Physical Self Care
By: Alicia Ross
Practicing self care involves caring for your whole self — psychologically and emotionally, but also physically. For the second edition of our self care series, we offer some tips for physical self care. How will you practice self care this week? Try to incorporate one or more of these suggestions to help care for a healthier and happier you!
Incorporating exercise into your weekly routine is a crucial component of physical self care. Exercise keeps your body healthy, while also releasing endorphins to make you feel better emotionally!
Some exercise ideas for busy parents: Go on a quick, brisk walk during your lunch break, tune in to a fitness class on Zoom or attend one outdoors, play outside with your kids for an hour or even 30 minutes, swim some laps while the kids splash around in the pool, jog up and down the stairs while listening into a conference call through headphones
2. Fix your sleep schedule
For the busy parent, this one is understandably much easier said than done. It may take time and practice to achieve a consistent, sufficient sleep schedule, but it’s never too late to start!
Tips: Experts recommend 7-9 hours of sleep per night for adults. Ideally, aim for a consistent bedtime and regular wake up time. To help with this, establish a night time routine that works for you! Maybe that means reading a little to decompress after putting your kids to bed, or stretching a little in the morning to help you wake up early and start a productive day.
Consider adding rituals to your bedtime routine such as reading a certain type of book for a certain amount of time, doing a walk through of your yard or house to appreciate the plants/birds/stars, drinking a certain beverage, spending time with a pet before heading to bed. YHAV parent tip: drink sleepytime tea 20 minutes each night before bed for never fail sleep.
If you struggle with anxiety and tend to wake up multiple times worrying about what you have to do, consider keeping an easy to do list by your bed. Write down your thoughts and worries and then force yourself to let go of them the second you write them down.
Download this page to write down your worries at nighttime.
3. Be conscious of your diet
Strive to be more aware of what you’re putting into your body this week. Cutting down on processed foods will make you feel better physically and emotionally!
Tips: Meal prep! At the beginning of the week, plan out each meal. If this is overwhelming, start with planning dinners. Put aside the ingredients needed for each, cooking what you can ahead of time to make for less cooking during the busy week days. While it’s tempting to order takeout or throw in a frozen pizza for the kids, it’s possible to create the allure of already-prepared food through prepping your own meals in advance! That way, you can control the ingredients and strive for healthier, whole foods.
Click Here for some great Family Friendly Meal Prep Ideas
Practicing mindfulness through meditation is a great way to build in physical self care to your day. Focusing your attention on your breathing will leave you feeling calm and centered.
Tips: Start with just 5 or 10 minutes a day! Not sure where to start? There are many great apps available to walk you through guided meditations such as Headspace, Calm, or Aura.
5. Get clean!
While this may sound really basic, I’m sure many of you can relate to being so busy, you don’t even feel you have time to take a shower. While cleaning your body is obviously important for physical health, it can also leave your mind feeling “cleaner” and refreshed.
Tips: Carve out time where you can take a peaceful shower, or relaxing bath. Make time to take that extra step that allows you to feel your cleanest and most rejuvenated — maybe that’s deep conditioning your hair, doing a face mask, or creating a calming atmosphere in the bath with candles and a good book.
6. Drink enough water
This is another basic building block of physical health and care that seems simple, but can often actually slip away in the mix of a busy schedule. Ideally, you should have 8-9 cups of water per day.
Tips: Buy one of those liter or gallon-sized water bottles with encouraging messages on the side to keep you drinking throughout the day. If you switch locations a lot throughout your day, alternating between indoors and outdoors, an insulated water bottle might be even better to keep the temperature cold and consistent.
7. Skin, hair, and nails
Take some time this week to turn your attention to your skin, hair, and/or nails. For working and/or parenting adults, these smaller areas of the physical self can get a little neglected.
Tips: Treat yourself to a face mask! It doesn’t have to be a really expensive one, there’s tons of great, cheap options available at drugstores to give your skin that extra glow and leave you feeling refreshed. Get your hair highlighted if you feel like a change could be nice, or just get a trim to chop off your dead ends. Trim your nails and push back your cuticles, or treat yourself to a mani-pedi at a local salon! Another daily option to enhance all three of these are vitamins and biotin supplements, which can help your hair and nails grow.
8. Get outside!
There are so many benefits to our bodies from spending some time outside each day. Sitting, walking, running, swimming etc. in the sun can help reduce stress, reduce fatigue, and lessen symptoms of depression.
Tips: One fun outdoor activity recommendation is gardening. Trying to maintain a garden forces a small amount of outdoor time each day, whether it’s weeding, watering, or other maintenance activities. Other ideas are taking your conference call in the backyard, taking a small walk around your neighborhood with kids, biking to the corner store rather than driving. Do whatever appeals most to you, but make sure you’re building in some outdoor time to your day!