Love is in the air – so what better time to treat yourself to some self-love in the form of self-care? It can be easy to lose yourself in the daily grind. Many even still believe the misconception that self-care is selfish. This can be especially true if you tend to be someone puts other’s needs before your own. Sound like you? Then read on.
Now of course, there is nothing wrong with loving and caring for others, but we are much more able to do this fully when we also care for ourselves first.
Think of it this way – you can’t serve from an empty cup.
It is essential – not selfish – that we first fill ourselves up in order to be more whole and better able to love, support, and care for those around us. Below are 5 of our favorite ways to ‘fill our cups’, feel free to share yours with us in the comments section!
- Create a bedtime ritual for better sleep: Quality sleep can be a game changer for physical and mental well-being. To get better sleep, try creating a ritual each night to signal to your body when it’s time to wind down. This can be as simple as sipping some sleepy time tea, brushing your teeth, and reading a chapter from a book before turning out the lights. Other ideas include hot Epsom salt baths, meditation practices, restorative yoga, or anything else that helps ease and relax your mind and body.
- 5 Senses Tea Time: Sipping on tea can be a simple, but powerful self-care practice. Start by finding a flavor of tea you enjoy, and mindfully enjoy it start to finish. Notice the sound of the teakettle whistling, how the warm cup feels in your hand, how the color of the liquid darkens as it steeps, the smell of the tea leaves, and finally the taste of the tea. Try to keep your focus on the tea until the cup is empty. You’d be surprised how grounding one simple cup of tea can really be.
- Take 3-5 long, deep breaths: Inhale for a count of 4, hold for a few seconds, then exhale slowly for a count of 8. Repeat 3-5 times. That’s it.
- Aromatherapy: Essential oils might provide us with a delightful-smelling way to tap into our central nervous systems. Smells like orange and peppermint have shown to be uplifting and invigorating, bergamot can increase feelings of positivity , and lavender might help us feel more happy and calm.
- Stretch and/or move your body: Movement and stretching can release chemical compounds (endogenous opioid neuropeptides) in the nervous system commonly known as endorphins. These guys can be key in combating excess stress and helping us feel happier. So, next time you’re feeling stressed try taking a stroll through the park, hitting a restorative yoga class, or finding another way to move your body that feels good to you.
Nichole Baumgartner, LPC-IT