Self-Care Made Simple - Carson Tahoe Health

Managing your mental and physical health is never an easy feat. Add a global pandemic, a turbulent election year, and everything else 2020 so generously blessed us with. The onset and marathon of COVID-19 robbed many people of their jobs, maybe their alone time, and inarguably brought great loss. Because of the constant and immense stress, many people may have created new (and not so great) habits. Last year taught us that our health is our most important asset and it is up to us to be aware of our needs and make sure they’re filled.

Cue self-care.

Yes, it’s been a buzz word for a while, but what does it actually mean to take care of yourself? Think about it – as it looks different for everyone. We could tell you to wake up an extra 10 minutes early to meditate (and we will later). We could tell you to slow down and cook yourself a healthy meal, or to Zoom your friends … whatever it is, and as many things as we suggest, you have to find what brings YOU personal peace and well-being.

It’s As Easy As 1 – 2 – 3

  1. Create a goal of how you want to feel. Ask yourself what it really looks like for you to be in your most comfortable body, physically able, and mentally clear.
  2. Once you have an idea of what you want to feel like, ask yourself what it takes to get there. Maybe refer back to a time where your health was in its prime, where you were happy, or where you felt at ease. Can you recreate that moment or the steps that lead up to it?
  3. Revel. Whatever your self-care routine looks like, make sure you are fully immersed in what you are doing and focusing on. This is the only way you’ll be able to truly relax, and maybe let go of your to-do list, even if just for a moment.

Self-Care Isn’t Selfish

Ever felt like taking time for yourself seems selfish? That what we described above doesn’t seem to fit in your schedule? Maybe you could be working, cooking dinner, assisting your children with online learning, cleaning, doing bills … the list goes on. The good news? The list will always be there, there will always be more to do so it’s important to MAKE time for yourself.

We mentioned that creating a self-care routine, one that truly sticks, is also very personal. But, here are a few ideas to get you on track.

  • Try a new recipe, maybe something healthy … did you know foods can actually affect your mood?
  • Go for a walk or bike ride, rain or shine. Getting fresh air and a little vitamin D can help regulate the amount of calcium (think strong bones & teeth) in the body.
  • Spend time with people who bring you joy. Whether it’s someone you just met, or a life-long friend or family member, make the effort. COVID also caused mass isolation. Reintroduce yourself or catch up with those you care for.
  • Make art. It doesn’t have to be good. Write, draw, paint, play an instrument, practice wood working, just create something. All of these things help focus the mind and create calming effects on the body, similar to meditation.
  • Start a new book or TV show. Sometimes all we need is a break. If this helps you to unwind, and benefit your mood, it’s self-care … and you deserve it.
  • Set your phone down and press pause on social media for a week. The Internet is full of heavy news, social media is full of comparisons, and everywhere you scroll, there’s an information overload. Just set down the need for instant media access, and you’ll have a little extra time for something soothing.

While self-care can often benefit your mental and physical health, sometimes you can’t do it alone. If you’re in need of mental or substance use services, please visit CarsonTahoe.com/BHS for assistance.

Remember, taking care of you is your job! You can’t continue to live the life you want if your health fails.

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Meditation As a Form of Medication

Something you can practice anywhere, anytime. It doesn’t require a fancy app, or soft music playing in the background (although sometimes that helps). It just requires you to sit down, be still, and be quiet. If your mind wanders (it probably will) just return to thinking about the breath. What does it feel like to inhale … and exhale … can you slow down and lengthen your breaths to simultaneously calm your nervous system? Can you relax your muscles, maybe the space between your eyebrows, and unhinge your jaw? Can you sit down, be still, and be quiet, even when it’s inconvenient or doesn’t feel comfortable? Look … you’re meditating. And whether you immediately realize it or not, you’re reaping the benefits of giving your mind and body a break. Pro tip: start with just a minute, and maybe work yourself up to 5 minutes, then 10 or 20. Regardless of time spent mediating, you’re creating a soft place for your brain to land. Who knows, maybe you’ll enjoy it so much, you’ll soon set aside ½ hour.