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    March 4, 2019

    Season of (Self) Caring

    The season of gift giving, social gatherings, shopping lists, expectations, obligations, traveling, stress, and chaos is merrily upon us. And while half the fun of the holiday season is being joyfully – and perhaps overwhelmingly – swept up in the whirlwind of festivities, sales, dates, times, and outfits, doing all of these things for others can often make us lose sight of ourselves. Yes, the holidays are about giving thanks and practicing selflessness. But to do so wholeheartedly means making sure that YOU are also being taken care of. Taking care…real care, (and not just showering every morning or treating yourself to a glass of wine on the weekends)…of yourself is as the name suggests, the practice referred to as self-care. We thought this time of year would be the perfect time to talk more about this concept and help you to learn how you can implement it. We hope that by integrating more self-care into your routine, the holiday season (and all year long) will be less stressful and chaotic, and more nourishing to your mind, body, and soul.

    To get started on the concept of self-care, here are 5 questions you should ask yourself:

    1. Think of one thing you truly enjoy doing. When is the last time you did it?

    2. Did you make time for yourself yesterday? Or today?

    3. If something is bothering you or no longer serving you, have you addressed it? Or made any adjustments?

    4. Are you giving your body proper rest each night and nourishment each day?

    5. Are you unable to fully disconnect from work at the end of each day and on the weekends?

    As you read those questions, carefully consider whether they apply to you or not, and if you can answer them. You may need to think about them, re-read them, and look deeply into the telescope of your life before the answers reveal themselves.

    Obviously, these questions are meant to help you gauge your current level of self-care and identify areas for improvement. Areas like enjoyment/fulfillment, breaks and creating mental space, and proper nourishment are all important to consider when evaluating your current prioritization of self-care.

    We all know that you can’t always control your environment, but you CAN control your reaction to it! Not sure how to start? Here are some easy self-care suggestions for you that could implement right away:

    Kick-Off Your Self-Care with One (Or Several) of These Habits:

    1. Start a daily journal or gratitude list

    2. Practice saying ‘no’

    3. Explore a relaxing meditation app, like Calm or Headspace

    4. Go for a walk, call a friend, or do anything else that ‘disconnects’ you at least once a day

    5. Meet with a health coach, dietitian, or counselor to get more personalized guidance

    These are just some small suggestions for self-care that you can start implementing right away, but of course there are countless articles, resources, and outlets for additional self-care strategies. The key to getting the most out of your self-care routine is to make it personal. Figure out what it is that is standing in your way of living healthfully, and then implement the techniques that are personal to your interests, values, and lifestyle. If your employer is offering any stress management or resiliency programs, or opportunities to attend a wellness workshop, be sure to attend! These programs can be excellent starting points for improving your self-care.

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