It’s 9:25 on Thursday morning and my spin class is just about to get started. As with most Thursday mornings I’m rushing to get my shoes on and my bike set up either because I was busy working on getting items made for Penny & Kate or my two year old is asking for something that only I can get her even though her dad (who is always willing to help) is sitting right there. My favorite instructor walks in and class begins…but as usual I cannot settle in. It always takes me at least a couple songs to actually get into it because my mind is always occupied with things that have happened, things that need to happen and random crap that just doesn’t matter.
As a parent I am constantly thinking about my daughter. Did she eat enough veggies? Did she get enough sleep? Am I reading to her enough? Am I focusing enough but not too much attention on her? Am I doing this whole parenting thing right? I’m sure every other parent can attest that this whole parenting gig is all consuming. The same goes for being a business owner. There are things that are constantly on my mind almost every second of the day which brings me to my point. SELF CARE. The more I have on my plate the more I realize how important self-care is. Self-care is not selfish. It is a necessity.
Self-care doesn’t look the same for everyone and it’s not always bubble baths with expensive bath salts from Anthropologie, red wine and dark chocolate (and sometimes it is). Self-care is about feeding your soul, re-energizing yourself or filling your cup so you can be the best version of yourself which in turn makes you a better parent, employee, employer, spouse, entrepreneur….you get the idea.
Here is a list of my favorite self-care activities and the way they can benefit the mind and body:
1. Get a massage or go to acupuncture – Not only does getting a massage or acupuncture feel great (most of the time) but there are so many added benefits to regular treatments. An article from the Mayo Clinic explains that research shows regular massage treatments can be effective in lowering stress levels and reducing muscle tension. Another article from Acupuncture Quebec explains how Acupuncture decreases the delta and theta wave activity in the brain resulting in deep relaxation and/or sleep. This effect allows an acupuncturist to effectively treat conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, addictions, mental health and stress.If you are local to YEG my favorite place to go for acupuncture is Ripple Effect Wellness Centre
2. Meet a friend – Aside from the obvious that it’s always nice to catch up with a friend an article from Everyday Health ranks maintaining friendships as important as exercise and healthy eating for your health and well being. Socially engaged adults age more successfully, are happier, and healthier. Being social has also been proven to boost your immune system and can reduce physical signs of stress. Personally because my time can be limited I love meeting a friend for a sweat date. There are few things more energizing than meeting my girlfriend Sarah at a boxing class where we get to catch up before and after class and beat the shit out of the punching bag during class which brings me to my next point…
3. Exercise – I get it. Sometimes you do not feel like being active. There are days when my husband literally has to convince me to stop making excuses and get some exercise. Do I ever regret it when I am done? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Exercise is not only good for the body but it is one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health. Regular exercise can have a huge impact on mild to moderate depression, anxiety, ADHD and more not to mention it relieves stress, helps you sleep and boosts your mood. You can read more about the benefits of exercise HERE.
4.Get Outside – Something as simple as a walk outside can be so beneficial. Not only do you get your daily dose of vitamin D but spending time outdoors has been shown to boost your immune system, increase creativity, mitigate pain, and increase your energy. I know I definitely feel the positive changes in my mood when I spend time outdoors; I am literally typing this outside on my deck after my boxing class and I’m feeling pretty darn energized and creative.You can read more about the scientific benefits for spending time outdoors HERE
5. Go on a date with your significant other – Taking time to connect with your partner is SO IMPORTANT. Even if you are not a parent between social media, work expectations and daily distractions there are many things that can cause you to put your relationship on the back burner. Date nights can relieve stress, strengthen commitment and can strengthen or rekindle the romantic “spark” in a relationship which can also lead to another stress relieving activity 😉 Read more about why date nights matter HERE and if you are looking for interesting date night ideas check out this article.
6. Meditate – Don’t have a lot of time? You can still ‘fill your cup’ daily with a meditation practice. Even a 10 minute daily meditation practice is scientifically proven to reduce anxiety, lengthen your attention span, help you sleep and can aid in decreasing blood pressure. An article from Health Line goes into greater detail about the 12 science based benefits of meditation.
So what are you waiting for? YOU are important. Your well-being MATTERS. Take some time for yourself today because self-care is not selfish it is essential.