It is so nice to be back to the blog, I have definitely missed this creative outlet.  I decided to take a break during my post-election blues, then one massive work project after another took hold and way too much time passed.

Today, I wanted to touch on practicing good self-care.  I can definitely feel a huge difference in my life when I take the time to take care of myself.

Here are some of the ways I practice self-care:

Meditation

Taking 5 to 20 minutes a day to meditate is really important for helping me keep my anxiety and general frustration at bay.  When I am busy I tend to use it as a band aid when I am having a rough day, however I feel I reap the most benefits from a regular practice.

Youtube is a great free source for guided meditations and there are also many apps out there that can help beginners establish a practice.

Meditation helps reduce stress and anxiety, increases self-awareness and optimism, and helps foster self-acceptance.

Meditation for Anxiety

Sleep

I cannot be my highest self without 8 hours of sleep.  When I make sleep a priority, I am a happier and more emotionally stable person.  In order to get to bed on time, I make a point of starting to wind down an hour before I want to go to bed.  I shut off the T.V., get ready for bed, light my lavender candle, meditate and read for a bit.

Why sleep is important

Exercise

Working out is a great stress reliever and it releases endorphins which create feelings of happiness and euphoria.

Endorphins

I also notice a boost in my self-confidence when I am working out regularly.  The internal critic is a bit quieter.  Here find more benefits to regular exercise.

Getting Outside

For me getting out in nature has an immediate impact on my mood.  I find that I feel a sense of overall calm and peace.  One of the benefits of having my pup is he forces me to get outside and smell the roses every single day.  Being outside has been shown to lower cortisol levels, improve mental fatigue and reduce levels of anxiety.

Spending Time with my Dog

Research shows that spending just a few minutes with your dog can “lower anxiety and blood pressure, and increase levels of serotonin and dopamine, two neurochemicals that play big roles in calm and well being. People performing stressful tasks do better when there’s a dog around, too, and studies show dogs ease tension both at the office and between married couples.”

Beach pic

Gratitude

When I am feeling like nothing in my life is going right, taking the time to stop and write a list of things I am grateful for immediately makes my problems right sized.  It allows me to see all of the good things I have in my life.

I am at my happiest when I am doing all of these things.  In order to fit all of these things into my day, I have to make a conscious effort to put my well being at the top of my to do list and I am always happy when I do.

What do you do to practice self-care?