It’s no surprise our country, let alone the world, is in a crisis thanks to COVID-19. Businesses are shut down, schools are closed, grocery stores are empty and can barely keep up with the demand. And don’t even get me started on the toilet paper situation….
Image Credit: https://gph.is/g/EqGd8PD
Seriously folks, who hoards toilet paper?
Really people? C’mon.
But enough T.P. digression, as the purpose of this blog isn’t to discuss how to protect yourself from COVID-19 (even though you should be taking every precaution!) nor is it a political blog to discuss whether government officials should have taken action sooner. No, this blog is about how we, as Americans, can learn from our current situation and how to better protect ourselves individually from any crisis that may come our way – worldwide pandemic or not.
Countless Americans are out of work, 3.3 million, to be exact – according to the Labor Department. All across the country restaurants, bars, shops, hotels, gyms and the like, have all shut down due to the rapidly spreading coronavirus. Some economists are predicting the above mentioned number can jump upwards of 40 million in April.
So many people have been impacted, an aid package was passed by the Senate last week, the largest of its kind, to help the American public. Most of us will be receiving checks for $1,200 with additional checks going to those who were laid off. While I’m not opposed to government aid, I think there are several important questions we need to ask ourselves in order to prepare for future crisis’ – whether a worldwide pandemic, zombie apocalypse or your ravenous puppy takes a bite out of your tush and you’re out of work for a few weeks. (Hey – it could happen!) Who ever thought we’d be on a lockdown because of a virus that spreads like wild fires? Ok, ok – maybe Bill Gates did. Perhaps an infectious disease doctor could have – but you know what I’m saying!
QUESTIONS TO ASK OURSELVES:
- Do I have an Emergency Fund Saved Up?
According to CNBC:
“41% of Americans would be able to cover a $1,000 emergency with savings”.
That’s less than half the American population, folks! And let’s face it, most emergencies cost more than $1,000. Add that to the amount of debt most Americans are in, roughly $29,800 on average according to Northwestern Mutual’s 2019 Planning & Progress Study, and the results are staggering. It’s no wonder we’re overworked, stressed and burnt out!
According to a study performed by the First National Bank of Ohama, 49% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, so it’s not surprising less than half of us would be able to cover an emergency with our savings. Assuming the emergency was only $1,000 and not more.
There is, however, good news: there’s a way out! You can find countless programs and resources, especially online, to help break this cycle. Here are a few that come to mind:
Dave Ramsey – Probably one of the most well known resources. Dave focuses on baby steps to help folks get out of debt and build wealth.
The Penny Hoarder – This website is dedicated to helping people save money by providing articles equipped with ideas, tools and tricks in order to do so. One of the most popular articles is entitled “ Tired of Living Paycheck to Paycheck? Break the Cycle With These 9 Steps,” which provides people with an action plan to stop living paycheck to paycheck.
Rachel Cruze – Daughter of the above mentioned Dave Ramsey, Rachel provides financial guidance, including a 14-day money finder challenge.
Image Credit: https://gph.is/g/aRXjXgJ
2. What are the Requirements to Keep my Health Insurance?
This question hangs on whether or not you were laid off, meaning you may or may not go back to work, or if you were furloughed, meaning you are temporarily laid off and will be going back to work shortly.
If you were furloughed, it’s more than likely you will keep your insurance benefits while you remain out of work. Here’s a great article to break things down further.
If you were laid off, in short, you generally have two main options:
- Buy a plan through the Health Insurance Marketplace
- Sign up for COBRA coverage
This article is a great resource which further explains your options.
3. Are My Aging Parents Well-Equipped?
While the Coronavirus doesn’t discriminate, we do know by now it can be detrimental to the elderly. Older folks are encouraged to stay home as much as possible in order to protect themselves. Some grocery stores have allotted the first hour of opening for folks over the age of 60, allowing them private access to shop whilst the stores are among their cleanest – having been thoroughly cleaned the night before.
With all these precautions for seniors, we must ask ourselves if they’re prepared for a crisis. For instance, what about their prescriptions? Do they have a home-delivery service set up or a quarantined care-giver who can pick them up, if we’re not around to do so ourselves?
