Since there are so many methods of increasing your awareness and commitment to self-care, it may seem hard to pick just one. However, rather than getting overwhelmed and giving up, it is important to take some time to try a couple individual techniques to decide what works best for you. Here are some suggestions based on your personality type and role(s):
Introverts: Try Meditation! There are many different kinds of meditation. Whether it’s focused breathing, guided visualization or just sitting quietly in a state of non-judgement or compassion, they all have vast benefits for mental health and focus. Apps like Headspace, Calm and Sattva are free and provide a great way to get started on your meditation journey!
Extroverts: Try a support group! There are so many similar-interest groups getting together these days, and for many, it’s as easy as doing a google search to find them. The site Meetup.com offers ‘meetups’ with like-minded people, while new facebook groups are popping up everyday with spaces for Moms, people with rare diseases and even veterans with PTSD. These sites are a way to maintain social support systems and are not a viable substitution for professional health care and support.
Creatives: Part of your self-care regimen may include making something beautiful to enjoy for yourself or even share as gifts with others. For example, you may like to dip into painting or another art form that really tickles your creative fancy, Or try out a new hobby, like making your own candles or essential oil blends. Many of these skills can be learned with ease from a simple youtube video or book and may be right up your self-care alley.
Analyticals: Those of us who thrive between the lines may really enjoy learning more effective list-building, scheduling and time-management techniques as a form of self-care. These skills not only put us in optimal shape to creative time for and commit to self-care strategies, they are also necessary tools in driving your way towards a new goal, such as starting your own business. An important aspect of this topic is learning to say no to things that don’t serve you (and not feeling guilty about it).
Parents: Self-care may seem daunting for those of us with new or many family responsibilities. However, this is a chance to really connect on an even deeper level with those you love and spend most of your time with anyway. You may want to share your self-care activities with your children by inviting them to try a new exercise or recipe with you. They learn by example, so it may take you doing it a couple times on your own for that skeptical teen to realize that you are serious, but doing self-care as a team (or with a buddy) is totally worth it!
Professionals: Try chair yoga at work! Taking breaks is necessary for professionals to maintain focus and efficiency throughout their day. In fact, according to research based on the Pomodoro Method, the most productive people work in on-off cycles; taking 25 minutes for work, followed by 5 minutes for breaks (set timers if needed). After four cycles of these 25-minute work/ 5-minute breaks, there should be a longer break of about 15-20 minutes. During these breaks, you may want to have a sip of water and do a few simple chair yoga stretches to keep your mind and body refreshed and healthy!
Self Care Journaling Exercise or Rumination: Assess which types of self care feel best for you. We talked about personality types. Ask yourself: Do I thrive when doing self care alone, or with a group? What are my goals for feeling better and being healthier? Plan out ONE self care practice to try out based on your personal preferences for what makes you feel good and nourishes your spirit.