Every. Single. Day. That’s how often I see drained, weary women, desperate for a little R&R. Short on time yet heavy on responsibilities, it’s common for today’s women to sacrifice self-care.
I’ve been there. Prioritizing everyone but myself, it took a painful condition to get me to finally wake up.
Maybe you’re that type of person, too. Let’s see…a high achiever, an endless do-er, a chronic giver — have I got that right? You know you should be taking better care of yourself, but you keep putting it off while you finish something else.
Let me ask you this: Do the words “Type A” resonate at all?
I thought so.
Quick quiz. Self-care is only for people with:
- Lots of free time?
- Lots of money?
- Lots of health issues?
And, of course, the ability to manage the guilt. The guilt of doing something for themselves, instead of doing of everything else, that is.
It’s craziness I tell you.
Where in the world did we get the idea it was better to be busy than lead a good life?
The good news is you can stop the train. It shouldn’t take a major illness or some horrible event to get you to notice you’re important. Because you’re most important. Remember, the whole empire crumbles if you fall apart! Did you forget that?
There’s even better news, too. Contrary to what you’re thinking, it actually doesn’t take a lot of time to keep your mind and body in great shape. Honestly, just a few minutes, several times a day, makes ALL difference between having the life you want and burning out forever.
Odd thing though. A lot of us women have no idea how to recharge. For a long time, I didn’t either. It isn’t pouring another cup of coffee or inhaling a cinnamon danish. It isn’t organizing a drawer, either (though that can be immensely satisfying). And it certainly isn’t checking your iPhone.
Recharging — and effecting real change – is the kind of self-care that keeps you grooving all day, all week, and for the rest of your life. It’s the kind that actually hits the reset button for a little while, but helps you stay healthy and strong for a really long time. Real self-care is the key to preventing the serious crash and burn you may have only heard about. Trust me on this one. You don’t want to go there.
Now, I can already hear you saying it, so I’ll address your skepticism head-on. I know we all lead different lives, and there’s no single solution that’ll work for everyone. But, there are some tips that work for at least some of us, which you’ll find in this list. And if you know of one I’ve missed, by all means, post it as a COMMENT. The more ways women can find to recharge for a few minutes a day, the better off we’ll all be together.
10 Ways [Even the Busiest of] Women Can Recharge
It’s amazing the power of good old fashioned breathing. Just a few minutes of actual breathing — done the right way – provides not just peace and calm, but oxygen to parts of your body you didn’t even know you had. Think you already know how to breathe? Check again. Not those shallow ones into your throat or into your shoulders. We’re talking slower, fuller, more nourishing breaths that go all the way down into your diaphragm, into your hips, and even down to your feet.
2. Head Outside
Ah, the healing power of nature. Just thinking about it makes my shoulders loosen. There’s nothing like sitting in the bright sun for a few minutes, soaking up warmth and vitamins like a cuddly blanket. Or, sitting quietly under the trees, contemplating the sounds and textures, or maybe contemplating nothing at all. Being outside is already a great start. For an extra boost, you can even get barefoot for some extra grounding and energy exchange. Doing that several times a day might become your new favorite habit.
Seriously, people. Meditation doesn’t have to take forever. If you’re used to listening to long, guided meditations that last 30 minutes or an hour, or if you think meditation involves sitting in silence the entire afternoon, you’re wrong. There are much quicker ways to reconnect. Doing a 5-minute walking meditation around your living room can be incredibly calming. Even just slowing down what you’re already doing (washing dishes or filing documents) can have positive effects.
4. Take a Bath
When was the last time you took a bath? I don’t mean dipping your martyrish, self-sacrificing carcass for 2 minutes into the dirty bathwater you plucked your kids from. I mean, an honest-to-goodness nourishing bath, in a deep pool of water, with epsom salt, your favorite essential oil, and permission to lay there for a luxurious 15 minutes. Do it! Extra points for locking the door.
I happen to be more of a crisis kind of journaling person, so I only journal when I’m working through something really big. Yet, despite my personal habits, I recognize the incredible effects daily journaling can have for many people. The act of writing things down can unburden the mind, help clarify issues, force us to make connections, and often eliminate emotional charge altogether. These steps together are very healing, as our thoughts move from the mind to the pen, and out of our consciousness where they clamor for constant attention.
As devices take over, and people crave more and more artificial connection, it’s becoming impossible to put our devices down. Women, in particular, spend far too much time on social media, trying to remain distracted from their thoughts or soothing a starving need for acceptance or support. But there can be such peace in shutting out the noise for a while, too. Bodies need time to rest in between periods of jumping up to grab the phone for every notification. Powering down on a regular basis is the only way to give the body that chance at renewal.
7. Do Some Energy Exercises
I, too, was a skeptic, but have grown in my understanding of the body’s energy system, and it’s importance in maintaining good health. Using energy exercises, one can actually impact the body’s energy system, improving mood, movement, health, and the general timbre of the rest of the day. What I love about this method is there are dozens of different exercises that take just a few minutes and make a huge impact. I encourage anyone interested in this topic to grab a book about energy medicine or to contact me for information on how to get started.
8. Set Triggers
This is a great one to learn for our own health and well-being, and is also a valuable trick to teach children, too. Triggers work to set a reminder to a particular place in the home or office, like a doorway or fixture we walk past throughout the day. Just seeing these triggers is an easy, automatic way to remember to do something important in that moment. I have used triggers my whole life, for simple things like remembering to turn off the coffee pot, taking out the trash, or making an important phone call; to more significant things like taking a few deep breaths, doing my daily exercises, or relaxing the tension in my face. Triggers can also be used to remind ourselves to calm down, to breathe, to take a break, or just to center ourselves for a moment before carrying on with our day.
9. Water/Vitamin/Health Food Break
I joked earlier about the cinnamon danish because it’s common for people to reach for carbs and sugars when they’re stressed. And while it’s true that a temporary fix feels great for a few minutes, it’s the long-term effects of doing that stuff we need to worry about. When extraordinarily busy, perhaps one of the best gifts we can give ourselves is pausing for a glass or two of filtered water, for a vitamin/mineral supplement of something we’re lacking, or for a plate of healthy food. That simple act of self-love sends the message of “I care” to your brain and “I know what you need” to your body. Interrupting a cycle of unhealthy eating with some conscious nourishment is a great way to add value to an otherwise very busy day.
10. Repeat Affirmations
Because bullying is so widespread, most of us understand the impact of experiencing terrible things over and over. But, on the flip side, few people actually realize the importance of filling their minds with positive messages instead. Silly as this may seem, it really works. Hanging notes on the bathroom mirror and repeating positive affirmations throughout the day can literally turn people’s lives and health around. If it takes only a few minutes a day, why not try it for yourself?
Bottom line is, it doesn’t take hours and hours each day to protect against the negative effects of living a crazy life. Just one or two of these tips, performed maybe 3 times a day, is a great prescription for protecting good health.
As a coach, writer, recovered over-doer and busyness addict, I understand the challenges of creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle while the mind tries to sabotage your success. In my journey to vibrant health, I created a personalized health system of nutrition and supplementation, lifestyle changes, and I retrained my mind and the energy of my body. I view my success as the formula to my happy, healthy life. I now empower other women to create their own personalized formulas, including the tools and strategies just right for them! Amazing life shifts come from our relationships. I look forward to helping you, too!