Open Accessibility Menu

The gift of self-care

Published in Mental Health, For the Health of It Author: Lezli Tuttle, LSW

The holiday season is starting. How are you holding up? Let’s check in. Find a quiet space and close your eyes. Focus on where your breath is coming from and work on moving it by expanding your belly with your breath and notice the air filling your lungs. Now, let’s check in with your body. Do you notice tension anywhere? Try to direct your breath into that part of your body that is experiencing tightness. Don’t worry if you can’t do that right away because it will improve with practice. 

OK, now that we’ve done that, let’s focus on giving a gift to ourselves. The gift of self-care. 

We all have demands and responsibilities in life. Often, we get so caught up in the care of others that we forget about ourselves. Why is it important to focus on our own needs, too? We can think of this in a few different ways:

  • Every time we do something for someone else, we’re taking energy out of our own bank account. What happens when we keep taking out and don’t make deposits? We end up with a negative balance.  
  • Another way to think about this is to imagine an airplane trip. One of the major instructions on the airplane is to put your own oxygen mask on prior to helping someone else. Why? Because, in order to give energy to others, we need to have the energy to give. 

How often do you find yourself putting other’s needs in front of your own? Below are some tips to give yourself the gift of self-care.

Seven days of self-care

  1. Give yourself a mini-manicure with a simple sugar scrub. Two cups of granulated sugar and one cup of oil (baby, canola, grapeseed, olive, etc.). You can add different spices or your favorite essential oil to give it some smell good.
  2. Give yourself permission to read that magazine that’s been sitting on the coffee table gathering dust. (The actual dusting can take happen later!)
  3. Go through the closet and get rid of five things that you don’t like or haven’t worn in a year. (If you haven’t worn it, do you really like it?)
  4. Snuggle up in a warm blanket and savor a cup of hot tea or hot cocoa. 
  5. Get outside and take a walk around the neighborhood.
  6. Put on your favorite tunes and dance with your partner, children, pet or self.
  7. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier.