May is Mental Health Month and as I was diving in and reading about different resources, these two facts were shared by Mental Health America in their #Tools2Thrive kits.
At first glance, I cringed. I kind of hate the term "self-care." It invokes thoughts of manicures, massages, facials and yoga retreats. Stuff that feels out of reach for a lot of us - either financially or just available time. It sets up a feeling of taking away from one bucket to fill this self-care bucket and that can drive a guilt spiral for me, no matter which I choose.
But at a second glance, self-care is just a short cut to the phrase "taking care of yourself". For whatever reason, I can get way more behind that phrase and in fact, I do a lot of things each day to take care of myself and reduce or work through stress. Exercise, nutrition, meditation are necessities not luxuries for me. So, here are the top 5 tools that make taking care of myself easier:
UnPlug Meditation App - I invested in a subscription in January and I could probably say it is changing my life. It provides guided meditations typically in the 5-10 minute time range which feels manageable. They have monthly themes, collections on different topics and even a meditation of the day which eliminates the need to decide to meditate about which on its own provides a teeny bit of relief.
A Foam Roller - Because I enjoy working out, gardening and lots of activity I do get sore and tight. Rolling out one area of my body for a few minutes is like a mini-massage and helps me recover from my workouts and too much weed pulling. I have an inexpensive one like this from Amazon and I like the 36" long version so I can roll both legs at the same time.
Mother Nature - Yep, no joke. It is a tool and the one I forget to call upon but I always feel better when I spend a few minutes outdoors even for a couple deep breaths.
A Essential Oil Diffuser - I kind of laughed at myself when I added it to the list, but having something that smells good is like a trigger to take a deep breath. I start all my good days with this.
Beachbody On Demand Service - Just because I am a personal trainer doesn't mean I like to make up all my own workouts. Sometimes I just want to follow along, be challenged by something new or get the encouragement and push of the trainer leading the series. The programs give me something to work towards. The wide variety of workouts and duration are part of the reason I am so consistent. What ever type of movement I need, I can find there. (Note, I am NOT a Beachbody Coach).
"In fact, if you want to have enough to give to others, you will need to take care of yourself first. A tree that refuses water and sunlight for itself can’t bear fruit for others."
It is still a stressful time my friends, so take care of your bad selves -