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(Mental) Refresh

We often have so much on our plate, that self-care or taking time to reset seems virtually impossible and often unnecessary.  Between running errands, kids, house duties, and day to day tasks, many are left feeling that there are not enough hours in the day to complete basic life tasks.  I understand how easy it is to make this mistake in not prioritizing ones self, yet I cannot stress to you how necessary it is to take time to “Refresh.” Lack of self-care can increase anxiety, leave you feeling overwhelmed, decrease your ability to focus, increase depression and irritability and can cause physical symptoms to develop (i.e., headaches, stomach upset).  You are a mother, sister, parent, and employee with many responsibilities, however, while you are taking care of everything and everyone else, most often, no one at all is taking care of you. And even when someone is caring for us, the most precise care, is self-care. It is very important to take a few moments for you. Most individuals feel a day at the spa or a night out with friends is an appropriate form of self-care. And while this is true, going to the spa or hanging out with friends is not something that can possibly be done weekly because of the constant lack of extra time.  So how do we self-care when time always seems limited?

Self-care can be exhibited in many ways aside from the traditional day at the spa, vacation, or night out on the town.  What many fail to realize is that self-care can be done in as little as 5 minutes or as long as 5 days and it is always effective.  The important thing is not the length of time one takes to care and focus on themselves, but any time that is taken just for self garners positive results.  

Here are some ways you can effectively Refresh despite your busy life:

  1. Take 5 Minutes to Focus on Your Breathing – pay attention to your breaths and your body sensations as you breathe in and out: your lungs, and muscles.  As you breathe in, think: “Peace”; and as you breathe out, think: “Calm.”
  2. Mindful Eating – Choose a meal that you do not have to rush to finish.  Take your time to observe your meal and take in the smell.  As you chew, enjoy each bite and be in the moment, not in your head planning the rest of the evening. Many find that this helps in reducing overeating—as we are more aware of when we are full—and it is a way to enjoy food with a positive physical and mental outcome.
  3. Exercise – A brisk walk during your lunch hour or going to the gym after work, will aid in releasing built-up stress and release endorphins that can improve our mood overall.
  4. Journaling – Taking a few moments to write out feelings regarding your day or any thoughts you would like to reflect on, will help in preventing feelings and thoughts from being bottled up.  Failure to express feelings and thoughts often leads to emotional outbursts or break downs. Think of writing as an emotional detox.
  5. Listen to an Audio Book– This can be done on your way to work or when you have a few moments to yourself to put headphones on and ignore external distractions.  Find a book that will inspire you or gives you the opportunity to briefly escape the stresses of life.
  6. Do your Hair and Make-up, Even if You Are Not Going Out – Do you remember how this felt as a kid?  Feeling beautiful and accomplished in a random moment?  You still can embrace your beauty. You don’t need a reason to do so. Get glam and take a selfie!
  7. Plan a Staycation – As wonderful as it is to get away, sometimes responsibilities don’t allow us to go too far.  Planning a staycation can be just as effective. Book a room in a different part of your city or neighboring city and go!  Or move into your guest room for a weekend for a change of pace and catch up on favorite Netflix series. Whether you stay in bed all day or plan an eventful day/weekend out, it’s worth it.  You will return from your Staycation recharged!
  8. Prayer – For those with a spiritual belief.  Taking a few moments to pray at the start of the day often leaves one feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. Meditation is known to produce the identical outcome.
  9. Aromatherapy– Lavender is wonderful for aromatherapy, along with many other scents.  Add scents like coconut, vanilla, hibiscus and others to your bath; or even at work: take a moment to put scented lotion on your hands and rub them together, and then take in slow, deep breaths of the calming scent which can aid in giving you an instant mental boost!

Make a CHANGE! – Change can be represented in your hair style, by buying a new outfit, rearranging a room (home or office), wearing a new color, a new shade of lipstick or eye shadow, trying  a new restaurant or ordering something different at your favorite restaurant, visiting a place outside of your norm, or simply taking a longer bath than usual. Changing your routine can be exactly the thing you need to REFRESH!