By Rachel Cringoli | “The Rooted RN” | www.therootedrn.com

There is a saying, when you are healthy, everything else matters..when health is lost, it becomes the only thing that matters.

Self-care has become a buzz word in our culture, alluding to be an indulging treat for yourself. In reality though, self-care is not an indulgence at all. Self-care is a human necessity for heath.

This phrase, “self-care” quite literally means caring for yourself! You brush your teeth every day, don’t you? I hope! That’s part of your daily hygiene. Self-care is daily emotional hygiene. Something you do everyday to wash away the stress from life. Caring for yourself emotionally matters so much to health and happiness. 

How do you feel when you are happy? Physically, how do you feel? Do you notice that your shoulders are relaxed? You breathe easy. Perhaps you’re less likely to react out of emotion. You probably have more energy, and are able to help those around you too. On the flipside, think of how your body reacts in times of stress. Times when you feel anger, frustration, or sadness.  Does your face tense? Your shoulders shrug upward, muscles tighten. Maybe you react quickly and feel heavy during the day.   

If you had each versions of yourself side by side, the happy version and the stressed version, which do you think overall would be healthier? 

The happier version! Overtime, when we are stuck in stressful, emotionally fatiguing patterns, physical problems sneak in. Our bodies react to stress in a number of ways, including inflammation, digestive problems, sleep pattern disruptions, and chronic diseases. The good news is we have the ability to take care of ourselves and prevent stress from getting the better of us. Self-care simply means finding ways that help you care for yourself, even when facing stress. This daily emotional care helps you to be happier and live healthier. 

Self-care is not one size fits all. It is as unique as you are! Choosing time to be in the space of something that is special for you is the secret to self-care. And this can be different day to day. Keeping in mind a person, place, or activity that calms and brings a sense of peace, let’s get creative!  What, who, and or where is something special you appreciate? Think of five things you can fit into these categories that bring a peaceful joy. These five things are the start to your self-care kit. This kit acts as a bag of tricks you can turn to as a part of your emotional hygiene. Do one of these things every single day. 

I have a friend, that no matter what I’m feeling, she raises my spirits. Calling or texting her is in my self-care kit. I also love quiet in the morning, so I wake up before anyone else around me. Space fascinates me, so some days I watch NASA livestream video, and most nights I simply look up at the stars. These little quirky habits make me happy. They are just for me, by me. What are special moments like these, you can incorporate into your life? 

Does the smell of coffee, or the colors of sunset make you smile? What about the sound of the ocean? If you don’t have physical daily access to what makes your heart sing, looking at the photos, or videos of them can transport you into the world, to bring a similar peace. There are sound and meditation apps for your phone as well than can bring serenity. 

Truly caring for yourself comes in your daily habits. The small thing you include in your day that is solely for you, for your soul. Further ideas are reading an article, writing down what you feel grateful for, and prayer. Watching a short video that makes you laugh, or sipping tea while listening to the birds sing.  Make a morning pact with a friend, and text each other when you wake. One person may fancy dancing around to jazzy piano music, while another walks the dog with loud music in the headphones. Whatever floats your boat!

Self-care really is that simple. Making the choice to create time, even 5-15 minutes, that is for you alone. When we allow ourselves to slow down, and to be fully present with what brings us joy, we are able to show up more fully and more presently in the rest of our lives. When we let our habits go, our health goes with them. So, make time for yourself now. Self-care for you. Self-care for health.

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