What a week it has been! Between the US election, new lockdowns starting all over Europe, and a general feeling of uncertainty about what is to come in the next few months, all I could think of writing this week was about self-care! All the stress release activities in the world will not help if we are not taking care of ourselves first. Now more than ever, we need to make sure to find time for us and not view it as a luxury. Here are my top activities for self-care.
Exercise has the power to make us feel good. The amazing combination of neurotransmitters, endorphins, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which are all released in our body when we work out, leaving us feeling euphoric. So, take some time to go out for a walk or a run. Take yourself (safely and following social distancing measures) to the gym and take part in a workout class or stay at home and take advantage of the many home workout plans/apps available at the moment. I use Fiit, a gym at- home studio with hundreds of classes available for free or on-demand as a paying member. Just getting outside and getting the heart rate up is one of the best activities for self-care that any of us can do.
I have been working on meditation for a few years as I find it really hard to switch off my brain and focus all my attention on my breathing and mind. The more I practice though, the easier I find it to calm my restless brain. I live with high functioning anxiety so I am always overthinking things and busying myself with endless tasks; meditation really helps me to focus my thoughts. If you are a beginner, there are lots of apps or zoom classes you can take in the safety of your own home. I started off my meditation path with Calm. The app has a lot of options (free and paid) from meditation, to sleep help and masterclasses in mindfulness.
I am an avid reader and I always love losing myself in a good story. Not only does reading make you smarter, but it can also help with preventing certain types of dementia. It also helps develop our imagination, which then impacts our day-to-day creativity. Fiction books could also increase our empathy towards others as we invest ourselves in a character or plot. Although I normally love a good fiction book, this year I have dedicated my reading time to learning about my own bias and understand better what is going on around the world. Here are some books I have read in the past few months that I would highly recommend: How To Be An Anti-Racist, White Fragility, The Pocket Change Collective.
In case you didn’t know, I love lists! I like to be as organized as possible in my daily life so I tend to make list after list after list (again, thank you anxiety). It helps me see where I am and what I need to do without spiraling, negative thoughts crashing down on me. Bullet journaling (the habit of writing down schedules) for self-care is another way for me to make sure I take the time. It helps me create a space just for me and reminds me of what is important and vital for me to function properly and healthily every day. Papier offers a great collection of beautiful journals to choose from. If you have the time and desire, this is one of those activities for self-care that I think everyone can benefit from!
Although I don’t get to do this as often as I would like to, taking a bath is one of my favorite way of taking care of my mind and body. Not only it helps to relax the muscles, tensions in the joints, and improve skin’s condition, it also great for the mind. Taking time off for yourself in a relaxing environment will help you process your thoughts, emotions, and help you be more mindful of what is going on with you and around you. To make my bath experience even more relaxing I like to use a few products from Lush fresh handmade cosmetics 100% vegetarian, ethical, and against animal testing.
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