Practicing Self Care in Challenging Times
Let’s face it. These are really challenging times we are living in. Whether it is the unpredictable job market, the divided nature of our political system, the economy, global warming or a variety of other things, life sometimes feels a little out of control these days. There has been a lot written about self-care lately, and for good reason. It is hugely important to your mental, emotional, and physical health!
I have always prided myself on being a really positive person. I strive to find the good in people and situations, and to always see the bright side of things. But these days I have found it challenging at times to remain positive with so much negativity surrounding us. I do a lot of things every day to take care of myself, and with the stress level a bit higher these days, it is that much more important to stay the course on my self care habits. It is really easy to fall in to a rut of depression, stress, and lethargy if you let it get out of control. For me that ends up leading to things like eating poorly and weight gain, lack of sleep, irritability, and feelings of low self-worth. I have spent too many years of hard work and self-care to let that happen!
I encourage you to take a look at what you are doing on a daily/weekly/monthly basis to take care of yourself. I mean really take care of yourself! It can be as simple as taking a short walk or reading a book. Jut some time that you take to relieve your mind of stress and re-focus it on something that you like to do. Here are some of the things I do to take care of myself, and some other examples of things you can do as well. Please take a look and share some thoughts in the blog comments of things that you do to take care of yourself in tough times. If these ideas can help one other person to take better care of themselves and live happier, then I/we have done some good today!
Exercise- I love to work out! It keeps me healthy, gets the endorphins flowing, and makes me feel good about myself. It can be as simple as a walk, a run, a bike ride, a workout class, or a hike. But it feels great and will leave you feeling rejuvenated.
Martial Arts- There are few things better for your mind, body, and spirit that martial arts. I have spent 10+ years learning two different disciplines, and there is nothing better to center me and empower me than being out on the mat. You are never too old or young to get started and there are studios all over the country to learn in.
Eat Healthy- Putting the right foods in your body gives you more energy and generally makes you feel stronger, more positive, and just better. I tend to stress eat crappy foods when I feel down and have to really fight the urge to do this. I have to remind myself how much better I feel when I eat right and that helps me to stay on track because I know how much better I will feel.
LAUGH! - There are few things that take my mind off of the stresses these days than laughter. My wife makes me laugh every day, as does some time spent watching a show I love (think Seinfeld, The Office, Curb Your Enthusiasm) and in just 30-minutes or less, I already feel better!
Reading- I really enjoy reading a good book. It takes me away to another time or place, teaches me something new, and just expands my brain. It is a nice diversion and some good down time. I love reading biographies of people who have changed the world. What do you like to read?
Writing- Many people love journaling. I am not one of them. I more prefer to write essays or short stories on whatever topics pop into my head. It gives me a great release and I enjoy the creative process involved in putting it all together. Sometimes I share them with people, sometimes not. They are really just for me in the end, and to provide an outlet for my thoughts.
Sports- I am a sports nut, especially when it comes to baseball. It is not only a passion of mine, but a great way to get my mind off of the tough things around me. Whether it is attending a ballgame, or taking part in a game on the weekend, it really brings me joy and makes me feel good.
Friends/Family- Make time in your life to be with those people who make you feel good. The comfort that you feel around your friends and family can be super uplifting. Make the time to see them on a regular basis.
Music- My wife and I love seeing live music. There are few things that make me happier than seeing a band I love with the person I love. I also started guitar lessons a few years ago. While I am still not a pro by any means, I am at the point that I can really play well enough to make it a positive experience. There are few things I find more cathartic than picking up one of my guitars and strumming for 20 minutes or so.
Travel- I love going to new places and exploring! It doesn’t have to be far away or expensive. It can be as simple as an overnight or weekend away. Sometimes changing the environment around you can have a very positive impact on your outlook.
Take a break from your phone/device- We all get in to bad habits with our devices. There is so much information at our fingertips, both positive and negative, that it makes it hard to give your brain some down time. Shutting it down for a few hours or even a few minutes can really give you a break and let you rest and relax before diving back in.
Meditation- OK, here me out on this one. People assume that all meditation involves sitting cross legged and chanting “OHM” a bunch of times. Definitely not the case. I sometimes just spend 15 minutes in a quiet space, device off, limited light, and close my eyes and control my breathing. Yes, sometimes I do fall asleep! Lol. But sleep is restful too. But usually, I open my eyes feeling rested, rejuvenated, and ready to jump back in and take on the world.
Sleeping- This is something some of us take for granted, but it is so important to get enough sleep. Making sure that you are in bed at a decent hour at night to get 8 hours of sleep is crucial. A brief nap can be really helpful as well during the day, although I am really bad at it. I find it hard to shut down my brain for such a short time. My wife can shut her eyes during the day for 10 minutes, fall asleep immediately, and wake up refreshed and rejuvenated. But hey, we are all different and whatever works for you is the right thing to do.
These are obviously just a few things that can help with self-care. Do what feels right for you, but do something and do it every day! You will be so much stronger for it and will be able to work through these challenging times with greater ease. Just a few minutes a day is all it takes. As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments. Have a great week!
Ron Milman is the Principal of Milman Search Group, a leading National Recruiting/Staffing/Coaching agency efficiently filling positions for companies across a wide variety of industries and specialties, and coaching career seekers.Check them out at www.milmansearch.com or contact Ron directly at firstname.lastname@example.org