Five Easy Ways to Take Good Care of Yourself

In just a few days, hubby and I are taking off for Italy (so excited!), our first big vacation together in many years (did I mention that I’m so excited?) Although I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to some great places recently, he has not. That’s what happens when you are too busy to get away. And did I mention that not getting away is making someone very, very cranky and stressed? Don’t tell him I told you that. And if you’re reading this, honey? I love you anyway.

But getting away doesn’t have to involve a long vacation, nor does it have to mean spending money. Everyone needs to take a break from their lives and give themselves the gift of self-care. It’s not indulgent. It’s not selfish. The emotional and physical toll of not taking a break can be devastating for your mental and physical health. And the rewards of taking a break can pay off in so many ways: in our health, our relationships and in how we interact with the world around us.

 

You deserve all the love you have to give. (Shutterstock.com)

You deserve all the love you have to give.
(Shutterstock.com)

1 Get Outside

Now that the weather is looking up, being outside can feel almost like a vacation (especially to those of us who suffered through this miserable, endless winter). Instead of drinking your morning coffee in the house, step outside. Take a 10-minute break (or longer) at lunch to breathe in some fresh air. Go for a walk after dinner. (Yay for late sunsets!)

2. Ditch the Gym

No, I don’t mean give up exercise – but take it outside. According to research, exercising outdoors can boost your mental health and may be enough to send your tension, anger and depression plummeting.

3. Breathe Deep

The American Institute of Stress says that deep breathing increases the supply of oxygen to your brain and stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system. The end result? A wonderful state of…ahhhh. Calm. Click here for more on that.

4. Read

A great book can really take you away (I was recently transported by reading Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch and had a hard time getting back into my world when it was over!); but so can the latest issue of People Magazine, if that’s what you need to escape. Although I must admit; it was pretty depressing to read about George Clooney’s gorgeous, brilliant finance, especially since I was hoping to run into him next week in Lake Como.

5. Get a Massage

Okay, you have to spend some money here…but what a payoff you’ll get (and it’s cheaper than taking a vacation). Some massage perks: better sleep, lower anxiety, deep relaxation, stress reduction and all-around feeling good.

Other suggestions:

Unplug

Take a bubble bath

Pet a dog (or a cat)

Eat (your all-time) favorite dessert (and ignore the calories!)

Turn on some music and dance

Do you have any favorite ways you take care of yourself?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. We think alike, Sheryl! You hit 4 of my favorite ways to take care of myself:
    Get outside (preferably in green places – the concrete jungle doesn’t have the same effect);
    Run outside and use a park bench for some bodyweight exercises;
    Read – I also loved The Goldfinch;
    Get a massage….
    The only thing I can add is “Plan a trip!”

    • Hi Joan – Thanks for your comment. You are absolutely right about working out outdoors – being in a green place has much better benefits. It helps people exercise longer and more often – I personally can attest to that!

  2. Great suggestions! Have the best time in Italy!! Hope to see you this summer to hear all about your vacation. Info will be coming about a 60th birthday celebration. Will keep you posted!!

    • Sheryl says:

      Hi, Sarah – So glad you stopped by! And so excited about this summer- 60 deserves a big celebration – and to celebrate all together will be fantastic! xo

  3. I also think it’s important to allow yourself to do nothing when you feel that way…then you can return to the other 5 options:-)

    Bon voyage!
    Irene S. Levine recently posted..My friend crushMy Profile

  4. I need to get outside more…thanks for the reminder!
    Pam@over50feeling40 recently posted..Dressing Too Old, Too Young…How to Decide!My Profile

  5. Great tips! I have very recently found out just how important breathing deeply is. I have a deviated septum– should have been repaired years ago– but we’ve long had medical insurance with “mega- health-insurance-co” who does not believe in spending much money to keep folks healthy! Because of this, I get constant sinus infections in spring and fall… and snore like crazy…because I breathe through my mouth constantly. I recently bought a $6 rubber dental fitting that solves the problems…ALL of them! I can breathe, I have energy, I can sleep! And, oh yeah…that deviated septum is getting fixed next month.
    Denise Gabbard recently posted..Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! Friends, Challenges, and Moving ForwardMy Profile

    • So glad you will finally get the relief you need. My son had his deviated septum repaired last year and it made such a big difference!

  6. Great tips. A good movie can be a great escape. Yoga definitely gives me a mental vacation too.
    Brette recently posted..Roasted Veggies with Rosemary, Machego and HamMy Profile

  7. Walk by the ocean? Something I have not had time to do recently.
    Alexandra recently posted..FrontpageMy Profile

  8. Sheryl,
    wonderful idea to write about — thank you.
    you’ll not be surprised to hear that for me listening to and playing music, and going to hear freinds who are musicians play, either in concert ot informally (both, too) are great for this. music is my profession, that’s true, and it is also and endless source of inspiration and rejuvenation, and helps me tune into those things.

    I’d add talking with an old friend, or just taking a walk or being silent with a friend is another idea
    and taking time for to let your thoughts become still — that’s part of your unplug suggestion. sometimes there is a time of transition to let the peaceful silence settle in, and it can be important to give yourself that time, too.
    Kerry Dexter recently posted..celtic connections: seeing musicMy Profile

  9. We haven’t been on vacation since 2001, so I’m super jealous about your trip. I would add putter in the garden to your list, but yes … dogs, dogs always and forever provide the BEST break from daily life.
    Roxanne @ Champion of My Heart recently posted..Lilly’s Fund – An Update on the Memorial FundraiserMy Profile

  10. The unplugging really works. And I’m not even that plugged in but, boy, does it help to unplug.

  11. I love that eating a favorite dessert is on your list. :-) Love all the others too. Just bought some salad greens to plant in my little flower-herb-salad garden. Will make a point to do that this weekend!
    Jane Boursaw recently posted..Interview: Eric Mabius Talks ‘Signed, Sealed, Delivered’My Profile

  12. Oh, and let us know if you run into Clooney! So excited that you’re in Italy as I write this.
    Jane Boursaw recently posted..Teaser Poster & Trailer for ‘Cinderella’ Live-Action Movie in 2015My Profile

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