Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Road to Self Care Starts Here!

PLUS 44 Other Ideas to Get You Started


Self-Care is the new buzz word.  In fact according to a NPR article, "The Millennial Obsession with Self Care" Millennials make more personal improvement commitments and spend twice as much in the pursuit of self-care than any other generation, especially in the area of workout regime, diet plans, life coaching, therapy and apps to improve personal well being.

The question is...Why?

Is this a problem/solution of our own making or just the solution to a busy lifestyle that often leaves us feeling self neglected?  This is the generation that has grown up in the age of the internet and social media.  It has never been easier to find information on any topic and never have we been so bombarded by images of impossible high standards.  We are no longer keeping up the the Jones'. We are now keeping up with the Kardashians (and a slew of other celebrities).

On the other hand, never has mental illness gotten so much attention, and we are at a point where the stigma surrounding it is at it's lowest point ever (although we still have a loooong way to go), so people are more willing than ever to seek the help that they need.  Self-care is seen as one way to address anxiety, depression and other illnesses or to help guard against them, and the internet provides almost endless possibilities and ideas on self-care.

I agree with both points.  The amount of knowledge that one has at their finger tips is staggering.  The ease at which I can reconnect with old friends, participate in the lives of loved ones living far away, swap funny memes and videos has truly been a blessing.

Yet, it is also a curse.  I have a chronic headache that won't go away.  Google the possibilities, and I either am dying from a brain tumor or it's stress.  Oh look, there is a politically charged story.  What do the comments say? Oh, can't repeat that one, or that one, oh my that wasn't very nice, they can't really thing that....  Oh and look, there is that single friend I have.  My, my, she looks like she is still 20. Oh, and she is saving elephants in Malaysia after she finishes climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Trying to fit it all in while she is on sabbatical from her wildly successful career.  

Yeah, sometimes scrolling through Instagram and FB and others like it leaves me wondering if I'm doing enough with my life, are my kids doing enough with their lives, do I have more wrinkles than I should, do she have botox, do I need botox, do I need to lose 10 pounds, should I be volunteering more, maybe I should force the kids on more "family outings", so we can look like we are having fun too?

Or, I read articles and comments (never read the comments), and am left feeling in a state of despair over the ignorance and hatefulness that humans can display, and I have to remind myself that not everyone, in fact most people, aren't like that. So how does one get out of this vicious circle? Fun fact: the term "self-care" was googled twice as much following the Nov 8 election than it ever had been before.  Whether your side "won" or "lost", the whole process was long and soul draining.

Self-care is the act of you taking steps to help yourself before your mind, body or soul suffers a breakdown.  It's like an immunization or a booster to help inoculate yourself from the negative or the annoying things in the world or it could be like an antibody helping to rid yourself of the things that are stressing you out.  The possibilities are endless as to what specific self-care "treatments" you can carryout, so how do you choose what is right treatment for what ails you?

The greatest act of self care I think anyone can give themselves is to put down the phone and clear the noise, so that you can hear your own voice.  Social media adds to the noise, but that isn't the only source or even the loudest or most significant source for many of us.  Sometimes it is in the form of your pushy/bossy/opinionated good friend who "knows" what you should do.  Sometimes it is a family member's voice whispering in our ear making you question yourself and your choices. Sometimes it's a frenemy or someone in your social circle you are comparing yourself to.  Quiet those imaginary (or not so imaginary) voices, opinions, noise, so you can hear and own your own voice. Ask yourself what you want and need, not what you think you should want or what others would want you to do.  And while you have a moment of peace and quiet, take the time to appreciate the people in your life right now that bring you joy through their love for you, or their kindness and generosity with others.  Shrink your world for a little while.

The #1 Greatest Act of Self Care: Take the Time to Listen to Your Own Voice

Clear the noise of others and ask yourself these 4 questions:

1. What do you love/like about your life right now that you want to keep the same.
2. What do you want to Change in your life?
3. What do you want to Eliminate from your world?
4. What do you want to invent or take on or add to your life?

Now Go Do It.

Bonus Ideas for Self-Care That Take 15 minutes or less

I realize that as a Mom it is often hard to get even 5 minutes.  What I have found works is that I tell my husband I'm going to the bathroom, and it may be a while.  Can you take care of the kids?  He gets a horrified look on his face and asks no questions.  I close the bedroom door and pick something off of my list.   


