By Brian Barthelemy, LAc
Self Care at Home
Be your own bodyworker with self care.
Every night for the past 400+ days (and counting!), my family and I have laid down in one of my kids’ rooms and done a meditation right before bedtime. I’m not talking about an hour long breathing experience. We do roughly five minutes, give or take, on an app I downloaded.
You can be your own bodyworker with selfcare. As an example, my kids are not huge fans of sleep. Whether it’s going to bed for the night or taking a nap, they usually are not interested. Adding this short selfcare practice has made a huge difference in our nightly routine. It settles everyone down, it gives us some family time, and it has made getting to sleep a little easier for them. This practice has helped me highlight the other seemingly little things that make big impacts throughout the day.
Short effective practices are a great way to take care of your body when you feel like time is too limited for the “bigger” actions. It’s important not to fall into an all or nothing mentality when it comes to selfcare. Five minutes may seem like a short amount of time, but it’s more than enough time to alter your mood and relieve some stress. Some studies have shown that deep breathing for 10-20 minutes a day can help lower your blood pressure. Think about that, 10-20 minutes a day could change your life.
Making it a Routine
Would it be awesome if everyone had a regular scheduled exercise routine, perfect sleep hygiene, a meditation practice, and ate a well-balanced diet? Yes, it would be awesome, but is that realistic for everyone? Certainly not. Is it more reasonable to think that most people could do all of these things on a smaller scale? I think so.
Here are some small actions you can think about throughout the day are:
- Deep Breathing: taking three deep breaths a few times a day is a great way to start.
- Hydration: The general rule I follow is ½ oz. per pound of body weight, and adjust if necessary.
- Stretching: get up and stretch/move your body throughout the day.
- Movement/Exercise: This could be taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking a little further away from the store entrance. It also could be doing some light soft tissue work.
- Be in nature: This could literally just be standing outside for a couple minutes. (also a great place to practice that deep breathing!)
- Laugh! (They say it’s the best medicine!)
- Nap : as long as it’s appropriate. Maybe not during work or school hours, but you get the point. 10-20 min may be all you need for a pick me up.
- Express yourself: Draw/doodle, dance, sing, be goofy, yell. Again maybe choose an appropriate setting, but let it out!
- Limit distractions when eating and be present.
- Do nothing: Let your body stop and settle. Close your eyes and just sit without tv, music, etc. (another great companion for deep breathing.) You could do this anywhere, but I personally like to do this for a minute or so in the car right when I get home.
I could give example after example of short small actions you could add throughout your day, but the main point is, do what you can, when you can. I’m sure some of these seem like silly things, but your body needs this stuff to stay physically and mentally sane.
Starting Your Self Care
How should you start? Pick one thing and build that habit. You really can be your own bodyworker with self care. Something that only takes 5-10 minutes a day is a great place to start. Those 5-10 minutes don’t even have to be consecutive! Checking in for 1-2 minutes to breathe multiple times a day is a great selfcare practice! Your new practice will become part of the normal routine. It won’t feel like something “extra” or something you have to “make time for ”. It will just be another part of your day, and you can eventually add time to that practice or pick another habit to stack on top of that when you are ready. These little things sometimes feel “too small to make a difference”, but I assure you, if you are consistent, and you build on them, they will change your life. I hope these thoughts were helpful.
Thanks for reading.
Want to know more about self care?
If you are interested in more ways to be your own bodyworker with self care, Join us on March 24th for an in-person event. Register here.