What about a power-of-attorney, or a will? Are those documents set in place? This doesn’t just apply to our parents, but for ourselves as well. Not to be the grim reaper over here but these are honest matters we should be concerned about.
Times are tough. And scary. But we’ll get through this.
It may be rough.
It may take awhile but…
We’ll come out on the other side. And since we’re all stuck at home anyways, instead of spending countless hours on Instagram and Twitter, let’s use this time wisely to perhaps better prepare for the next crisis in whatever form it may come.
Image Credit: https://gph.is/g/ZPmlBWB
Heather Long. Alyssa Fowers. “A record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits as the coronavirus slams economy”. 26 March 2020. WashingtonPost.com https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/03/26/unemployment-claims-coronavirus-3-million/
John Wagner, Paul Kane and Mike DeBonis. “House leaders seek to expedite emergency aid package amid uncertainty about GOP lawmaker delaying measure.” 26 March 2020. WashingtonPost.com https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/house-leaders-seek-to-expedite-emergency-aid-package-amid-uncertainty-about-gop-lawmaker-delaying-measure/2020/03/26/392c9dba-6f7d-11ea-a3ec-70d7479d83f0_story.html 1 April 2020.
Megan Leonhardt. “41% of Americans would be able to cover a $1,000 emergency with savings.” 22 January 2020. Cnbc.com. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/21/41-percent-of-americans-would-be-able-to-cover-1000-dollar-emergency-with-savings.html 1 April 2020.
Northwestern Mutual. “Planning & Progress Study 2019.” news.northwesternmutual.com. https://news.northwesternmutual.com/planning-and-progress-2019 1 April 2020.
Jay Helfin. “Nearly half of Americans live paycheck to paycheck: Bank survey.” Washingtonexaminer.com. 20 February 2020. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/nearly-half-americans-live-paycheck-to-paycheck-bank-survey 1 April 2020.
Are you sitting at your desk dreaming of a beach vacation?
Perhaps you’re staring at the calendar tacked to your partition wall, picturing yourself sunbathing at some tropical paradise with a fruity drink in your hand – the fantasy is so real, you can feel the warmth of the sun.
You snap back into reality when your computer dings; another email filled with work to be done and suddenly the warmth of the sunshine melts into the frozen tundra that is your job….
Ok, ok – maybe work isn’t that bad…..but a vacation does sound nice. The beach, the mountains, a week in Rome – the location isn’t so important, as long as you’re getting away from it all. Ding! Your email goes off yet again leading you to think “Who has time for a vacation, anyway?”
Taking time off from work can be such a hassle. Let’s face it: between submitting the vacation request, getting it approved and prepping my backup for while I’m away is a job in of itself. And if I’m being honest, how many times has my boss texted me in need of dire information while I’m on vacation? At least a dozen, right? Luckily I grabbed my laptop and brought it with me….for you know, “emergencies” like these.
Then, there’s all the planning. I’ve got to figure out where to go, how to get there, where to stay and what to do. That can take days, weeks – dare I say – even months to plan!! I’ve got to compare the best deals and book the cheapest days to fly – that’s Tuesday, right? Perhaps I can find a travel agent…but, wait!
Do travel agents even exist anymore?
(Don’t worry, they do)! But are they worth the expense when I can price shop the internet on my own?
Once the plans have been set, then the packing starts. First, it’s the laundry, cause you know I gotta have all the best outfits clean! And that’s BEFORE I leave – I don’t want to think about the mountains of laundry I’ll have upon returning home. Once I have all the laundry done, there’s the issue of fitting everything into the suitcase. What’s the best way to fit everything….should I roll the clothes or fold them Marie Kondo style? Either way, I’ll end up sitting on the suitcase in order to get it zipped up.
What are the restrictions to fly? How much is a checked bag? What’s the bag limit per person? And what is the allotted amount for liquids by TSA – 2 oz or 4 oz?
Taking time off work, planning where to go and what to do, let alone how to get there….not to mention, the packing! UGH, the packing!! It’ll take longer to pack and unpack than the actual vacation itself. It’s exhausting just thinking about it. It’ll be easier to skip the vacation and stay at work…..
Says the average American, who in 2017, gave up over 212 million days off….
According to Project: Time Off.
