Nightly bubble baths. Good chocolate. Journaling.
All things I've seen suggested for self-care—lovely ideas but not entirely practical for most of us. Besides, you can't solve chronic pain, burnout, or general existential dread with a manicure and chai tea.
Lasting and meaningful self-care includes working on the things that wreck our quality of life. Maybe you have a sleep issue or a nagging pain that creeps up between massages. So how can you meet yourself where you are and improve your stiffness or poor sleep? Maybe stressing about being disorganized is wearing you down. How can you work on that?
I have a few ideas and go-to resources for some of the most common stressors we face; I hope you can use a few of them.
I love Dr. Jo on YouTube for light stretching, strengthening, and relief from everyday aches and pains. You'll find short, easy-to-follow videos that easily fit into your daily routine. Try Doing these videos a few times a week, or whatever works for you.
A little bit of green is helpful. So much so that "Forest Bathing" is an actual prescribed treatment for stress in Japan. However, you don't need a forest to benefit from nature. A short walk outside in the sunlight or watering a houseplant by a window can provide a break for your nervous system and help you stay even-keeled.
You could also check your local community for businesses or organizations that gather to meet outdoors. In my neighborhood, a local shop named Flower and Fields hosts workshops where you can learn all about planting and caring for indoor plants. It is an excellent opportunity to get your hands dirty with other like-minded people.
Lives are complex and messy, and sometimes we may find our home environments are complex and messy. Very few of us have the time, resources, or motivation to keep a clean, easy living home. On top of that, there's an awful lot of moral weight put on cleanliness and organization, so if you're not great at it, there can be shame involved (which is the worst possible motivator, ugh).
If you have difficulty moving or creating a routine with care tasks, check out Struggle Care. You'll find all kinds of resources created by a licensed professional therapist to help you drop the shame and discover what makes a functional home for you.
If you are ready to change your environment but aren't sure where to start, check out Unf#*k Your Habitat. You'll find starter guides, lists, and thoughtful resources to get you moving.
Pro tip: If you struggle to stay on task, get a friend to hang out with you while diving into a chore or project. It's called "body doubling" and can be super helpful.
Earlier this year, I started meeting weekly with a Nurse Coach. No, this isn't a person that only coaches nurses. Nurse coaches promote and facilitate the whole person's growth, healing, and well-being by using coaching principles and modalities that integrate body-mind-emotion-environment. Nurse coaches must have several years of nursing education and experience as a foundation for developing their coaching skills. I have found it incredibly helpful to learn more about the connections between my thoughts and my physical well-being. If you are interested in finding out more, check out Nurse Coaching with Joni O.
I get it; we all love a good pizza or cookie. The rush of dopamine from Chick-fil-A fries can be powerful. If it is challenging to find healthy foods you love, maybe an expert in food and nutrition could help. Finding recipes and food options that taste great can be the solution to better nutrition. If you have nutrition, health, and wellness goals, Coach Ginny Bishop with KK Wellness Consulting may have an excellent plan for you. She has incredible recipes that make healthy eating fun and delicious! Which is really what we are all looking for.
Getting your Zzzzzzs
Sleep stories are great tools for people who have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep. Sleep stories read by Matthew McConaughey and Kate Winslet are even better. The Calm app has many sleep meditations for all ages, including recordings designed to calm your nervous system and help you sleep.
Movement doesn't have to mean 'exercise.' It also doesn't mean taking the stairs or parking super far away from the supermarket door. Movement can be small, joyful, and maybe even noticed by the people around you.
Shake your legs out or march in place while you do the dishes (improving circulation in legs), reach up to tap the top of every doorway you walk through (moving through shoulder range of motion), or kick up a 2-minute dance party while you heat up your lunch (that's just fun). It all counts, and you'll probably feel good about it.
Pick one thing and add it to your life. When you've got the hang of that, maybe add another. Oh, and schedule a massage at Proactive Massage & Bodywork. You'll thank yourself later.
If you don’t remember what it’s like to feel good, or you haven’t been getting a massage regularly, make an appointment at www.ProactiveRVA.com and get started. Your body and brain will be glad you did.