Big list of healthy self care ideas

Hi Friends!

I’ve been seeing a lot of self care idea lists floating around the internet. Self care can be anything you want it to be and I’m certainly not here to dictate your life. However, I’ve noticed some of the ideas don’t really seem very healthy.

I think it’s fine and even great to indulge once in a while on a favorite meal or dessert, have wine in the evening or a drink with friends. Sometimes we need to buy ourselves something nice if we haven’t done that in a while or binge on Netflix. Though enjoyable, these things are not self-care.

My ideas of self care are things that will promote healthy habits and improve my brain and body. My self-care routine includes things that help me to de-stress.

Alcohol and mindless TV actually do not relieve stress as many people think they do.

Things that relieve stress include exercise or any physical activity, inner reflection such as journaling, meditating or improving your coping skills, eating healthy and getting enough sleep, sharing your thoughts and feelings with someone and developing and keeping personal boundaries, just to name a few.

When we use food, drinks, shopping or mindless TV as ways of de-stressing we are actually developing poor coping skills. That is not to say that regular massage isn’t beneficial because we have to pay for it. That’s different than buying the latest tech gadget. Having a pedicure is a nice self-care treat but if you feel you’re doing it to keep up an image or you can’t afford to do so, it is not longer helpful but creating more stress.

I am suggesting that you are careful with your self-care practice and don’t just follow a list someone made and posted on Pinterest. Don’t even follow my list if it’s something that’s unhealthy for you. Everyone needs to come up with their own self-care tool kit and keep adding to it.

That said, some people need ideas. So I’m going to list some of my ideas below. I believe these to be healthy and, if done often, will promote good coping skills and less stress in your lives.

Let me know what you think below in the comments!

    Self massage, especially feet, neck, shoulders and temples.
    Have an early night
    Take a nap if needed
    10 minutes of stretching
    Read a good book
    Reach out to a friend
    Write a hand written letter
    Gratitude journal
    Say no without feeling guilty
    Delegate tasks appropriately
    Remove toxic people from your life.
    Let go of the little things (stop the glory of perfectionism)
    Mindfully have a cup of tea or coffee
    Prioritize your day and stick to it.
    Take care of a few small annoying tasks.
    Develop personal boundaries
    Take a relaxing bath or shower
    Learn to meditate (apps and YouTube are helpful for beginners)
    Mind map or brain dump
    Do something creative
    Take a walk
    Open windows. Enjoy sunshine and fresh air.
    Have your lunch outside if possible
    Communicate your needs effectively
    Practice active listening (helps to bond with others and be in the moment)
    Evaluate your life’s priorities and change accordingly.
    Be willing to accept life’s ups and downs.
    Find joy in the ordinary
    Listen to talks by your favorite people (motivational, spiritual, Ted talks that are beneficial to your person, etc).
    Play games on your phone that help your brain (rather than mindless ones). Check out games that prevent dementia/Alzheimer’s like puzzles, word games and problem solving.
    Expand your vocabulary by reading rather than listening to audio books.
    Listen to audiobooks while driving or exercising.
    Find health recipes online and make a cookbook of your favorites.
    If you eat meat, try eating vegetarian or vegan for a day to expand your palette and senses and do something good for the world.
    Don’t compare yourself to others.
    Stop negative thinking in it’s tracks and replace with a positive thought or affirmation.
    Seek help for problems you can’t solve on your own.
    Schedule dedicated time for yourself every single day.
    Instead of apologizing for your thoughts, feelings or behaviors thank the person you’re speaking to for acknowledging them.
    Develop a morning and nighttime routine and try to stick to it.
    Make your lunch and pick out your outfit for the next day.
    Make sure you get at least ten good laughs in every day (watch funny clips, tell jokes, be light-hearted and silly)
    Declutter one drawer or area each day until your free of clutter.
    Say no or cancel plans if needed and do not feel guilty.
    Remember that you are not responsible for others actions.
    Listen to music
    Plan a date with yourself or your partner.
    Explore something new (food, location, hobby or interests)
    Stroll slowly through a museum, aquarium or park noticing details
    Try to stick to a sleep schedule
    Fast walk or jog for half an hour (or even ten minutes if that’s all you can do)
    Try a new form of exercise or a new sport.
    Play with your pet if you have one.
    Call your biggest supporter when needed.
    Make connections with people, big and small (even with the various workers we encounter every day)
    Write or think about 5 things you love about yourself.
    Express your feelings.
    Learn how to calm yourself on your own command
    Try deep breathing techniques.
    Learn how to do a body scan meditation (yoga Nidra)
    Allow yourself extra time in the morning to look your best.
    Leave early for work without rushing.
    Donate to charities
    Do something nice for a neighbor (cut their grass, bake them some cookies or bring in their garbage cans)
    Challenge yourself to drink about 2 liters of water each day
    Join or start a book club
    Use a foam roller to work out any kinks
    Walk or bicycle
    Pamper yourself with excellent skin care (Pamper doesn’t mean expensive! For example, Vanicream is one of the best face washes out there. It is very good for all skin types)
    Treat yourself to a new item of clothing, if needed
    Cook with love and care.
    Focus on the positive.
    Develop a mindset that there are no problems, only opportunities to learn and grow (and develop a new skill set).
    Do everything slowly and mindfully. Stop rushing.
    Identify and stop a bad habit (putting yourself down, swearing, going to bed too late, using food for comfort, etc)
    Surround yourself with good textures (cozy blanket, comfortable clothing)
    Wear comfortable shoes
    Compliment yourself in the mirror.
    Don’t succumb to the pressures of an unrealistic life portrayed on social media.
    Curate your Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, etc to only follow people who inspire and educate you.
    Likewise, unfollow Facebook “friends” who are negative and always complaining.
    Learn and try different grounding techniques.
    Indulge in essential oils
    Cuddle, exchange a massage, or have someone brush your hair. Do not underestimate the power of physical touch.
    Try doing some random acts of kindness to strangers.
    Tell someone you love them and why you appreciate them.
    Expand your mind by learning about other cultures, religions and ideas.
    Let go of always having to be right or have the last word.
    Be willing to fall apart so you can come back together even stronger.
    Catch yourself when you judge another and remind yourself that everyone has a right to their own beliefs and that you’re not here to change anyone.
    Try learning about and doing some shadow work.
    Learn to practice patience in preparation to do a job right the first time.
    Be brave. Go outside your comfort zone.
    Learn how to be a good host/hostess and throw a dinner party (form connections, practice serving others).
    Organize your desk, vanity, wardrobe or a drawer.
    Develop a budget and financial plan
    Think before you speak.
    Be the friend you want to have.
    Practice honesty and good values.
    And once in a while blow your own damn mind!