Glassdoor, one of the world’s fastest growing job sites, found that “two in three employees report working while on vacation” and that the “average U.S. employee (of those who receive vacation/paid time off) has only taken about half (54 percent) of his or her eligible vacation time/paid time off in the past 12 months,” as of 2017.
Why would you choose NOT to take a vacation?
✘ It can be expensive
✘ Worried the workload will pile up while gone
✘ Fear taking time off would be perceived as a flaw
✘ FOMO – Fear. Of. Missing. Out.
So while we may be sitting at our desks dreaming of a vacation, the reality is, most of us won’t take it. The vacation days are there for a reason, people.
And in case you need convincing….here’s why a vacation will be good for you:
✅Burn-out? Decreased! Vacation = rest. Rest = more productive. Those who take the time to relax end up being more productive than their counterparts who are under-rested. So for everyone thinking taking a vacation will be perceived as a shortcoming, you’re actually doing yourself a disservice.
✅Physical Health? Improved! Stress kills, people! Taking vacations regularly helps decrease stress. Need I say more?
✅Mental Power? Increased! Taking a vacation gives your brian the mental rest it needs, so when you return, the brain is well rested and ready to work!
✅Better Sense of Well-Being? You betcha! Vacation boosts your mood and quality of sleep…and continues to do so even after vacation is over!
✅Trip Planning? Boosts Happiness, too! Yes, that is correct, the planning phase can actually trigger happiness. Perhaps it is the thrill of finding the best deal or the excitement of going somewhere new. Maybe it’s the thought of getting away in general, and that gives you something to look forward too. Either way, planning a trip cranks up the happiness dial.
Of course, you don’t have to do something extravagant to have a great vacation, either. If flying to Rome or spending a week at the beach fighting the sand and crowds doesn’t appeal to you, there are plenty of other options! Try a charming small town in the mountains or rent a house on a lake to avoid the sand but still enjoy the water.
Perhaps, you don’t go anywhere but you stay at home and take a couple day trips. This is a great way to save some money while still being able to get away from work and relax.
Of course, there’s the ever growing trend of a staycation. Instead of traveling somewhere, pack your suitcase, stay in a hotel and be a tourist in your own town! You get all the benefits of getting away from it all …..
Without. Actually. Going. Anywhere.
It doesn’t matter what you decide to do with your vacation time, as long as you’re using it. It’ll help you relax and recharge so you’ll be refreshed and ready to take on whatever work (and life) throws your way!
Megan Leonhardt. “Only 28% of Americans plan to max out their vacation days this year”27 April 2019. Cnbc.com. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/26/only-28percent-of-americans-plan-to-max-out-their-vacation-days-this-year.html 28 February 2020.
U.S. Travel Association. “State of American Vacation 2018”. 08 May 2018. Ustravel.org. https://www.ustravel.org/research/state-american-vacation-2018 28 February 2020.
Glassdoor. “GLASSDOOR SURVEY FINDS AMERICANS FORFEIT HALF OF THEIR EARNED VACATION/PAID TIME OFF”. 24 May 2017. Glassdoor.com. https://www.glassdoor.com/about-us/glassdoor-survey-finds-americans-forfeit-earned-vacationpaid-time/ 28 February 2020.
Suzanne Degges-White Ph.D. “You Really Do “Need” a Vacation”. 15 July 2018. Psychologytoday.com. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/lifetime-connections/201807/you-really-do-need-vacation. 28 February 2020
Shannon Torberg, PsyD, LP. “Importance of taking vacation”. 14 June 2017. Allinahealth.org. https://www.allinahealth.org/healthysetgo/thrive/importance-of-taking-vacation?id=36507232167. 28 February 2020.
Ever drive somewhere on autopilot, arrive to your destination and think, “how did I get here..?”. Or perhaps you have a tv show on, get to the end of the episode and realize you weren’t watching it at all? We’ve all been there; lost in a deep sea of thoughts, unaware of the world around us. While our minds are busy pondering what to cook for dinner – a B.I.G. deal in my household! – we’re not fully present in the moment. We’re physically there but our thoughts are in a galaxy far, far away…. Needless to say, we’re not practicing mindfulness in those moments.
While it may seem as though being deep in thought is a practice of mindfulness, I mean come on- you are technically in your own head, it’s actually quite the opposite! Mindfulness is the practice of being fully present in the moment.
