Self-Care and Taking Time for Yourself by Brooke Cade

When was the last time you took a moment out of your hectic schedule to pamper yourself? Many people get wrapped up in their everyday lives and responsibilities and forget to take time to recharge their own batteries.

A few years ago, I learned a hard life lesson about the importance of self-care. After bouts of depression and eventually a panic attack, I was forced to reevaluate my life and make some changes.

Taking time to meditate, write, and exercise helped me reconnect with myself. But more importantly, I noticed that when I set aside time for myself, I had more to give back to my family, friends, and community.

Here are some of the most beneficial practices I’ve found for rejuvenating mind, body, and soul. 

Exercise. Think exercise is only good for your body? Think again. Studies have shown that during physical activity, the brain releases endorphins that create feelings of happiness and improve emotional health. Exercise not only boosts your mood, but can also improve your self-confidence and sharpen your memory. In addition, evidence has shown that exercising can increase your creativity. If you have a hard time staying inspired, find a friend to exercise with. I look for someone who can hold me accountable and support my fitness goals.  

Essential Oils.  Aromatherapy has been used for thousands of years, in nearly every culture, for medicinal practices. Throughout time, people have incorporated essential oils into their everyday lives to not only heal themselves, but to help with relaxation.

When choosing an essential oil, pick a brand that is pure, medicinal, and steam distilled to ensure the best quality. Essential oils are also great to use during meditation, as they can help center you and elevate you to a higher state of consciousness—cedar wood and sage are a couple of my favorites.

Meditation. When I was battling anxiety and depression, I found that meditation really helped me to reconnect with myself and relax my mind. Meditation can also help you solve problems, get in touch with your intuition, and become more compassionate. There are a lot of scientific reasons why you should practice the art of mediation. When I started meditating, I found that I struggled with quieting my mind, so guided meditations were a good solution for me. Even a yoga class can be a great place to meditate.

Journaling. In my darkest moments, writing down my thoughts, ideas, and positive experiences had a huge impact on my mood, and helped me find balance in my hectic life. Writing helped me to stay positive and see the bigger picture in even the worst of situations. A study conducted by James Pennebaker, University of Texas, found that expressive writing can help you reevaluate your life, focus on moving forward, and stop worrying about problems you cannot change.

Self-hypnosis/Visualization. Many people, especially those who suffer from anxiety, find self-hypnosis to be helpful for releasing stress and coping with certain triggers. One of my favorite places to start self-hypnosis is to picture myself walking down stairs or moving down in an elevator. From there, I stretch imagination a little further, and move into a peaceful room or a tranquil meadow filled with lavender. 

Visualization is another great technique for finding peace and gain clarity. For some, creating a vision board is a wonderful process that can provide a clearer picture of your life’s journey. Gather images that represent goals and dreams for your future and compile them into a collage. 

Whether you have 5 minutes or an hour to devote to self-care, the most important thing is to take time for yourself. When I am calm, relaxed, and mindful, I can contribute positively to my fullest extent.

Brooke Cade is a freelance writer who works with Nature's Sunshine Products. When she's not writing, Brooke enjoys yoga, reading, and spending time with friends