Please let me know what you thought of these ideas and what you’d like me to add!

May you be happy and well!

One video to watch today!

I found this video today and wanted to share it. Oprah’s best advice. This is so worth watching and taking to heart.

We all know her. We all love her. I give you Oprah. Enjoy!

I hope you found something that resonates with you. May you be happy and well along your journey.

Jump start your mojo (for caregivers)

I work with sick kids, like, really sick kids. Their health and developmental issues flow into every aspect of their lives from something as seemingly simple as eating or sleeping to socializing and even just meeting milestones or being able to function on a daily basis.

They are in and out of hospitals and have challenges thrown at them from every angle every day. I personally know of babies that have had 6 surgeries before their first birthday. Could you imagine having a surgery approximately every 3 months of your entire life? It’s a life few can imagine.

There is a certain kind of stress that comes along with being a nurse or caregiver of any kind to children like this. Parents, especially, have to put their own lives and health on hold just to keep their little ones afloat let alone thriving.

We’ve all been overwhelmed. Peds physicians, NP’s, social workers, nurses, etc have all had days that have been incredibly overwhelming.

Maybe you are one of them? A parent of a child with special needs or caregiver to anyone really. Maybe you struggle with your own health issues, mental or physical.

There are days when we have to just put one foot in front of the other and try not to think too far ahead or too deeply about it all but instead just get through it.

However, sometimes those days turn into weeks and then months where you’re just trying to get through it all.

If you’re there you know what I mean. The things you once thought were fun don’t excite you anymore. Socializing feels like work. You haven’t exercised or done anything beneficial for your own health for weeks. You’re tired all the time or just feel like you’re running on fumes. You’re own health may be suffering. You’re on edge or maybe just apathetic.

If that’s the case, I have some tips for you. I’ve been there myself and can relate. I can only share with you what works for me as I’m not a psychiatrist or counselor and don’t know your personal situation. But maybe something will help. So here goes.

I can’t stress this enough. If you have trouble sleeping due to anxiety or other reasons it is time to address them. If it takes you forever to fall asleep or you wake up multiple times during the night it is imperative you get a handle on this before you end up with a full blown sleeping disorder. Lack of sleep might be due to stress, hormones, a sleep disorder, shift work (or having to get up many times to care for your loved one), physical pain, restless leg syndrome or many other reasons. I doubt that your family doctor is going to have the time to help you figure it out. They might prescribe a sleeping pill that may or may not help for a while. It is time to examine your lifestyle and investigate what factors are keeping you from sleeping peacefully for the hours that you need. A psychologist might help if you can’t figure it out for yourself. I’ll try to make a post on this some time because I’ve struggled with it a lot myself and have been on different meds (to help me fall and stay asleep and some to help me stay awake), have had sleep studies, etc to help me with my own sleep issues and I’d be happy to share what I’ve learned if it helps someone.

