Most of my clients, friends and family roll their eyes when I start therapizing self-care, let alone when I suggest that practicing more of it may help them with what they are struggling with.
We don't have time for self-care, or that is what we all tell ourselves. And it is the truth, who has time for it between work, the house, the kids, the pets, the bills, etc.?
However, our lack of knowledge in what self-care truly is, how to practice it and the importance of making it part of our daily routine is slowly killing us.
We are tired, yet can't sleep. We have nothing left to give, yet have a never ending to do list. We think we are happy, yet are scared that our lives are passing us by.
Learning and practicing self-care, even 10-20 minutes a day can help all of this. We are all busy but we must create the time for our self-care. When we make time in our daily routine to practice self-care and fill ourselves up, we ultimately have more time and energy for that long list of obligations.
Where to start?
I say start easy by adding something to your morning routine and something to your nighttime routine. Start with just five to 10 minutes in the morning and five to 10 minutes just before bed.
Even easier start with two things you learned very early in life, two things you don't need much skill to implement and two things I think can change everything for you.
I am talking old school color. Color with the crayons or colored pencils or whatever medium you wish and in whatever coloring book you like; even if you still prefer the Disney princess or Superheroes book versus the adult coloring books on the market now. There are endless articles and studies being released on the benefits of adult coloring and the bestsellers list on Amazon only proves that people are beginning to try this coping skill out.
Coloring hits a couple of key areas that have been proven to bolster our happiness; creativity, play and mindfulness/meditation. Most of my clients like to color first thing in the morning (for more a centering activity) or right after school or work (more of a decompressing activity). Try morning or evening or both, all I am asking for is 5-10 minutes a day.
I usually an adamant dirty look when I ask people if they like to write or if they journal. Writing is a way to get the negative and stressful thoughts out. Writing out the dark gets it out of our head, helps to make it less powerful and enables us to let things go a bit better. Writing it out is also a great way to honor the light and joy.
No need to write the dissertation, the book or the blog, but always know you can if you want. Writing a simple paragraph can do wonders for our head space. Most of my clients, and myself included, prefer to write before bed as part of our nighttime routine.
- Write about your day, especially if you are stuck on it.
- Write that list that is going through your head incessantly.
- For sure, write one to three things you are grateful for (make them something different every night).
- Write three to five sentences about why you are grateful for at least one of those things.
- When did you feel God's presence (or your Higher Power)?
- Just write.
Coloring and writing are simple additions to your daily life; simple yet powerful.
For the next 21 days try to color and write every single day and see if your stress lowers, your joy rises and your life becomes a bit brighter.
Twenty-one days, 10-20 minutes a day; some paper, crayons and words, that's all I ask.
Do it for yourself. Do it for those you love and care about. Do it for the chance to feel better.
And in complete unabashed self-promotion I have I great place for you to start! My debut coloring journal, Taking Flight! But, seriously google adult coloring book and find one you love and give coloring and writing a try!