By regularly planning time for ourselves, we are demonstrating our commitment to our personal health and wellness. Self-care is a gift we deserve to receive every day. Be good to yourself. Take care of yourself.
This post is by White Picket Fence Counseling Center therapist Janet McCurdy.
Most of us feel the effects of daily stressors, overbooked calendars, work and home responsibilities, and too little sleep. When we experience stress, our muscles tense, our heart rate increases, and our breathing speeds up and becomes more shallow. Remaining in a state of stress can lead to feelings of irritability, depression and being “burned out,” and can contribute to other health problems.
During these busy times, taking care of ourselves requires effort, planning and a commitment to our own health and wellness.
Each time we fly, we are reminded during the safety demonstration to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first before helping others around us. Good advice. When we take care of ourselves, we are happier and healthier, and better versions of ourselves at home, at work and in the community.
Learning to relax and quiet our minds for just a few minutes each day is an essential part of healthy self-care. We are all different, so how we relax will be individual to each of us. A walk outdoors, a hot bath or shower, a few minutes alone in a quiet room, listening to music, reading a good book, or practicing yoga are a few ideas of ways in which we can reduce our stress and take care of ourselves.
Learning where we hold tension in our bodies and how to let it go can also have a positive effect on managing the stressors that we face each day. Guided relaxation CDs and MP3 files can be very helpful in leading us through the steps to full-body relaxation. The University of Michigan offers several relaxation audio files on their MHealthy website at:http://hr.umich.edu/mhealthy/programs/mental_emotional/understandingu/tools/relaxation_exercises.html
Try a couple and see if they are useful to you.