In the meantime, think about how much sleep you need and what’s preventing you from getting it then work on those areas as diligently as you can. How can you expect yourself to function let alone help anyone else if you’re sleep deprived?

In nursing school they teach us not to give “false hope.” It’s not healthy or beneficial to tell parents their paralyzed son or daughter may one day walk again, for example (and in some cases we need to be totally realistic such with this example). But not giving false hope never jived with me. I mean, what is “false” hope, really? Hope is hope. I totally understand the concept but happen to believe that hope is a beautiful thing.

Having a child born with physical or mental issues seems so unfair. These are innocent babies who deserve the whole world that we are talking about.

We have to have faith and hope in something and that there are good reasons that we cannot understand for these things to be happening. To see a child (or anyone) suffer and struggle almost daily would just be too much to handle if it were all for no good reason.

I don’t even like it when physicians give a life expectancy to kids. Unless the child is actively going downhill and nothing can save them, it is ridiculous to say that a child with any given disease will probably live for only so long.

Case in point: When I had my son at 29 weeks gestation 33 years ago, I recall being told that 25 weeks gestation or less was, at that time, considered to be a non-viable fetus. When he was born they intubated him to save him. Luckily for us he was large for gestational age and had no lasting complications. Fast forward 30 years and I was taking care of a baby that was born at 24 weeks and weighed one pound. She has health issues today but has many good days too. She has a family she loves who love her, enjoys playing and interacting with people and is very much ALIVE.

I had another peds patient recently who was given a life expectancy of 30 years old. I told the parents not to dwell on it too much because anything can happen in 30 years. I told them the story I just told you. If the little baby girl I was taking care of was born 30 years ago, they would have allowed her to die naturally rather than try to save her. None of us really know how many days or years we have left. What doctors can give us is a best guess based on how long people have lived with certain conditions IN THE PAST.

Where do we draw the line on what is true hope or false hope? What is good hope vs bad hope? It’s ridiculous to me. Everyone has a different belief system and I, for one, will never shatter someone’s hope no matter if I personally believe it or not. We are all entitled to believe what we believe. Furthermore, I’ve seen miracles happen on so many occasions. Real miracles. Cases where people outlived their life expectancies by years and years. Cases where parents were told their child wouldn’t survive without a surgery who not only survived but healed. Cases where babies had very little eye sight developed sight.

So have hope. Live for hope. Spread hope. Don’t live a life of depression and anxiety waiting for the day everything falls apart. Instead be grateful already for the wonderful things to come. And if the worst should happen, as we know it sometimes does, know in your heart you never gave up and lived every day to the fullest, all the time believing in your child and yourself and the doctors and scientists and God, if you believe. Because feeling hopeless is the worst feeling in the world and no one deserves to feel that way.

Even hospice patients can have hope for as many good days as possible, pain and stress relief and a pain free death.

No one can do it alone. I mean NO ONE. We can’t live this life alone. We would have literally died if left alone when we were born. We all needed love and someone to teach us from the very beginning. We simply need each other. That’s why we have every kind of profession imaginable. Each one of us has special gifts and talents. We’re given those to help each other. There is no shame in receiving any kind of help you need. Whether it is a babysitter, house cleaner, someone to vent to, a personal trainer, someone to help you manage your finances, a psychologist, physician, coach of any kind, motivational speaker, you name it.

Being brave, strong or so independent that you deny help when it’s offered to you is actually quite foolish.

I used to tell my hospice patients who were very stoic or had an ego to allow others to help them because the helpers needed something to do. People need to feel they are contributing. This allowed my hospice patients to let their ego relax and not feel threatened by any help they received. But I also believe it is true.

If someone offers to help you, accept it. Be grateful you have them in your life. If someone says they want to help but don’t know how then tell them how! Let them bring you a meal, cut your grass, babysit for an hour so you can take a long hot bath or exercise or just come over to have a cup of tea! If no one offers readily then seek help on your own if you need it. As I mentioned above there is a profession in just about any area of your life that you need help with that can help you.

Remember to take care of yourself too. I know self-care is really popular to talk about right now but I think it’s for a reason. Life can be really stressful and hectic. Lots of things are always happening at once. For many reasons life can get really complicated. People are starting to realize that there is no shame in taking care of yourself but it’s actually necessary. It’s ok to say no for your own sanity. It’s ok to ask for help or have a mental health day.

I don’t think this is a trend. We are not meant to pay bills then die. I think people are starting to open their eyes and realize that how we speak to and treat ourselves is significant. If we are kind to ourselves and love ourselves that love flows out into the world. If we’re always thinking and feeling the worst we project that out also. We all deserve to be happy.

Surround yourself with positive people. Be a positive person. Think about how you want to feel and live your life then cultivate your life so that only the things that support your goals are in it. Don’t let anyone else drag you down.

I hope this helped someone. Please give me a like and follow if any part of this was in any way beneficial to you.