It’s not watching tv while being on our cell phones (guilty as charged)!
It’s not pondering who the bachelor is going to eliminate on tonight’s episode (Hannah Ann – girl, bye!) while in a work meeting.
And it is most certainly not checking out during the middle of a conversation – AHEM, I’m looking at you, husbands
What then, is mindfulness?
“Mindfulness is the quality of being present and fully engaged with whatever we’re doing at the moment — free from distraction or judgment, and aware of our thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them.”
Mindfulness is like when you first go on a date with someone you really like. While on the date, you’re fully present and engaged in the moment. You’re having a great conversation, you’re not worried about what time it is or who’s doing what on Facebook. No phones!
You’re just simply……
Enjoying the moment.
Remember what that felt like?
There was no pretenses, no distractions, no judging your thoughts or emotions! You. Were. There. In the moment, soaking up every second of it. “Right here, right now,” as I like to say. That, my friends, is mindfulness. And it’s great – isn’t it?
Think about the last time you were angry. Like, really angry. So angry you’re seeing red; smashing things like the Hulk, yelling, screaming foolish things you ended up regretting and acting like a crazy person (let’s be honest – I can’t be the only person who throws a tantrum like a 5 year old when I’m angry!) You said, or screamed, those things because you were upset and weren’t thinking straight.
Now imagine if, in those moments, you were able to take a step back, evaluate the situation and respond in a different way. You’d be able to respond more like Bruce Banner than the Hulk.
You’re fully aware of your thoughts and emotions but you aren’t lost in them. What would that look like? It’d look a lot better than a bunch of smashed dishes, that’s for sure. Fear not! I’ve never broken a dish intentionally before, although I always thought it would be fun to do so at a Greek party. Smashing dishes and yelling “OPA!” sounds like a great stress reliever, if I do say so myself!
Mindfulness is a key component in being able to process through thoughts and emotions, respond properly instead of responding based upon your emotions at that moment in time.
Take note! Being in a mindful state does not mean you’ll be cool as a cucumber all the time – although that would be nice! You will have emotions, you will get upset, but mindfulness will help you stay grounded by keeping you in the present with your thoughts.
Wondering about your mindfulness state? Check out MAAS – a 15 item scale that evaluates mindfulness. Come on, you know you want too! It’s much more practical than the “We’ll Tell You Which Country to Visit By The Outfit You Choose;” not that I’ve taken that quiz or anything….
One of the great things about mindfulness is that it allows us to think and feel without judgement. It allows us to think all the thoughts and feel all the emotions without punishing ourselves when we think or feel “incorrectly.” Mindfulness has many other positive attributes:
- Good for the Body
- Improves Focus
- Increases Compassion
- Changes the Way We View Ourselves (for the better, obviously)
- Fights Obesity
Often, we can get mindfulness confused with meditation. While similar, there are differences amongst the two. Merriam-Webster defines meditation as the following:
- To engage in compilation or reflection
- To engage in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness
Mediation does not come naturally. It is a learned skill that takes practice and training, just as you would practice or train for a sport. You wouldn’t just walk onto a tennis court for the first time and expect to hit 10 backhands in a row. It takes practice to quiet the mind, tune out the noise and focus.
Canceling out the noise and head trash has great benefits, as you can imagine! Some of which include:
- Stress Reduction
- Reduces Anxiety
- Improves Self-image
- Promotes Sleep improvement
- Decrease Blood pressure
But wait, there’s more! Not only are there great benefits to meditation, there are also different types of meditation, including but not limited to (you guessed it!): mindful meditation. Mindful meditation allows the participant to observe thoughts as they pass through the mind. Because it is mindfulness, you’re not condemning or judging the thoughts, you’re simply observing them.
Remember that scene from “Eat, Pray Love” where Elizabeth Gilbert, played by Julia Roberts, is in India at the ashram trying to meditate but struggling to do so? I’d venture to say that’s not uncommon, the mind is a busy place, which is why mindful meditation is so useful. It allows you to acknowledge your thoughts and then lets them pass on.
Feel like you need a refresher on mindful meditation? Perhaps you’re new to this whole meditation thing and not sure how to get started… then you’re in luck (SPOILER ALERT – SHAMEFUL PLUG IS COMING IN HOT AND HEAVY) cause during the month of February we’re offering Mindful Meditation classes. For more information, click HERE!
