As Natalie was saying, it is SO important to take time out for self-care... And not just waiting to do it when you are stressed out! Taking time for yourself helps you refuel your "tank" and recharge your batteries, which provides you with much more to give others, better quality of care when you do give, and can prevent a lot of resentment and conflict with others in your life! Here are some of my favorite things to do in the area of self-care:
1. You were right, Nat! My number one way I de-stress and take care of myself is through gardening. To me, there is nothing more therapeutic than grabbing a shovel, digging in the dirt, planting flowers and plants in my garden, caring for them and watching them grow! There is so much peace and solitude, as well as the many rewards, that come from gardening. I think of it like giving back to the earth, and enjoying what we have been given. I usually feel a temporary sense of sadness when the gardening season comes to an end here in the Midwest. So, when I'm waiting for springtime and not able to garden, one other thing that is a close tie for my number one is...
2. Spending time with and playing with my son. One of the best parts of my week are the days home with our son, and the gift of play time with him. It's a great way for me to reconnect with my own childlike playfulness in a world filled with otherwise serious things. While parenting can be a very stressful role, at times, it is like being a kid again-- when we are pretending to give the vacuum cleaner it's own personality and voice or pretending to be a farmer plowing his fields with his tractors (he is 3 years old, so that is still an exciting and imaginative thing to do!). While he is totally oblivious to this, and rightfully so, entering his play world also helps me take care of myself and de-stress, just by spending time with him and having fun together.
3. One of my main ways of self-care, as well, is to READ! I am a book worm! Reading is such a great way of relaxation for me. Many times, I will read books that are work related, which is helpful to my own self growth and care, but I also really enjoy diving into a good fiction book. It's one of my favorite ways to de-stress.
I could go on to list several more ways of self care, but instead, I'll challenge you to think about your own ways you take care of yourself. What kinds of things feel rewarding to you? How often do you commit to taking the time for them? We also challenge you to make that a priority today! There is no time like the present.... :)
Joleen Watson, MS, LMFTA, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.