During these unprecedented times, there has been a lot of talk about self-care so I wanted to share information about the benefits of self-care and also provide suggestions regarding things that you can do to take better care of yourself.

Some of the benefits to self-care include slowing down heart rate, improving digestion, reducing stress and muscle tension, reducing anger and frustration, boosting confidence, and ability to find solutions to problems.  For those of us who have busy schedules, we may think that it’s self-indulgent to take time for ourselves.  However, studies have shown that people who meditate, practice mindfulness, and simply set time aside to exercise are more likely to maintain a sense of calm and inner peace.

Here are five steps to self-care:

  1. Rest – Cease work or movement to relax, refresh, or recover strength.
  2. Relax – Make or become less tense or anxious.
  3. Reflect – Think deeply or carefully about something.
  4. Release – a. Allow or enable to escape from confinement; set free.
  5. Reclaim – Retrieve or recover (something previously lost, given, or paid); obtain the return of… (joy, peace, love, etc.).

To relax, we must first stop what we are doing and get still.  Rest is especially important and necessary for the body to rejuvenate itself.  So, set aside time every day to simply rest.  While in this state, relax the body.  There are many ways to relax and here are few techniques commonly used:

  • Deep breathing – deeply inhale (hold a few seconds) then exhale.
  • Meditation – train the mind to focus and redirect your thoughts.
  • Prayer – connect with your higher power.
  • Music Therapy – listen to soothing music.
  • Visualization – tap into your sense of inner peace.

As you breathe deeply, think about inhaling positive energy, and as you exhale think about releasing negative energy.  Repeating this several times will begin to create a shift within your body.  If you have never taken time to meditate, it might make you very relaxed to the point that you want to go to sleep (and that’s okay).  Meditation is a way to focus your thoughts.  Use meditation to increase awareness of yourself and your surroundings. Many people think of meditation as a way to reduce stress and develop heightened concentration.  Prayer is a way to connect to the ultimate force of the universe.  Whatever/whoever you consider to be your higher power, by closing your eyes and connecting to the “source” you can create a calming spiritual experience.

Another way to relax is by focusing your attention on something soothing such as soft jazz, classical music, or the sound of ocean waves.  If you love nature, you could also take a walk and simply enjoy the beauty of your surroundings.

Using the visualization technique, you can tap into your inner peace and power. As you begin to utilize the visualization technique on a regular basis to focus on what you want to manifest in your life, i.e., better health, greater joy, and/or the achievement of a goal you will notice small changes that will move your life in the direction you want to go.

In addition to using the techniques outlined above, it can also be helpful to connect with supportive family and friends.  Encourage close family members and friends to engage in self-care activities with you.  Since many of us are still practicing social distancing, you can schedule a zoom meeting to meditate, pray, and/or practice the visualization technique together with family and friends.

As you relax using whichever technique(s) feels best to you, begin to reflect, which is simply thinking deeply and carefully.  Think about anything you want to release.  See yourself letting go of any painful experiences.  Let go of any negative thoughts that might be holding you back.  Let go of any negative feelings of doubt or insecurity.  Then replace those thoughts with positive thoughts and positive energy.  See yourself reclaiming your joy.  Reclaim your health and well-being.  Reclaim your sense of calm and spirituality.  Reclaim happiness.  See yourself smiling and filling up with love.  See God’s love pouring into you and overflowing.

No matter what is going on around us, what’s most important is what is happening within us.  You deserve to live your best life right now.  You get to create the life of your dreams and it starts by taking excellent care of yourself.  We only get one life so live it to the full: mind, body, and soul.

Love yourself first and give to others from your overflow!

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