There is often a misconception that self-care is a luxury or even selfish. This next sentence is important so please put down any distractions, silence your phone, and pay attention.
Self-care is necessary.
Self-care means making your physical, emotional, and spiritual health a priority. The best part is that by engaging in healthy self-care, you are more available to the people in your life. In today’s world where we are on 24/7, always accessible, and sacrificing our presence to make others feel like they are with us on the journey, it is vital that we take time to unplug, unwind, and recharge. Not sure what that looks like or where to begin? I’ve got you covered.
Embrace a change in scenery.
It is important to change up your routine in order hold onto what works and get rid of what doesn't. Book a trip, plan a staycation or just get some time away from the daily responsibilities of life. Once you limit the distractions and connect to your environment, you can truly be present to your needs, wants, and desires.
Invest in yourself.
Focus on your needs. It's not selfish; it's necessary. Change up your look, treat yourself to a spa service or spend quality time with people who make you feel like the best version of yourself. See your health as a long-term investment that you want to see thrive. Consider what environmental factors will contribute to your growth and support; social networks, living quarters, occupation, etc.
Engage in mindful movement.
There are many ways to use our bodies to embrace self-care. As a dance/movement therapist I encourage my clients to try these if they are feeling stuck or do not know where to begin.
Breathe: Our bodies do it involuntarily, but to take full advantage of the benefits of breathing, we must be aware and mindful. Practice deep breathing by inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. This will slow down the heart rate, relax the nervous system and connect you to yourself when things begin to feel out of control.
Stretch: Start by simply reaching your body up or out while breathing in. Stretching through every inch of your body allows for better circulation, more control of our bodies which correlates to our thoughts, and a connection to the present moment. This can be done before you even get out of bed in the morning.
Listen to Your Body: Take body breaks throughout the day to reduce tension and stress. Think head, shoulders, knees and toes. Move out the tension.
It is important to remember that self-care is a practice. It is not about perfecting or achieving, it is about engaging, embracing, and listening to what you need. Be there for yourself and you will see the benefits.
By: Erica Hornthal - Founder of Chicago Dance Therapy