“You need to learn how to select your thoughts just the same way you select your clothes every day. This is a power you can cultivate. If you want to control things in your life so bad, work on the mind. That’s the only thing you should be trying to control.”
(Elizabeth Gilbert – Eat, Pray, Love)
“What is mindfulness?” headspace.com.
https://www.headspace.com/mindfulness 25 January 2020.
Kirk Warren Brown, PH.D. & Richard M. Ryan, PH.D. “Mindful Attention Awareness Scale.” 2003. Ppc.sas.upenn.edu. https://ppc.sas.upenn.edu/resources/questionnaires-researchers/mindful-attention-awareness-scale 25 January 2020.
Berkley, University of California. “What is Mindfulness?” 2020. Greatergood.berkeley.edu. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/mindfulness/definition#what-is-mindfulness 25 January 2020.
Matthew Thorpe, MD PhD. “12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation.” 5 July 2027. Healthline.com. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/12-benefits-of-meditation#section9 25 January 2020.
“Meditation 101: Techniques, Benefits, and a Beginner’s How-To.” Gaiam.com. https://www.gaiam.com/blogs/discover/meditation-101-techniques-benefits-and-a-beginner-s-how-to 25 January 2020.
Eat, Pray, Love. Dir. Ryan Murphy. Columbia Pictures. 2010. Film.
When I was a young adult in my 20’s, I didn’t take care of myself. It started in college, and
while I didn’t quite hit the freshman 15, I definitely gained some weight – I’m looking at you,
chicken sandwiches from the school cafeteria. But in my defense, the rest of the food was
terrible! I’m talking grade ‘A’ nasty.
Anyways, in addition to bad eating, I drank a lot of diet soda. A lot. I started drinking regular
soda as a teenager (what were my parents thinking!?!) then eventually switched over to
drinking diet soda. Diet Mountain Dew was my drink of choice – and I drank a lot of it. You
know those huge cups you’d get from the gas station that cost $.79? Oh yeah, that was me. On
top of that, I can remember there’d be days in which I didn’t drink any water at all. I cringe
now thinking about it – my poor body! After graduation, things didn’t improve much, as I ate
out all the time. I’m talking lunch out every day and most days it was fast food
It wasn’t until a few years later when I met my husband, a health and fitness coach at the time,
that I started to see the negative impact my lifestyle had on my body. I realized what I ate and
drank affected my body just as much, if not more!, as exercise did. You see, beforehand, I was
all about being “skinny”. It didn’t matter that I had joint pain daily or that I was constantly tired,
I thought because I was “skinny,” I was healthy. I should note, at this point in time, I lost
the weight I gained in college. Besides improving my eating habits, one of the biggest
take-aways I adapted was to drink water. Yes, simply adding more water to my diet made a
huge difference in my health. My skin looked better, I wasn’t so tired all the time and my joint
pain started going away. I kicked the Mountain Dew cans to the curb and drank water, lots of
it!, on the regular.
But don’t just take my personal story for it, listen to the experts! According to Medical News
Today, here are some benefits of drinking water:
– Joint Lubrication – dehydration in joints can damage the ability to absorb shock,
therefore causing joint pain. Sound familiar?
– Oxygen Delivery – blood, which consists of 90 percent water, carries oxygen to
different parts of the body.
– Body Temperature Regulation – we know that when we sweat, we release water from
the body. Once that sweat evaporates, we cool down. According to some scientists, its
suggested that when there is not enough water in the body, heat storage within the
body increases and heat strain is less tolerable for that individual.
– Digestive System Flow -constipation much? In order to function properly, your bowel
needs water. Need I say more?
– Levels Blood Pressure – without water, blood can thicken, elevating blood pressure.
– Promotes Proper Kidney Function – the kidneys need water to regulate fluids within
the body. Lack of water can cause certain health issues, such as kidney stones.
These are just a few of the benefits of drinking water. Others include: weight loss, glowing
skin, fighting against infections and exercise performance enhancement. For a full list, check
out the article from Medical News Today:
“Water makes up about 60% of your body’s weight, and
although you can survive without food for weeks,
dehydration can kill you within days or even hours,
depending on the temperature and your environment.”
