First of all, I’d like to say that there isn’t a right or wrong way to practice self-care. When I used to hear that word thrown around I would do a mental eye roll. When it became popularized as an excuse for excessive consumerism, aka “I’m buying this, because ~self-care~” I was even more turned off. However, the meaning of this word has really shifted in my life. To me, self-care has become an ongoing practice of just taking time for myself. I need to do actively present check-ins with myself in the midst this highly charged world to stay grounded and make sure I’m not taking on too much–in a literal and emotional sense. This practice revolves around self-love. Taking the initial time and space for a check-in is 90% of the game, and following through with practice is really the easy part.
Since I’ve started working from home for NMOST I have found daily rituals to be an important part of self-care for me. When everything else in the world seems to be going haywire there is certain delight in the consistency of a day-to-day routine. Here are some of the things I usually do that I consider to be part of self-care.
Everyday when I wake up I go about a fairly specific morning routine before I start work:
1. I boil water for a quart-sized jar of tea and while the water is boiling I usually chug a glass of lemon water. My favorite teas to drink are jasmine green tea, genmaicha, ginger, mint, or chamomile.
2. TIME TO MOVE. Typically, before I break my fast, I like to do some form of movement. That could mean a walk through the neighborhood, stretching, or a yoga class (I highly recommend Glo). In a time crunch I’ll at least do some movement in my office before I have to sit down at the computer.
Throughout my work day I like to move. I stand, walk around, stretch, jump, and sometimes lay flat on the floor. Otherwise, my back and neck start to hurting from the computer posture I slip into. I also like to dance in the kitchen when I’m making lunch. One artist I’ve been listening to a lot lately is Four Tet. Their songs really make me want to dance! If I’m doing an interview for our podcast, Rethinking Hunger that day I always do jumping jacks right before. That gets me pumped up for the call and I think it actually makes my voice less monotone.
Post-work hours are usually more of a restorative time for me and less about generating energy. Some of my self-care activities in the evening would be my bubble bath/face mask/wine-drinking relaxation “spa night,” and cooking for friends and family. I find cooking to be incredibly therapeutic which is why I consider it self-care. I love to create meals from high quality ingredients and have an intention behind what I do–whether that’s learning how to use a vegetable in a new way or pouring extra love into something to share. Living with “Quality + Intention” is my current mantra, and helps hold me accountable if I feel myself slipping away from self-care! The truth is, maintaining a good level of self-care is not always easy, and I have to remind myself to take that time and make that space all the time! But when I do, I notice that I have more energy on reserves to be productive and I am more aligned with my goals in life.