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How to manage stress through daily self care

When you give more and more time to the person you are caring for, you may lose sight of caring for the most important person in your life: you.

“Daily self-care” is a buzzword of the new millennium, with seemingly infinite blogs, Insta-bloggers and vloggers telling you how to Live Your Best Life. And while following digital nomads gallivanting around Bali or Thailand or the beaches of Brazil can be an interesting hobby, their “self-care” needs likely stem from a different root than yours.

I love this checklist from Healthy Happy Impactful. Designed for moms, it’s relevant for everyone. Take a glance at the list and pay attention to your reaction. How do you feel in reading it? Overwhelmed? Stressed? Excited? Do you feel like there’s absolutely-no-way you can find time for any of this because you are already stretched so thin?

If that is the case, you need to prioritize daily self-care more than ever. Maybe you don’t have the time, funds or freedom to take vacations. What else can you do to get away, if even for a day? Why not go camping or rent an AirBnB on a nearby lake? Take an extended hike in a park. Drive to another state and see something new. Get creative with your options, and then get the heck out of dodge.

As for the other, more regular activities—pick a few to focus on from each list below. For the physical: perhaps you simply need to increase the amount of water you drink. Maybe you haven’t stretched since high school gym class. Try those two to start. From a psychological standpoint, how about learning something new? Download the Duolingo language app and try your hand at Spanish. Learn chess. Tile that bare kitchen wall. The possibilities are endless, if you commit to finding the time.

Healthy Happy Impactful suggests thinking about wellness needs by picturing the body, heart, mind, and soul. Spend a few minutes looking at the list and jot down 2-3 things you can start right now:

Physical (Body): Any self-care activities in this category include actions that help your body feel its best.

  • adequate sleep

  • consistent exercise

  • healthy food

  • plenty of water

  • stretching

  • vitamins or supplements

Emotional (Heart): These actions keep your emotional wellbeing stable:

  • things that make you happy

  • journal

  • vacations and new experiences

  • time away from technology

  • deep relationships (through get-togethers, date nights, traditions, etc)

  • quality time with loved ones

  • support groups (and social interaction)

Psychological (Mind) : These activities promote learning and growing.

  • progress towards a goal

  • learn something new

  • get out of your comfort zone

  • reflection

  • a new hobby or adventure

  • read or listen to a podcast

Spiritual (Soul): These actions connect you with your deepest self and the bigger picture of life. Examples include:

  • church

  • yoga

  • meditation*

  • gratitude

  • prayer

  • reflection

  • time in nature

(*Note: Because meditation can provide an incredible number of benefits to mind, body and soul, we have dedicated another blog post to the subject. Check it out here.)

Spend some time now thinking through the list above. In addition to your “immediate actions” list, carve out actions you’d like to try in the short-term (next 2 weeks), mid-term (2-4 weeks) and long term (4+ weeks). Put the list on the fridge or your bathroom mirror. Make calendar appointments or time block your days by setting daily alarms on your phone for “daily self-care”. Maybe you start with twenty minutes a day—twenty minutes you’d otherwise spend mindlessly scrolling social media. Perhaps you dedicate an entire half day once a week, or a full day every other. Find the time. Commit to your most important asset: you.

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