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How To: Summer Self-Care

The older I get, the faster summer rolls along, over and out quicker than I can say "sunshine," and I know I can't be the only one. 

It's just different over time. It doesn't carry as much weight. We say hello and goodbye to the warm and blissful days as we get ourselves to and from work. I don't know about you, but when I finally cross the threshold of my home after a long shift, I have an internal dilemma with myself, wondering whether I should seize the day and roam outside, or whether I should offer my body some rest. 

But what if we stopped viewing these pleasures as chores, and more like what they actually are... self care. 

It's too easy to fall into these ruts of exhaustion, intolerance, self sabotage, and all of the other lousy things. Sometimes if I'm really in a funk, I'll twist things like going for a walk in my neighborhood, making myself a beautiful meal or a huge pot of tea as something torturous and a burden I simply can't bare. But that's not right is it? Getting off work, slipping into my favorite comfy clothes, walking to the nearest park, reading a book, drinking a matcha, and letting the sun hit my face is actually the kindest thing I can do for myself and my mental health.

If, like me, you fall into terrible patterns of dreading work, coming home and completely vegging out, and then eating things you probably shouldn't, then maybe this post will give you some insight! I'm no expert, but I do think I have collected some helpful tips on how to take care of myself when I'm feeling particularly down. 

1. Acknowledgment and Brainstorming:

I know, by the title this sounds completely dull, and like homework. But hey, if you're willing to work for a company or a school, why not work for yourself? I find this step to be super important, because by acknowledging the changes you need to make, you are holding yourself accountable. Really think about the things you are neglecting in life. Are you not taking enough alone time for yourself, are you taking TOO much alone time for yourself? Are you putting appropriate nutrition in your body? Are you staying hydrated? 

Sometimes the hardest part is admitting to yourself that you could be doing better, because it feels like a failure. But it's not a failure. It's all part of the human experience. 

Then once you've got your list, brainstorm ways that make the most sense for you of how you can change. Maybe switch from 3 cups of coffee a day to 1 cup in the morning, and then a healthier cup of tea in the middle of the day, and a calming or herbal tea at night. A lot of anxiety actually stems from over caffeinating ourselves. I used to do this all the time... I didn't think coffee affected me like it should, so I just kept drinking and drinking, until by mid day I would be shaking and anxious... wonder why?

2. Slow Change

True and effective change is not going to happen over night. It's a slow, intentional process. Or a marathon, not a sprint, if you will.

Something that I've started doing is actually eating breakfast. Instead of just downing a cup of coffee and bolting out the door, I give myself an extra 15 minutes to make something. I know it sounds really "millennial" of me, but avocado toast is something that really makes me feel great for the day. 

I buy 2 avocados at a time, and that will make me 4 breakfasts. I half the avocado, mash it with a fork, and add salt, garlic powder, and Luigi's Italiano, Red Pepper Garlic, or even fresh pepper if you're a pepper person. Then I toast my bread, and I usually like to use sourdough, or something even just a little more fancy than plain old white bread. I spread the avocado mixture onto the bread, and sprinkle cheese on top. If you have the time and love eggs, putting a poached egg on top is also a nice touch. That's 15 minutes of self care I take for myself every morning, and it sets the tone for the rest of my day. Remembering to slow down, treat yourself in small ways, and nourish the body that literally carries you through your entire life.

 

3. Get Moving

This was a hard transition for me because after being at work all the day, the last thing I ever wanted to do was work out. But trust me, once you commit to it, you will crave it. Most of us spend majority of the day sitting down at a desk and a computer. We should be moving, and stretching, and getting our heart beats up. 

My saving grace is yoga. I like the hybrid of structure and freedom. Like the best of both worlds. Having an instructor that can guide me, assist me, and motivate me is something I really need. If left to my own devices, I get distracted, lazy, and unmotivated. I need someone to hold me accountable. But at the same I like being able to adjust the postures how I need them. Yoga classes are spaces for nurturing and personal growth. There is never pressure to do everything perfect, or to even do everything. 

Be comfortable with the type of person you are when it comes to movement and fitness. 

Other activities I love are climbing/bouldering and power fitness classes. Again, things that hold you accountable and show malleable progress, but that give you the freedom of individual choice.

4. Treat Yourself With Respect

Sometimes when I'm feeling down on myself, I like to pretend I am my best friend or my own daughter. Would I treat these people with disrespect? Or would I give them grace and compassion? Sometimes just showing up for yourself, cutting yourself some slack, taking your own advice, and acknowledging your own worth can go such a long way. I know it sounds corny, but it's true. We often forget that we are all human beings trying and failing, often making mistakes, but picking ourselves right back up every morning. 

As summer winds down, just remember to take care of your physical body AND your mental body, and remember that often times these two things intertwine. If your mental space is bad, maybe slowing down for some avocado toast and attending that yoga class you've been nervous about is just what your mind needs. 

 

My favorite morning teas:

My favorite mid-day teas:

My favorite night time teas:

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