Giving Yourself the Gift of Self-Care During Stressful Times

by Heather Conder, Lead Lifestyle Consultant & Certified Health Coach

“It takes courage to rest and play in a culture where exhaustion is seen as a status symbol.” – Brene Brown

The holidays can prove to be a very stressful time. You may be hosting and concerned about all the dishes you need to cook, or you’re packing up the kids and trekking across the state. No matter what your situation is, it’s important, wait no, it’s critical to practice self-care during the holidays!

What is the true definition of self-care?

  • The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.
  • The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.

Are you practicing self-care? If so, what are you doing? If not, what excuses are you making? Try to focus and think about what you do for yourself to relax, and what ways work for you to practice self-care. It is important not to dismiss these thoughts and feelings, as this is your intuition telling you what your body needs.

Keep in mind there is a difference between getting items checked off a to-do list and practicing self-care. Think about your busy days…are you taking time for yourself? What about weekends? Are you doing anything to recharge or are your days off just a continuation of business and getting things accomplished? Yes, there is the need to take care of our responsibilities, but it’s also responsible to practice self-care both during stressful times, and in general.

You might be thinking that self-care is selfish, but it’s not.  A selfish person wants everything for themselves, with no thought for the needs of others. Selfish is someone who is self-centered, preoccupied with themselves and solely concerned with their own welfare, needs and interests. Self-care means prioritizing your needs so you can thrive, contribute to your community, and have healthy relationships. See the difference?

Self-care is not…

  • A sign of weakness
  • Only for some people
  • Selfish
  • The same for everyone
  • Something to be quiet about

Ways to practice self-care can look very different depending on who you are and what you like to do to relax and recharge. Below are some helpful ideas on general ways to practice self-care if you are feeling stressed or are in need.

  1. Do something that brings you joy…even if it’s the smallest of gestures.  What fills your heart? What brings you peace or what do you find relaxing? It does not have to be large or time consuming. How about drawing a bath, having a warm cup of coffee or tea, sitting down to read a book or deep breathing for just two minutes?
  2. ASK FOR HELP! Reach out to family or a friend to ask for help. There is the old saying, “It takes a village,” and it does! We are meant to have a sense of community with one another especially through stressful and hard times. It is okay to ask for help so why do we have so much trouble doing this? What would you say to your friend who is struggling? Wouldn’t you ask them to reach out to you if needed? Do not assume that they don’t have time or can’t help.
  3. Move your body! Did you know moving your body is an excellent way to practice self-care? It releases endorphins which increases your serotonin levels raising your spirits and lifting your mood? Consider doing your favorite exercises or sport, going on a walk, or doing some gentle stretching. Can you ask a friend to join you?
  4. Eat well!  There is a direct correlation of what we eat to how we feel. Don’t give into the short-term satisfaction for the long-term guilt or weight. Stay committed to your goal! And remember, too much sugar, salt, fat, and other unhealthy ingredients can impact your motivation, mood and energy.
  5. Be kind…to yourself and others!  Do you talk to yourself as if you would your closest friend? This is critical for self-care and really for humankind. Do you live a life full of compassion and grace for yourself and others? During the holidays or other stressful times, practice self-care by making time for kind gestures for yourself and for others…pay it forward. Even the smallest gestures can make a big impact for you and for others.

Take on a self-care challenge today! Find one thing to do per day that you consider a way to practice self-care and keep it up until it’s a habit. Start by setting an intention, saying it aloud, writing it down, telling your loved ones or posting it on social media – make it happen! Keep in mind what you choose doesn’t need to be the same every day, but you certainly can choose the same habit each day for ease and consistency.

As you go through your busy days, please remember self-care IS for everyone including you.

“Rest and self-care are so important. When you take the time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” – Eleanor Brown

If you’re going through stressful times and need to do more self-care, or are just ready to make a change, get started with Livea today! Schedule a complimentary consultation, and we’ll help you make the biggest self-care change in your life.

Sources:

“Self-Care,” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, https://www. https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/self-care. 12/01/2021.

“Selfish” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/selfish. 12/01/2021.

Brene Brown, https://www.brenebrown.com. 12/01/2021

“What self-care isn’t”, https://gahope.org. 12/02/2021

Eleanor Brown, https://www.inspiringquotes.us/author/9028-eleanor-brown. 12/02/2021