Taking Time For Yourself… Because You Are Worth It!

By: Brittany Kepler, MS, NCC

Making time for taking care of oneself is easier said than done for most people.  Sometimes it can seem like there is not enough time in the day to accomplish everything you need to do; especially when it is taking a time out to care for yourself.  Self-care is essential to your overall physical and mental health.  When we do not take time to do the things that make us happy and love ourselves, it makes it challenging to handle the stress of our everyday lives as well as care for our loved ones.

Even though the thought can be daunting about how you are going to find the time to do something for yourself, even just taking 5-10 minutes out of the day to do something for you can be extremely uplifting and powerful.

  • Schedule yourself into your schedule: Whether it be early in the morning before others are up in the house or late at night when everyone else is asleep, take a few minutes for alone time.
  • Ask yourself “What are things that make me happy?”: Treat yourself to do an activity that brings you joy. Whether it be knitting, taking hikes, coloring, getting your nails done, watching a funny movie, or like me, sitting outside drinking a nice hot cup of coffee by myself before my day begins.
  • Surround yourself with positivity: Put the news feed down and spend time with close friends and family that uplift you.
  • Meditation: Allowing time to be mindful of yourself can increase your self-awareness and really can get you more in tune with yourself.  Research suggests that meditation is “associated with improvement in a variety of psychological areas, including stress and anxiety” and it also can “reduce blood pressure, pain response, stress hormone levels and even cellular health” (Melnick).
  • Try something new: Take a new class for fun or learn a new hobby that you have always wanted to try.
  • Splurge a bit: Treat yourself to eating something you love like that piece of chocolate cake you have avoided since you began that diet or enjoy a day at the spa where you can unwind by yourself.
  • Laugh: Laughter not only helps boost you physically through building up your immune system, but emotionally as well by increasing your mood and decreasing anxiety and stress (“Laughter Is The Best Medicine: The Health Benefits Of Humor And Laughter”).

The first step to taking time for yourself is making a list of things that make you feel good.  Find out what makes you happy and what gets your mind away from your daily routine of life.

Steve Marabol quotes that “The most powerful relationship you will ever have is the relationship with yourself.”  Which is so true!  So take an extra 5 minutes every day to listen to your favorite song, snuggle with your pet, or just sit and breathe.  If what you are doing is for you, then you will be in a much more positive and healthy place!

 

 

References

“Laughter Is The Best Medicine: The Health Benefits Of Humor And Laughter”. Helpguide.org. N.p., 2017. Web. 19 Mar. 2017

Melnick, Meredith. “LOOK: Your Body On Meditation”. The Huffington Post. N.p., 2017. Web. 19 Mar. 2017

 

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Mindfulness is Key

 

woman meditation on the beach

Written by Chrissy McClain MA, NCC, LAPC

Life is non-stop. We are constantly on the go and ready to move on to the next task. Multitasking isn’t a privilege, but a necessity. My guess is that most days, when you wake up the first thing you do is reach for your phone. From that point forward, you are consistently stimulated until that night when it is time to fall asleep. The problem with this rush is that you may find yourself losing your connection with the present moment – missing out on what you are doing and how you are feeling.

The art of mindfulness is, essentially, paying attention on purpose. Focusing attention on the present moment, observing thoughts, feelings, realities, and then accepting life as it is, in that moment, without judgment. There are now, more than ever, studies examining the benefits of mindfulness. The American Psychological Association (www.apa.org) lists more than 7 researched benefits of practicing mindfulness.

  1. Less Over-thinking. Studies show that people who are practicing mindfulness daily have seen decreases in symptoms of depression and anxiety. Those practicing mindfulness tend to have a clear mind – retaining more information and maintaining attention.
  2. Less Stress. Meditating has been shown to shift peoples way of thinking in a way that allow them to process events in a calmer way.
  3. Better Memory. Findings say that working memory capacity is increased in those individuals practicing mindful meditation exercises regularly.
  4. As you might imagine, taking time away from the constant stimulation of the day and replacing it with a mindfulness exercise has been directly related to increased attention spans.
  5. Stable Emotions. Regularly practiced mindfulness activities help people to disengage from upsetting situations and events in a healthy way.
  6. Flexible Thinking. Meditation activates the brain, which causes more adaptive responses to stressful situations.
  7. Healthy Relationships. All of these benefits of mindfulness help individuals respond more positively to stresses and conflicts within a relationship. These exercises are also able to help develop self- insight, which can lead to affective conflict resolution and overall positivity.

Now, you may be thinking that you simply do not have time to “practice mindfulness”, and this is why I am providing some easy ways to incorporate this practice into your daily life.

  • Deep Breathing- Begin your day with 5 minutes of silence and deep breathing (in through your nose and out through your mouth)
  • Download an app- (example: Headspace)
  • Youtube meditations- (example: TheHonestGuys)
  • Use your senses- Take a few minutes and engage with your 5 senses…notice everything that you can taste, smell, see, hear, and touch in that moment
  • Body scan-(example: https://youtu.be/obYJRmgrqOU)
  • Do something that is out of your normal routine (example: drive a new way to work or school)

Getting in the habit of practicing mindfulness may not come naturally, but stick with it and you will see results!

Happy Meditating!

The Importance of Mindful Play with Your Children

Written By: Cristine Seidell, LAPC

parent-child-play

 Most parents have been asked by their children to come play with them.  It is a dreaded question for many parents, as they feel they have “forgotten” HOW to play or they feel guilted into playing.  Yet, research has proven that playing with your child not only provides fun for both child and adult, but also an opportunity for bonding, acceptance, and the development of new skills for the child.  SO for all of the reasons why, here are a few ways to get started:

1.      Allow your child to invite you to play.  Children love to be creative in their play and may design a game that sounds familiar, yet they have made completely new rules to play by.  Give them the time to discuss them with you, ask questions, but don’t correct them.

2.      Desire to play with your children.  Children are notorious for approaching us when we are juggling 150 different things.  We may be on edge for a deadline or trying to gather ourselves to be able to prepare for a dinner party.  If your child requests to play with you, but you are unable to freely play at that moment.  Explain you can’t play right now, but really would like to play in ______ minutes/hours.  Whatever you say, make sure you follow through with it.  Children are amazing score keepers.

3.      Be open to different types of play.  Not all children play the same way.  Just because you like video games, doesn’t mean your child has to play what you want if you play with them.  Rough and Tumble, Board Games, Figures, and Sandlot Sports are just a few you can suggest if your child is clueless on what he/she would like to play.

4.      Play should be a two-way street.  Neither the parent, nor the child should be 100% in control.  If your child creates a game and agrees to play by a certain set of rules, but decides to change them.  It is important to remind your child that a set of rules were established and it important to play accordingly.  Similarly, if your child chooses to play figures and is building a wall that you feel could be built better, withhold from interjecting your opinions and allow your child to problem solve or be content with it as it is.  It is about play nor perfection.

At first parents finding playing feels a bit awkward and forced, but as they continue, they find that they enjoy the time and they themselves reap the same benefits that their children do.  So, put whatever electronic device you are reading this on down and get out and PLAY!!!