-Lisa Drayer; US registered dietitian & CNN contributor
Water makes up more than half of our body weight, yet most of us aren’t getting enough and
while we know it’s beneficial to drink water, if you’re not used to doing so, it can be a
challenging task at first. So how does one go about drinking more water? Here are a few tips
that helped me:
1. First things first, wake up & hydrate: The old saying goes we should drink 8 cups of
water a day. Get a jump start on this and make it the first thing you do upon waking up.
I always bring a glass of water to bed and keep it on the nightstand. This way, it’s right
there when I wake up in the morning. I drink it before I get out of bed. This gives me no
2. Always carry a water bottle: I noticed I would drink more if I had water on me. I would
bring a water bottle with me to work or while I was out running errands. It prevented
me from getting thirsty and saved me a couple bucks by not having to buy water at the
store. Seems silly, I know, but it really does work. Even today, I take a water bottle with
me wherever I go.
3. Lemon Water: Plain water can get a little, shall we say, boring. For a bit of flavor, try
adding a squeeze of lemon, or lime – whichever you prefer! There are health benefits to
both. If you really wanna get fancy, try infused water. Strawberry-basil or
mint-cucumber come to mind but feel free to get creative!
4. High water content foods: Getting your daily dose of water doesn’t only have to come
from drinking it. (Note: this does not give you a pass to stop drinking water! You still
need to drink water). These foods help keep your body hydrated. Watermelon,
cucumber, strawberries, and cantaloupe all have 90% (or higher!) water content. Soups
and broths are another great source as well.
5. Motivational Water Bottles: Grab a water bottle that has the measurements listed on
the outside of the bottle; 10 oz, 14 oz, 20 oz – you get the idea. This will help you know
how much water you’ve consumed already and how much more you have to go!
If drinking water still seems like a daunting task, take it one step at a time. Maybe start with
tip #1 until you get used to it. Then graduate to tip #2 and so on and so forth. Combine tips, if
you need to – put lemon water in your water bottle as you head out to run errands. Whatever
works for you to get the full benefits of drinking water and keeping the body hydrated!
James McIntosh. “Fifteen benefits of drinking water.” 16 July 2018. medicalnewstoday.com
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/290814.php#benefits 4 January 2020.
Brianna Elliot. “19 Water-Rich Foods That Help You Stay Hydrated.” 9 August 2017.
Healthline.com https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/19-hydrating-foods#section3 4 January
Sandee LaMotte. “Benefits of water: Are you getting enough fluids to stay healthy?” 28
September 2017. Cnn.com
https://www.cnn.com/2017/09/27/health/benefits-of-water-and-fluids/index.html 4 January
I don’t know if it’s just me, but do you ever see movies or tv shows with really wealthy women lounging at the spa all day and think “wouldn’t it be nice to do that on the regular?” No, it’s not just me? Didn’t think so. I think we’d all enjoy a spa day…….Or two or three. A little self care can go a long way. But is it really necessary? I mean seriously, who has the time and money to spend ALL DAY getting pampered?
Just as thoughts of all day spa treatments enter our mind, they’re gone again, replaced with thoughts of reality and more pressing matters. We forget about them for weeks or even months at a time, until they’re triggered again and maybe, just maybe, you have every intention of booking that massage but before you know it, you’re distracted again. Which is ok, right? So what if I don’t schedule some self care time? I still have my family, my job, my health, my friends. It’s not like my boss is going to lecture me about taking an afternoon off to have some “me time.” Quite the opposite, actually. My boss doesn’t even understand the concept of “me time.”
My family won’t disown me if I don’t schedule that hour for some self care. Matter of fact, they wouldn’t survive if I did! Clothes would be mismatched. Dirty dishes would be left in the sink. Unfolded laundry would be left on the couch. Rooms would be disheveled. Hair would be, dare I even say it?, unbrushed.
There’s no way I could take some time out for self care! My family would fall apart.
My health isn’t going to suffer, either. I’m not going to have a stroke or heart attack. I won’t catch some crazy virus, get the bird flu or develop celiac because I’m not taking a little time out for self care. I’ll still have all my limbs and even my two front teeth! My body won’t suddenly fall apart. That nagging back pain will take care of itself and if it gets really bad, I’ll just pop an Advil and call it a day. No need to take some time out for self care. I’ll be just fine without it.
