Many of us wait all year for summer. It brings hot weather, pool time, BBQ’s, trips and sometimes a break from work (i.e. teachers). Summer can also be a stressful time – between the children being out of school, work deadlines, and other responsibilities. It is important to practice self-care year round, but especially during the summer. Practicing self-care is one tool to help our overall mental health. Just like routine examinations are essential to our physical health, routine self-care is necessary for our mental health. Having multiple tools at your disposal increases the chance of recovery and living a fulfilling life. Below are helpful tools to create a self-care routine:
- Schedule self-care:
Having a daily schedule is important for productivity, time management and stress management. We schedule appointments, meetings and other responsibilities (like grocery shopping, cleaning, etc.) but we don’t schedule self-care activities. Writing down self-care activities in your planner/calendar will help you practice self-care as something that is a necessary “To-Do” item for that day.
- Be realistic with what you can add into your schedule:
You will find that some self-care activities require a longer time commitment that others. It is important to be realistic about what self-care activities you can add to your schedule and implement. Choosing self-care activities that take up more time than you have available can diminish the positive effects and create added stress if not scheduled realistically.
- Make a self-care list:
Having a written down list of self-care activities is helpful. If you cannot think of an immediate activity – look to your list. It is also helpful to have a written list because it is something you can add too. When you learn a new self-care activity you can write it down and keep your list growing! I like to break my list into time categories (1-2mins, 10mins, 1 hr, etc.). Categorizing the activities by time makes it easier to add activities realistically into your schedule. It is also helpful to know self-care activities by time, so that you can do spontaneous self-care from time to time. 1-2 minute self care activities are great to do at work, or during the day, when you need a self-care mental rejuvenation.
- Practice healthy sleeping habits:
Having a healthy sleep routine is a necessity, not a luxury. It is also an easy self-care activity that we can do! Healthy sleep habits are a great way to take care of ourselves –both mentally and physically. Also, if you are finding it hard to add in new self-care activities into your schedule, practicing a sleep routine is a good start.
Self-Care Activities Examples:
- Deep breathing
- Scroll through Pinterest
- Find something you are thankful for in the moment
- Soothing bath/shower
- Muscle relaxation
- Meditation (often can find on Apps)
- Listen to music/sing favorite song
- Talk w/ a friend
- Go for a walk
- Planned hour of rest
- Watch a movie alone
You will see that you already do activities that are self-care, but maybe you don’t view them that way. Start by changing the way you think about self-care and making it a priority. Self-care can be as simple as taking a bath, instead of the usual shower. Taking a moment to maintain our mental health doesn’t have to be a chore and it is something that is so necessary to our well-being.