10 Non-traditional ways to practice self-care
When the topic of self-care comes up, do you roll your eyes and hear the Charlie Brown adult voices..”wah wah”? Well, I want you to consider different ways of practicing self-care. I believe we can practice self-care every day with little time and little to no money and yet gain all the benefits of a consistent practice.
Why should I make self-care a priority?
I've learned when I practice self-care consistently, I'm better equipped to handle the normal stress of everyday life. I’m able to be more productive and engaged with those around me. I'm able to give to others without resentment. I'm less rigid and able to go with the flow more often.
Try these non-traditional ways of practicing self-care
1. Release yourself from perfectionism. No one is perfect. It’s best we stop thinking we can be everything to everyone all the time. Perfectionism steals your joy and is mentally draining. Learning to release perfectionism can be tough, so practicing this one item everyday will be a huge benefit. Read Brene' Brown’s book The Gift of Imperfection for more tips on this topic.
2. Release yourself from self-imposed expectations. We have in our minds what it means to be a mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend. For example, when my children were infants and toddlers, I recall stopping fun with friends if we were out because I needed to get home so I could get my kids in the bed by 7:30-8 pm. Why? Would the parent police come get me if my kids were put to bed late once in a while? This was my self-imposed expectation on what I thought I “should” do as a good mom. To practice self-care, I could have given myself grace more often and stayed visiting with friends.
3. Release yourself from imaginary delegation. Have you assigned a task to someone in the household mentally without informing them? That’s an imaginary delegation. You might be thinking no one has to tell me what to do around here! Well, believe it or not, we are all different and “see” or pay attention to different things. It’s like the boy from the movie “The 6th Sense”, you may be the only one that sees socks on the floor. LOL. Bottom line, practice self-care and let people know what you want AND release the expectations of whether or not they will do it. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz is a short and life changing book that can help you practice this self-care item.
4. Practice deep breathing A few times a day take a moment to practice deep breathing. I have found this practice instantly helpful for me to relax when I feel upset or anxious. Deep breathing is easy and something you can do it practically anywhere and anytime. I like Box breathing. Try it: breathe in for the count of four, hold the breath count of four, then exhale for the count of four, then hold the exhalation for the count of four. Take note of how you feel and repeat if you like.
5. Laugh out loud. When was the last time you had a deep belly laugh? Do you recall how it made you feel? I aim to have them daily as part of my self-care. Save funny videos on YouTube. Or save funny home videos that make you laugh. This is a great short “recess break” for adults.
6. Journaling Do a mind release 5 minutes in the morning or at night. A mind release is allowing yourself to write and release all the random and concerned thoughts. You can decide whether or not to destroy what you wrote. After I do this activity, I am able to focus better.
7. Daily movement If you are not a person who enjoys traditional exercise, consider taking walks each day or do a dance class. These days, many gym studios across the US provide virtual work out dance classes so you can bust a move in the privacy of your home.
8. Find ways to have fun. Do you know what’s fun for you? Not what’s fun for your kids or spouse? Make a point to figure it out and do something you think is fun as often as possible. Attending a Choose Joy Now Network event is a great place to start.
9. Aromatherapy. Essential oils are known to help with stress relief. I use lavender shower mist for relaxing at night or a peppermint shower mist in the morning as an energizer. Find the scents you enjoy most and use them in different ways: shower mist, hand creams, essential oil diffuser, candles.
10. Listen to music Create different music playlists on your phone. Create one for the different moods you might want to create: inspiring, one that get you dancing and one for relaxation.
In summary, it’s good to plan to make time for those big traditional self-care things like massages and vacations. However, in the meantime, consider practicing one or all these non-traditional self-care tips discussed. You will be glad you did.