What did it look like? What did you do? And, how did you feel?
For many of us, food becomes a quick, easy, and cheap way to “treat ourselves.” Think about it: we don’t often reach for a donut or a cookie when we had a great day at work and just returned home from the most relaxing yoga class. No way. We reach for that sweet treat when we’ve had a stressful day filled with a long commute, no time for lunch, and a sleepless night the day before.
We’re only human and when we’re under stress, let’s be honest here… willpower just doesn’t work. In these moments, it’s vital that we find healthy and truly nourishing ways to treat ourselves that doesn’t involve sugar or destructive foods. Click to tweet it!
Here are some of my favorite ways to treat myself and practice self-care when I’m under stress and life is crazy.
- Take a walk around the block. It’s simple, free, and takes less than 10 minutes. This one is doable for anyone.
- Make a cup of tea. By the time I boil the water, fill the cup, and sit with the warm beverage between my hands, I already feel more relaxed and at ease. This is also an easy way to distract myself when what I really want is a cookie.
- Take a hot bath. It might sound totally cliche, but a long soak really helps me to melt stress away and this is also a great way to take care of myself when I’m having a severe sweet craving.
- Spend time with friends. When life is busy and schedules are hectic, we often neglect our social relationships, but the truth is, this is when we need our friends the most. A little quality friend time definitely helps to strengthen relationships and ease stress.
- Get a massage. Another cliche self-care strategy here, but massages really make a physical and mental difference when it comes to relieving tension and feeling pampered. I know massages can be pricey so I actually set up a small automatic savings each month that goes straight into a separate account so I can splurge on a massage a couple of times a year.
- Spend time with pets. Although my cats have definitely added to my stress levels on occasion, spending quality time with them is another great way I’ve found to relax and ease stress.
- Make a really beautiful dinner — and sit down to eat it. I obviously cook a lot, but one of my personal challenges is taking the time to actually sit down and eat a full meal — without being in front of the TV or computer! My body always feels different and more at ease when I take the time to sit and eat instead of being on-the-go or multi-tasking during a meal.
- Get more sleep. When I’m under stress for extended periods of time, I tend to become hyper and anxious, which leads to me having a very hard time sleeping. I try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule as much as possible, but when I’m under stress, I always make it a priority to let myself sleep in as much as possible. Sleep does amazing things for our stress, mood, and health overall and the more sleep we can get, the better!
- Go do something fun. Sometimes the best way to treat yo self is to just get away from it all. Spend an evening at the movies, take a road trip, or finally book that much-needed vacation! Even though it might be hard to find the time in your busy schedule, making regular time for fun is vital to your health!
And if you’re interested in practicing better self-care, I highly recommend the book The Art of Extreme Self-Care by Cheryl Richardson. (This book changed my life!)
What are you favorite healthy ways to “treat yourself”?