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Simple Ways to Practice Taking Care of You

In today’s world, it’s easy to feel like the days are moving and you aren’t. It’s like you blink and suddenly the warm, summer sun has been replaced with a bitter, vengeful wind that only November can bring. The weather is getting colder, us Canadians are retreating into our homes, dusting off our heaters and using every ounce of our being to keep the seasonal blues away. Don’t worry, you’re in good company if you’re feeling this way. Luckily, we’ve some ideas on how to make the best of the winter months ahead. Enter, self-care.

 

What is self-care?

Self-care isn’t all face masks, matcha and lounge wear (though they do help sometimes). Self-care is more of an internal process. It’s a reminder to switch the lens and focus on ourselves more. It might be challenging or calming, restful or energizing, be done alone or with others. 

Self-care is listening to what you want, or more importantly, what you need. It might look like simplifying your skin care routine, being kinder to yourself, baking cookies with a friend, finishing a book, or simply saying no for once. It truly depends on you and your needs.

 

Why add self-care to your daily routine?

The benefits of self-care have been well researched, showing that:

  • Finding time for self-care activities that bring you joy and relieve stress can benefit your mental health and well-being 
  • Self-care activities can reduce stress levels (and boost our health!)
  • Prioritizing self-care can boost productivity. Happy employer, happy life… right?
  • Self-care can help you make space for yourself and your true interests and hobbies
  • Done right, regular self-care can improve your quality of life. 

 

Self-care ideas: 

So, now that we’re all on the self-care bandwagon. What kind of activities can help us achieve these miraculous benefits? We’ve got you boo. Check out these self-care ideas that can help encourage wellbeing:

 

Develop your professional self

Professional self-care can include any pursuit that helps you feel fulfilled in the workplace and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Check out these professional self-care ideas:

  • Embrace mentoring. Offer support to someone in your workplace who needs it. Mentoring can help develop relationships at work and it feels good to see people do well with your help.  
  • Take a break. Take mental health days and use your vacation time. Make sure to slow down a bit. Work can wait, but your wellbeing waits for no one. 
  • Learn something new. Learning new skills or facts can boost your self-esteem. It helps you find purpose and identity. Plus, it makes for great water cooler small talk!

 

Nurture your physical self

Prioritize lifestyle choices that make your body feel good and remain strong and healthy. Some tips on looking after your physical well-being:

  • Get exercising – go for a nature walk, stretch, or simply move around your house
  • Schedule regular checkups with health care providers. No more procrastinating your health. Schedule that dental cleaning you’ve been putting off, or pap test, or physical (if it’s been a while).
  • Prioritize sleep and sleep hygiene. Blue light glasses don’t work. There, it’s been said! So, unplug 90 minutes before bed and aim to get between 7-9 hours of sleep!
  • Take your vitamins and meds. If it’s been prescribed to you, take it. Regularly! And while you’re at it, don’t forget to take in Vitamin D in the winter months.
  • Don’t take shame in indulging in your favourite foods. Reject the diet mentality and eat intuitively. Restricting the foods you love doesn’t work. Simple as that.
  • Mind your gut health. These days, we could all use a gut-health boost. Try adding in a symbiont supplement, which includes pre-, and pro-biotics. Or if you’re a whole foods person, try Holy Crap Cereal (prebiotic) with your morning yogurt (probiotic). Shameless plug, yes. 

 

Encourage mental wellbeing

Take good care of your thoughts and emotions. These mental self-care habits can help keep your mind healthy and happy:

  • Spend quality time. Loneliness is tough! Spend time with your loved ones. No distractions. No phones. Just good people and good vibes.
  • Do something you love. If you love eating sushi, or painting pictures, or watching Harry Potter movies, then just do it! Passing time doing something you love is time well spent.
  • Practice self-compassion. Allow your mind to be a safe space. Talk to yourself how you’d talk to your best friend. Your inner dialogue plays a big role in how you perceive yourself and the things around you.
  • Tap into your inner child. Have fun and do simple, creative activities. Watch silly nostalgic movies, collect leaves, make a snowman and drink hot chocolate. Embrace it, it’s fun!
  • Learn to say no. Setting boundaries can be tough, but it can give you peace of mind. Over-committing to things and burning out is not it!  

 

Self-care action plan:

Now, how do we put all of these self-care activities to work? Follow these steps to help you set your winter self-care plans in stone:

1. Look at your current habits: Before you commit to reading a book a week or any other self-care festivities, reflect on where you are now. Indulge in that self-awareness. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What do you currently do for yourself? Perhaps you take a daily walk or brush your hair every night before bed.
  • How do you cope with things? Do you have any unhealthy coping methods? Maybe you pick your face when you’re stressed or journal to clear your mind. 

Whatever you do, catalog the positive and negative habits you’ve developed over the years. This can help you identify your harmful habits and take note of your existing self-care practices. 

 

2. Set attainable goals: This one is fairly self-explanatory. Set yourself up for success. Look to add in one self-care activity at a time. Start with something easy that you truly enjoy doing. Then as that becomes a habit, add in something a bit more challenging that can help you grow. 

You don’t want to try to add too many things to your routine too quickly and overwhelm the system. That can be discouraging. Instead, start low and go slow.

 

3. Schedule self-care and make it a priority: Here comes the tough part. In the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, it can get difficult to honour your commitments to yourself. With self-care, you’re the only one who can truly hold yourself accountable. 

The best advice is to schedule self-care. Yes, literally write it on your calendar in red ink, add it to your planner or to-do list, highlight it, do what you need to do to commit to it. And remember, you’re doing it for you! 

We’re only human and so we may get off track. You can count on distractions arising and things coming up, but make sure you plan on resuming your self-care activities. It’s in the most hectic times that we need self-care the most! 

 

These self-care ideas can help you find new ways to take care of yourself, which can make the world of a difference. So, as you go out, remember to slow down, breathe deep and truly enjoy the moments and experiences in the coming winter months.

 

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