Self Care Doesn’t Have to be Complicated
It is very common for me to end a counseling session by asking a client, “What are you going to do for self care this week?” When we first start working together, a new client might answer, “I don’t have time for self care.” It’s true that we live in an age where everyone is busy and there are typically about 5 things we should be doing. It’s also true that self care doesn’t have to mean doing something time consuming. You may not have time to go for a nature walk, take a yoga class or even enjoy a bubble bath. This is why it it’s important to have a mental list of things you can do during 10 minute break in your schedule or when you start to feel stressed.
Quick Ideas for Self Care
- Take a deep breath. There are a lot of different breathing techniques you can try and most only take a moment!
- Say Thank You. Take your phone out and look through your contacts. Who can you send a quick text message to say thank you either for something specific they’ve done recently or simply for being a part of your life?
- Recall a positive memory. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and bring to mind a time where you felt lighthearted. Try to remember a very specific moment (standing on the beach with waves washing over your feet as opposed to the more general going on vacation) and think of as many details about that moment as you can. What could you see in that moment? What could you feel? What were you smelling or tasting? What sounds surrounded you?
- Listen to a favorite song. Music can have a powerful impact on our emotions so carefully choosing a song that brings you joy can be a powerful form of self care. If you’re alone, play it loudly and sing along! If your with others, put on some headphones, close your eyes and enjoy the music.
- Use a grounding rock. You may choose to keep a grounding rock with you that you particularly like or that has an inspiration word on it or you may just go find a new rock outside each time you do this. Hold a rock in your hand and pay attention to the shape of the rock. Look for all of the little details that you might miss if you weren’t looking so closely. Try to pay such close attention that if later you were asked to pick the rock out of a pile of similarly colored rocks you could. Now notice what the rock feels like. What is the texture of the rock? Does it feel cooler than the air around? This is a form of grounding that can help you let go of other worries and stay in the present moment.
- Do a quick puzzle on a puzzle app. It turns out that these neat apps exist where you can choose a level of difficulty and complete a little puzzle right there on your phone!
- Have a cup of hot tea. It’s widely known that I love hot tea-there are always many choices of hot tea available in my lobby for clients to have before appointments. There is a good reason for this. I was looking at a chart a couple days ago that plotted self care activities based on how long they took at how much of a “happiness boost” you get from engaging in that activity. Guess what? Having a cup of tea ranked low on amount of time it takes and high on the happiness boost!
- Accomplish something small. I wrote a whole blog post on this recently, but the basic idea is that doing anything that gives you a sense of accomplishment can be an easy form of self care.
- Read or listen to a funny joke. If you don’t have a joke book a friend who’s full of good jokes around, try asking your smart phone to tell you a joke. I recently discovered that each time I say, “Siri tell me a joke,” I hear a different joke!
- Slowly and purposefully apply your favorite lotion. Keep a small bottle of a lotion with a scent you prefer at your desk, in your car or next to your bed. When you need a quick “pick me up” mindfully apply the lotion keeping your attention on how the lotion smells and feels in that moment.
Help Developing a Plan for Self Care
Do you want help developing a self care plan that works for your own busy schedule? Do you want accountability implementing a self care plan? If you or someone you love is struggling to maintain optimal mental and emotional health, consider reaching out and calling Aspire Counseling at 573-328-2288. We are a Columbia, MO area counseling center with empathetic, skilled therapists who can help you set goals, develop a self care routine and move forward to build a more fulfilling life. Our therapists would be happy to work with you either just for a couple of sessions to develop and implement a Self Care plan or longer term to work toward overall better mental health.
About the author:
Jessica Tappana MSW, LCSW is the founder, director and a full time therapist at Aspire Counseling. She created Aspire Counseling to provide the Mid Missouri area with a counseling clinic where clients are carefully matched with the right therapist who they will connect with so people feel comfortable in the therapy office. All of our therapists provide at least one evidence based treatment. Jessica is a big proponent of self care and helping people live a fulfilling life!