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Self Care Ideas: How to Take Care of You

Let’s check in with you: What is overwhelming you at this moment? Who or what is occupying all the space in your
head throughout the day? Is it one person or thing? Are there multiple people and things vying
for your attention? Do you ever feel that you’ll never be able to slow down and just enjoy life? Maybe a
relationship went south and you’re going through a breakup. You’re in a high-stress career with a job that is inundating you with to-do lists. Perhaps your child may have special needs. The list can go on and on. You may feel more like a human-doing instead of a human being.

Many of us feel like our value and worth comes from the titles we hold, relationships we have, and the events on our calendars. Our seasons of life are measured by these things and let’s face it, some seasons are better than others. You may be in one of those “off seasons” right now.

When we feel overwhelmed, disconnection from the people and things we love often follows.
This is where self-care comes into play. Have you ever thought about what the word self-care
means to you? My definition of self-care is the discipline of actions that help me stay true to
myself. Now, your definition may be different from mine but take a moment to think about what
it means to you. When working with therapy and life coaching clients dealing with challenging situations I find that the
vast majority of them are greatly lacking in self-care. They can’t identify the things they love to
do and their relationships are not in the healthiest of places.

So how do you fit self-care into your life again? Here are some simple self-care ideas:

1. Think about the things you used to love to do (i.e. write, read, exercise, hang-out with
friends). Write them down.

2. Identify some new activities, things, or places you’ve always wanted to try or visit. Write those
down.

3. Master the 5 minutes. This is my tool for helping clients get on a routine schedule of self-
care. When choosing things you want to add to your life on a daily basis like reading, meditation, or exercise you start with a goal of 5 minutes per day. This may sound too simple but if you’re able to commit to 5 minutes you’re more likely to complete it than say
setting aside an hour every day. If you do more than 5 minutes, great! If not, at least you’re
getting in the habit. When you’ve consistently hit your 5-minute habit for one week progress
to 10 minutes. Slowly adding 5 minutes every week until you’ve hit a goal time (i.e. 1 hour
of exercise a day). Choose from the activities you listed in Step 1.

4. Research the class availability or schedule that relates to the activities you listed from Step 2.

5. Add one event/class/place from your list from Step 2 on your calendar for this month.

6. Make it fun! If you want to exercise but you hate the Stair Stepper, sign up for a dance
class. If you want to read more, choose a genre that you enjoy.

7. Get support and accountability! As we all know, it’s harder to keep commitments to yourself than it is to others. Enlisting the support of an accountability partner can help you follow through.

These are just a few self care ideas to get started on your journey. As you get in the discipline
of practicing the steps you’ve chosen you’ll find you may want to take on more. If you find it difficult to follow through, consider enlisting the support of a great mentor or life coach to help keep you on track, keep you creative, and keep you aware of sticking points or unrealistic
expectations that may limit you.

Blessings!

Sonya Jensen, M.A., LMFTA

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