Spring is here, the birds are chirping and we have extra light. Don’t you love it. I’ve noticed that many people didn’t even notice that today was the first day of spring. This tells me they are way too busy.
More and more this is becoming the ‘norm’ in our culture. Whatever happened to take time and smell the roses? Instead, it’s take the kids to school, drive in bumper to bumper traffic, go all day and don’t stop for lunch.
It’s time to slow down. You life depends on it. Your body needs to rest. It’s like a car. It’s important to take care of it, this means fuel it up and get the oil changed regularly. If you don’t take care of your car, it will break down. The same thing will happen to your body.
Here are seven days of self care:
Monday: This is one of my favorite days of the week. I know, so many of you hate it. For most this is when the work week begins. I like to start Monday with a good workout at the gym. I go to one of my favorite cardio classes. I love to start Monday’s with a good sweat. This helps get me focused and positive. This is the perfect time to work on changing your mindset. Instead of saying you hate Mondays, start with something you love about Mondays. It can be anything. Catching up with your friends at work about what you did over the weekend, or grabbing coffee at your favorite coffee shop.
Tuesday: Give your body ten minutes of mindful attention. You can set some time aside before you go to work in the morning, or you can set some time aside mid-day. This means you go to a room where you are the only person in it. You can also do this outside where there is no one around. Now for ten minutes, all I want you to do is breathe. Breathe way down into your belly, and then slowly exhale. Try to clear your mind, if there are other thoughts just observe them without judgement. Notice the sounds and smells around you. Notice how your feet touch the ground and just slow down.
Wednesday: Take the road less traveled. Instead of spending your commute time on a busy highway or freeway, take a drive by the ocean or near the mountain side. Take a good look at your surroundings and slow down. Not only is this good for your brain, it may also save you a ticket or two. You may want to stop and get out of your car. If you do, look up at the sky. Watch the birds and the clouds.
Thursday: Start a compliments journal. It’s easy to remember the bad things people have said about you. What about the good things. I know to some of you this may sound silly or even stuck-up. But, it’s not. If you only focus on what people don’t like about you, you will be down or sad a lot of the time. This could also lead to depression. Make it a point to remember the good things people say about you.
Friday: The last day before the weekend. Everybody likes that. Start a ritual when you finish at work to start the weekend. You could invite a friend over for a glass of wine, or go for a walk and watch the sunset. Start to make this regular in your routine. This will help you wind down for the weekend.
Saturday: Splurge a little. You deserve it. This is a way of valuing yourself. It doesn’t matter how big or small the luxury is, just do it. Maybe, there is a high end spa you have been dying to go to. Now is the time. Or, you’ve had your eye on those earrings that sparkle every time you walk by. It’s important to reward yourself and not feel guilty.
Sunday: Funday, need I say more. Set aside time for fun. If you’re in a relationship this is a great time to go to your favorite museum, or watch a movie together. If you’re not, invite a friend out shopping or on a hike. Whatever your idea of fun is, just set time aside for it. It’s easy to put things you feel obligated to do first. But, if you aren’t having fun you will eventually burnout.
Self-care isn’t a one time deal. Little and often is the best self-care plan. You can always add your own and see what works best for you. It’s important to pick things that help revive you.
Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Mateo, CA. She is dedicated to helping others. For a free 15 minute consultation please call or email, (650) 892-0357 or lianne@LessonsforLove.com.