Then again, a spa day does sound nice. And relaxing. A massage would help the lower back pain. It doesn’t have to be a full day either, a quick back massage or facial, even a foot massage would be amazing! Life has been stressful lately, with a family to take care of and a career to maintain, a little down time would be nice. There’s so much talk about self care, maybe there is something to it….
These thoughts sound familiar? You’re not alone! Self care, while so important for our health, is often neglected because the benefits aren’t always seen right away. Often times, you have to be consistent with self care and most of us claim we don’t have the time. Sure, we get a massage and feel relaxed for a bit but as soon as we pull out of the spa parking lot, someone cuts us off and we forget all about the zen we just obtained. But what if you had that ‘zen’ on a regular basis? Well, my friends, you can!
Self care is simply defined as: the care of oneself. But perhaps a more well known definition would be as Oxford defines it: The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.
Self care can help increase quality of life and help eliminate stress. Not only is it important to you but to others around you as well. In order to be there for your family, you have to be well. It’s hard to take care of children when you’re sick with the flu, it’s the same with your mental and emotional health, too!
Think of it this way: you’re running late to a big meeting at work. You hop in the car, speed off and next thing you know, you’ve gotten into an accident. Not only will you completely miss your meeting but you’ve totaled your car. Now you have to deal with insurance, potential medical bills, a car rental agency, the list goes on and on. It is the same way if you don’t take time to care for your well-being. The lack of self care will cause a car wreck and all the baggage that goes along with it. In other words, when you carve out time for a little self care, you are able to give more to others!
A little self care goes a long way. Less stress leads to a healthy immune system. A healthy immune system can fight off colds, an upset stomach and the flu a whole lot easier then a weakened immune system. I don’t know about you but I hate being sick. It’s too much of a hassle to be sick. I much prefer being healthy, thank you!
Self care can also boost your self esteem. Whether its taking time to exercise and look good in those skinny jeans or taking time to self-reflect; by ridding ourselves of all the negative self talk, we increase our self esteem. And let’s face it, unless we’re Kanye West, we can all probably use a little more self esteem.
It doesn’t just stop there, self care can increase self awareness, too! Think about it. You’re taking time out to focus on what makes you happy; doing things you really love to do and therefore, discovering more about yourself.
While it would be nice, self care doesn’t have to be a full on spa day, either. Ain’t nobody got time for that! A regular, monthly massage would be super beneficial for the body, though. Kiss those back knots goodbye! Some regular activities you can do for self care include (but definitely aren’t limited too!):
– prayer and/or meditation
– getting outdoors
-plan a lunch date with a friend
-simply take a few minutes to yourself
Any of these can be done on a regular basis and don’t require hours of your time. You can even combine activities – go for an outdoor walk and combine being outdoors with exercising, for example! Or take a cue from this guy, who discusses the importance of only taking 10 minutes daily to yourself:
“Living My Best Life” – we’ve all heard the expression and seen the Instagram posts with someone on the beach with that caption. If you’re anything like me, you’re probably secretly a little jealous, too. I can’t help but think “I wanna live my best life!” Well, the secret to doing so is taking care of oneself. You know why everyone is so happy at the beach? It’s cause they’re on vacation, taking time to relax and get away from the stress. Self care at it’s finest, if you ask me!
Wright State University. “Self Care.” Wright.edu https://www.wright.edu/student-affairs/health-and-wellness/counseling-and-wellness/workshops-and-self-help/self-care#benefits 1 December 2019.
Monique Tello. “Self-care: 4 ways to nourish body and soul.” 16 November 2017. Health.Harvard.edu. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/self-care-4-ways-nourish-body-soul-2017111612736 1 December 2019.
Katherine Hurst. “What is self-care and why is self-care so important?” Thelawofattraction.com. http://www.thelawofattraction.com/self-care-tips/ . 1 December 2019.
Puddicombe, A. (2012, Fall). All it takes is 10 mindful minutes. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/andy_puddicombe_all_it_takes_is_10_mindful_minutes?referrer=playlist-the_importance_of_self_care#t-1273