When we take time to care for ourselves, we are better able to care for others.
And it's all too simple to say "I'll do it later, after I get this done" somehow for most of us later never comes until we are sick and forced to take action.
Here are suggestions made to help you kick start your health care practice:
Create your own customized plan. If you like walking, go for one every day. Write it into your calendar. Playing the piano? Add it in after lunch. I schedule these things—particularly my exercise—like I do medical appointments or job assignments. It’s easier to make them happen that way.
Here are a few other tips that have helped me create more holistic health habits in my day:
Do something fun. Do you like to paint? Pull out the watercolors for a few minutes each day. Love to visit with friends? Schedule a Zoom date. Enjoy cooking? Try a new recipe.
Fun and play are the things we do simply for the enjoyment of it. That’s not a small thing, because play eases our stress and helps us become more creative and resilient.
Get outdoors. I’m writing this on my laptop on the back deck, and the squirrel hanging from the bird feeder is a better distraction than Facebook. Greenspace and the natural environment lower our stress and increase well-being. Take your lunch break outside, go out on the front porch for a minute, mow the lawn, go for a morning walk at the nature park nearby.
Take time out. Our brains need time to restore from the barrage of stimulus coming our way all day long. When I don’t get at least a few minutes of quiet in my day, I am more distracted, irritable, impatient.
Without time to restore, we are prone to burnout and trauma and more susceptible to sickness. But a few minutes of quiet scattered throughout the day is a holistic health habit that will help your mind-body-spirit reset. Turn off the phone. Sit outside, or head to a back bedroom.
Somedays, you can even find me hiding in a closet (not kidding) or parked in some scenic spot alone in the minivan. I've got to get my quiet time. I'm healthier for it. And I'm easier to live with.
Other things to try: A mindfulness practice for a few minutes in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Meditation. Sharing your feelings with a supportive friend. Physical exercise. A good night's sleep. Sleep is vital to how our brains restore and manage stress. Journaling. Gardening. A drive in the country.
Do a few of these things every day. Shape them in ways you enjoy. Sure, your activities may change from day to day, but you’ll be healthier, more relaxed, and more resilient when you build in time for some of these holistic health habits. And when one of us is healthier and happier, we all benefit, because good moods are contagious too.