Caring for oneself is fundamental to “Basic Self-Care.”
First, I’d like to thank Christy B for sharing tips about Self-Care on her blog. Reading her blog titled “Mental Health Tips for Women” made me want to expand more on the importance of “Self-Care.”
Why is “Self-Care” so important?
1. The Power of Smile
What does it mean when they say just “fake it until you make it?” There’s something powerful about a random smile, even a fake one can create a slight change in our mood. Recent studies have revealed that our mood aligns with the facial expressions that we make. Why? Bodily movements including facial expressions (e.g. smile) releases happy neurotransmitters in our brain called DOPAMINE.
Give a stranger a smile today and see if it works for you!
Some people struggle with sleep. They experience difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. So here’s a list of tips that could help.
- Eat something light for dinner (e.g. salad or soup).
- Refrain from using any electronic devices an hour before sleep.
- Take a nice candlelight bath.
- Infuse your bath with lavender oil, epsom salt and your favorite scent. For those who are allergic to fragrances, epsom salt would suffice.
- Meditate while bathing. I provided two free meditation apps below.
- Insight Timer
- Pick a guided meditation that sets an intention of calmness and peace before sleep.
- To women who has difficulty sleeping and staying asleep, repeat step 5 and 6.
Intrusive negative thoughts about the body affects the way we relate to our bodies. Studies have revealed that using the descriptor such as “weight”or “large-bodied” versus “fat” has been helpful to those who struggle with weight issues or obesity. Choosing a non-judgmental language helps cultivate self-compassion that is a catalyst to change.
- Be mindful of thoughts that judge you for the way you look or the way your body is shaped.
- Create an intention of using kinder language that decreases negative self-talk and boosts self-esteem. These intentions may sound: “May I feel at peace with my body,” “May I feel confident about the shape of my body,” “May I love the shape of my body.”
- Try using exercise as the vitamin for your inner soul as opposed to using exercise to fit in the “skinny look” click in LA.
Every shape and weight is beautiful.
Here are some tips without having to spend a ridiculous amount of money on studio memberships.
- Take a brisk walk around your neighborhood. Oh, and don’t forget to bring pepper spray for protection.
- If you live in a building or a house with a stairwell, use the stairs as a stair master and do some laps.
- Exercise at home and download inexpensive yoga apps. The one I use is called “down dog.” I believe it’s about $49.99/a year.
- Use google and research exercise tips and do them at home.
- If you have a pet(s) (e.g. dog(s)), take them on a mindful hike or a mindful walk.
- If you are meeting with someone for coffee, ask them to go on a walk at the beach or go for a hike instead and enjoy the beauty of nature!
4. A Healthy Diet
Our body is the temple of our spirit. It is essential that we get the right amount of nutrition that is required to function daily. Eating healthy food improves overall psychological and physical well-being. It helps decrease the signs of aging, helps with focus, confidence, self-esteem, helps maintain healthy weight and promotes weight loss, and most importantly, it increases the release of happy neurotransmitters in the brain. I highly encourage you to speak with a nutritionist, a dietician, or an eastern or western medicine doctor to get more information on the best diet that works well for you.
Having a healthy diet creates a healthy lifestyle. When our mind, heart and body is nourished, happiness is attainable.
Meditation has been a valuable tool in improving people’s’ lives. In most recent years, mental health practitioners began integrating the practice of mindfulness meditation in their work with mental illness. Thich Nhat Hahn founded mindfulness meditation during Vietnam War and discovered that being mindfully aware of your emotions and emotional pain improves your overall psychological health.
In addition, mindfulness meditation has been proven to help decrease symptoms of mental illness. As a mindfulness therapist, I utilize mindfulness meditation in my work with patients struggling with depression, anxiety, OCD, trauma, etc and have yielded great results. During treatment and after treatment, patients have reported decreased level of anxiety and depression and increased ability in managing stressful situations.
Mindfulness means being aware of your moment to moment experience without changing it to what it is not. One of the benefits of mindfulness is that it teaches you to take a pause, observe your thinking, identify what you’re feeling and what you’re doing before reacting. It provides an opportunity to do something different, away from the usual and familiar. Mindfulness meditation focuses on building inner strength to sit with thoughts and emotions that are avoided. Mindfulness teaches you to be curious of your experience without judgment. Meditation is experiential and requires daily practice to be mindful of your moment to moment experience.
Here’s three free mediation apps that you can download for your use.
- Insight Timer
- Mindfulness Meditation by UCLA (please search using ItunesU or podcast).
Play as if you are a child again. Chanel the moment when you were in your most innocent state and begin to RELIVE it through PLAY.
- Tap into your favorite child game or activity.
- Watch your favorite child movie(s).
- Pick a board game or two and play them with family and friends.
- Pick a new game or a hobby with a childhood friend or a new friend.
Now that you’ve gotten some self-care tips, try to apply what you’ve learned, and come back and share your experience with me and other readers on the comment box below!
Thanks for visiting and hope you enjoyed today’s blog.