  1. Take a walk around the block in your flip flops or if you feel extra ambitious put on your sneakers and jog
  2. Close your door and dance to your favorite songs from when you were a teen
  3. Do 10 squats(or more if you want), then turn around and look at your butt in the mirror and say, "Nice ass!"
  4. Gently stretch
  5. Shadowbox while listening to the theme song from Rocky.  If you have access to a computer, watch the movie clips on Youtube.  
  6. Make that Dr's appointment you have been putting off.
  7. Lie on your back with your legs up on a wall and just breath for a few minutes.  You can put a pillow under your hips to make it even more comfortable.  
  8. Close your eyes and take a deep slow breath in, hold for a beat, then slowly let it out.  Repeat 4 times. (Why 4 times?  Just sounds like a nice even number, but remember to listen to your own voice and breathe however many times you like.)


  1. Call a friend
  2. Text a friend (if you are like me and don't like to talk on the phone)
  3. Plan a field trip to a new place with a friend (or by yourself if you want, but then it's not "social") such as:
    1. an art museum or any museum
    2. have lunch at a swanky hotel
    3. go to a new cafe
    4. visit a shopping center or store you've never been to
    5. Go to the next town and see what's there.
  4. Meet a friend for a quick coffee in the morning or for a quick drink in the afternoon/evening.
  5. Unfollow someone whose posts: a) you don't care about, or b) irritate you  (Maybe they are of a different political mindset or maybe they post too many memes.  Hey, I'm not judging. It's your self care) FYI: when you unfollow someone, you still stay friends.  Their posts just no longer show on your feed, so you are the only one who knows you did it.
  6. Leave 5 minutes early for work and on the drive in let everyone you can take that turn, merge into traffic, etc.)
  7. Surprise your kids by springing them out of school 15 minutes early and go for ice cream somewhere or to the park.
  8. Play Minecraft (or some other video game) with your kids.


  1. Notice how many times you say "should" to yourself.  I "should" go to that event. I "should" do the dishes before I go to bed. I "should" want to volunteer more. We "should" take the kids camping. I'm not saying you need to do something about it, just notice it. Sometimes doing what you "should" is the right thing.  I'm just saying notice when you think or say it.
  2. Get rid of one thing in your life that you keep out of guilt (it could be an object like a gift, a commitment, or even a relationship that is past its time)
  3. Wash your face and put on a mask**
  4. Put on makeup
  5. Curl/Straighten your hair (don't cut it yourself unless you are a professional - don't ask me how I know)
  6. Shave your legs and put on self tanner
  7. Schedule something to look forward to this weekend like:
      1. Painting your nails
      2. Getting your hair done
      3. Watching a show or movie
  8. Watch Funny cat (or any animal) videos
  9. Think of something you want to change and schedule a 15 minute baby step that will take you closer towards it.
  10. Listen to a short podcast
  11. Read a Magazine
  12. Color - use an adult coloring book or steal your kids.  It doesn't matter.  
  13. Light a candle and stare at it (This is actually a form of meditation, so you can say you meditate now)
  14. Make a cup of tea and actually drink it while it is hot
  15. Slowly and lovingly eat a piece of the best chocolate you can buy (buy some to keep on hand for these occasions.  I hide mine in an empty tampon box in my closet.  No one has ever found it.)
  16. Look through old pictures (on your phone or in an old album or even your old year books)
  17. Clean off your desk, clean out a drawer or a section of your closet
  18. Write a letter from your 80 year old self to your current self. What advice will she give?
  19. Start a nagging project you have been putting off/
  20. Make a list of everything you accomplished today.  If it's an especially bad day start with "got out of bed and got dressed" Don't forget things like, "Fed the kids," and "Kept the pets alive"
  21. Pour yourself a glass of wine and sit outside and drink it. (Unless you are hiding in your bathroom, then look outside and drink it. No window, look at a picture of nature and drink it.)
  22. Think of one small luxury you would like and schedule the time to get it on your calendar.  It could be:
    1. Buy "good" colored pencils for your adult coloring book or buy an adult coloring book
    2. Splurge on a fancy, smelliscious soy candle.
    3. Buy that new fancy soap, shower gel, expensive bail polish, shampoo, etc.
  23. Donate to a cause you believe in.  You can donate on line or schedule time to donate time.
  24. Put on heels, a fancy dress and some lipstick and sing your favorite ballad Celine/Whitney style.
  25. Get rid of those jeans or pants you will never get into.  Give those pants the finger as you stuff them deep into the bottom of your donation box.
  26. Ask someone for help.  Such as:
    1. Ask you spouse to unload the dishwasher
    2. Ask your kids to clear the table while you sit on your bum a while longer after dinner
    3. ask the lady with great hair who her stylist is or what product she uses.
  27. Read your favorite parts of your favorite book
  28. Channel your inner tween or teen and write in a journal whatever you are actually feeling, uncensored without care to grammar or spelling.  You can shred or burn it after it makes you feel better.
** You can take a bath if that works for you.

What else would you add to the list or what changes have you made to better take care of yourself?  

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