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Self-care-It is not all about stopping and smelling the roses: Create and implement a healthy lifest

Many of us have heard of self-care. Self-care can sound as simple as scheduling a massage or a walk in the park. "Remember to stop and smell the roses," is what many people say. However, I don’t feel it’s quite that simple.

Yes, self-care can be penciled in on a calendar. I always encourage scheduling “me time,” and setting aside time each and every day for yourself. This can include getting a massage or taking a walk to allow us to stop and smell the roses. However, self-care can be implemented using more of a whole-health approach. What does that look like and include? Think about this: You schedule in regular massages, walks, and “me time.” However, you lack adequate and restful sleep, your're not eating a balanced diet, and you work in a high-stress environment. Scheduling in a massage once a month when other areas of your life are not in balance will not add up to much self-care. Self-care is more than just penciling in “me time,” and stopping to smell the roses. It is looking at all the pieces that make up health and wellness and creating a healthy balance. Here is a quick list of self-care ideas that contribute to wellness.

-7-9 hours of sleep each night.

-Balanced diet.

-Daily meditation/yoga/mindfulness/prayer activity 5-15 minutes each day.

-At least 30 minutes of exercise 3 days a week.

-“Me time” which can be watching your favorite show, reading a book, listening to music, playing video games, etc.

-“Shutting off” at specific times of the day, such as when at dinner with family and friends.

-Don’t forget to laugh!!! Watch or read something funny or hang out around others who make you laugh.

-Eat breakfast AND lunch.

-Schedule one meeting a week or one meeting a month with family/friends/colleagues/co-workers where you can relax and be yourself.

-Schedule a date-night one night a week with your significant other.

-Turn off the phone and computer at least one hour before bed to get your brain to start saying, “It’s time for bed.”

It definitely feels there are not enough hours in a day. Self-care is not meant to feel like one more thing you have to schedule on a calendar and then feel guilty if you don’t get around to it on time or at all. Self-care is really a lifestyle where you care for yourself, your health, and your well-being. Stop and think about what you can implement each day, each week, and each month to become an even healthier and more centered person. You can start small. Add 15 minutes of prayer/meditation/yoga to your morning 3 days a week and see how that feels. Turn your computer and phone off early Monday-Friday and see if you notice a difference with your sleep patterns. Increase your water intake by an extra 16 ounces a day if needed. Start implementing these ideas slowly and you will be on track to engaging in regular self-care.

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Photo taken by Monica Coulter in McKinney, Texas, 2016.

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