As the calendar fills up with meetings, activities, sports, and other obligations, it is easy to overlook the importance of time for yourself.
However, self-care is essential for our mental and physical health. So, while you sometimes feel guilt for taking care of yourself, squash those feelings and set aside time for something you love to do.
With pressure escalating to get everything done, I decided to sit down and write out what is important to me to release stress, exercise, and take care of myself. Here is my list of essential things for my overall health and well-being.
1. Keep a Journal
Taking the time to write for me is a great stress reliever and helps me focus and keep track of ideas. Make the time to jot notes, creative ideas, poetry, organization of ideas or thoughts, free write, or just brainstorm. Free writing is calming and helps me reset my mind when I’m stressed or overthinking something. It also helps to spark ideas for articles, stories, or writing down family memories.
2. Practice Mindfulness
Fall is a season of reflection. This New York Times article about mindfulness made me do just that. It helped me to slow down from the constant rush and reflect on the time of year and what it means to my family and me.
Sometimes, we need to sit down and look at our surroundings and appreciate what it means to change seasons; that is a time of endings but also a time of new beginnings. While the approach of late fall and winter can be a dark time, I am choosing to focus on the things I enjoy; pumpkins, new comforting recipes, holidays, making a fire at home, and spending time with family.
3. Exercise and Team Sports
Find what you love and what keeps you fit. For me, it’s tennis. Aside from the benefits of a great workout, team sports have impacted me in several ways. For example, making new friends, building confidence, keeping a positive attitude, the mental challenge from learning strategy, and setting goals to improve. Not only is it a great workout, but it is much-needed social time and time focused on myself.
4. Spa Appointment
Who doesn’t love a spa appointment every once in a while to pamper yourself and take care of your skin, hair, and nails? A massage is a great stress and tension reliever.
Some of my favorite local spots are Dream Spa and Salon (Westport), Posh Spa and Nails (Greenwich, Darien, Westport), Coco Nail Spa (Greenwich), Noelle Spa (Stamford), and Agora Day Spa (Stamford). You can also check out the Fairfield County Mom Guide to Beauty and Pampering for more great spots.
5. Reading and Joining a Book Club
Carving out time in the day to read is a great escape and a way to settle down after a long day. Organizing a book club has many benefits. Setting a date to meet and discuss a book gives the motivation to sit down, read, and focus on ideas for an intellectual discussion. Book club nights are great social events as well and a great excuse for a night out for dinner and drinks with friends.
6. Outdoor Activity
Take advantage of the fall weather before it gets too cold and walk by water, bike, or hike on local trails.
7. Meet Up with Friends
Take the initiative and reach out to a friend or a group of friends and get a date on the calendar. Sometimes it’s hard to plan, but so worth the effort to connect with close friends and get out for a quick coffee or dinner out one night.
8. Acts of Kindness
My son’s kindergarten assignment inspired me to keep track of simple acts of kindness. I find this also to be a great way to take time out for myself and do something positive by donating time, donating money to a great cause, or simply volunteering to help a friend or neighbor in the community.