Did you know there is another day on the calendar to celebrate your badass self?
A day dedicated to you? Today 7/24 is self-care day: a day created by to the International Self-Care Foundation to remind us that self-care is something we need to be aware of 24/7.
Self-care is what we do for our body, mind, and spirit that fuels us rather than depletes us. It’s the foundation of health and the best form of “health care.” The World Health Organization’s definition of self-care has evolved over time, just like each of our self-care practices will change over our lifetimes. But regardless of how we practice self-care on any given day, the underlying principle remains the same: there are core pillars that allow you to thrive instead of just survive. Self-care simply means taking care of your badass self.
Everyone has a right to shine. For over a year now, I’ve been conducting seminars, giving speeches, coaching clients, and talking in my sleep about self-care and its connection to peak performance. Big thanks to all the organizations and companies that have participated. In the words of a gentleman who attended one of my trainings in June: “I was a big skeptic of your session, but after hearing what you said I’m convinced and truly appreciate you sharing.” Then, he asked me for a second self-care worksheet for his wife so that they could make self-care plans together.
In honor of self-care day, I compiled 24 self-care tips that take less than 7 minutes. Today I will focus on 8 self-care tips for your body; look for the remaining 16 tips for your mind and spirit over the next couple weeks.
- Move: Of course movement is number one on the list. Find something you like to do and go do it. Make movement a non-negotiable habit like eating and brushing your teeth. Don’t like to move but love your brain? Listen to this Ted talk for inspiration.
- Dance: As I wrote this post at Central Market in downtown Denver, two employees began to dance. You could see the joy just beaming out of them. They danced for a max of 30 seconds. 30 seconds for a big change in state? I’m in.
- Have sex: When I asked what brings people joy in one of my self-care trainings, one woman gave a very direct answer: sex. Having sex with your partner is good self-care. Make a plan to get naked, or just do it!
- Breathe: Think of your breath as windshield wipers for your brain. Breathing helps to clear away the gunk, allowing you to think clearer, calmer, and kinder. I’m a big fan of the relaxing breath (also known as the 4-7-8 breath). Sit up straight. Exhale completely through your mouth. Inhale through your nose for a count of 4, hold for a count of 7, and exhale through your mouth for a count of 8. This is one breath. Repeat the sequence up to four times. Don’t worry about doing each breath perfectly; the important part is to keep counting 4-7-8. For more information about the relaxing breath and other breathing techniques, check out this resource from Dr. Andrew Weil.
- Pack a snack bag: The next time you travel, have back-to-back meetings, or schedule a late lunch date, be prepared with fuel that nourishes your body. Having healthy snacks will save you from being HANGRY in that meeting with your boss.
- Get your oil changed: When was the last time you had an annual physical? Had your teeth cleaned at the dentist? Saw a masseuse or a chiropractor? Schedule it now. We have to go on offense when it comes to maintaining our bodies.
- Nap: A woman who attended one of my trainings in May told me: “Once I gave myself permission to take a quick nap at my desk, my entire life changed.” One of the best things we can do when we are working 24/7 is give ourselves permission to take a quick, 20-minute nap. Your body and work will thank you! For my research-based friends, check out more information on naps from the National Sleep Foundation.
- Nothing: That’s right, sometimes the best thing we can do for our bodies is to do nothing at all. To relax on the couch, lounge on our bed, or swing in a hammock. Do nothing. Or read a book, listen to music, catch up with a friend. This is one of the hardest things I’ve had to learn over the years: you’re not lazy if you just chill. So chill the fuck out and try to relax.
In the words of Jim Rohn: “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”