7 Ways to Celebrate Self-Care Awareness Month (updated September 2021)
You’ve boarded the plane and you’re settled in your seat. The plane begins to taxi toward the runway in preparation for takeoff.
As the plane moves, a flight attendant stands at the front of the aircraft and tells you about the important safety procedures. During the demonstration, you hear:
"if there is a change in cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down in front of you. Place your oxygen mask on first before helping others."
Why do airlines make a point of providing this guidance? Because in the confusion of midair emergencies you’re likely to try and put the oxygen mask on a child, someone who is infirm, or others who you may see struggling. You’ve had a lifetime of programming that says other peoples’ needs come first.
With a moment’s thought, it’s clear how important it is for you to place the oxygen mask on first. If you can’t breathe, you can’t take care of anyone else. Self-care is the most important gift you can give to your loved ones.
Why Taking Care of Yourself First Matters
While your day-to-day life may not be a disaster at 30,000 feet, the wear and tear of daily stress exerts a huge emotional and often physical toll on health and wellbeing. It’s so easy to get submerged in an ocean of stress we stop noticing the warning signs. We’re so busy doing for others, we forget how important it is to take care of our own needs first.
This doesn’t mean we ignore the needs of family members or professional responsibilities. Quite the opposite. When you take emotional care of yourself, you have far more emotional fuel in your energy tank. You can do a better job helping others when you help yourself first.
Self-Care Awareness Month
With September being Self-Care Awareness Month, it’s a perfect time to look at ways you can build in self-care activities into your daily life. It’s important for your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of those you care about.
7 Suggestions for Self-Care
Here are seven suggestions to begin your self-care program:
First and most important, commit to incorporating daily activities for self-care. Commit to self-care for the longterm. It’s a gift to yourself and to your loved ones.
Schedule on your calendar three to five minute breaks every hour. Your mental and physical capacity begins to wane after 45 to 55 minutes. A short break every hour recharges you physically and mentally.
If you’ve been seated, stand up. Stretch, yawn, and sigh even if you don’t feel like doing so. Take several steps away from your work location and, if possible, look or step outside and connect with Mother Nature. Spend at least a minute breathing deeply as you allow your mind activity to slow down.
Make time to do activities you enjoy. Walking in Nature is great, but if you prefer spending time in the hustle and bustle of city streets, go for it! If you love to sing, dance, do yoga, exercise, shop, read, play bridge, or whatever - commit to doing the activity at least weekly. Schedule the time on you calendar and do it.
Take vacations to places you want to go rather than places you think you have to go. Visiting family is fine if that brings joy. If not, take trips to other locations you’re excited to visit. Take weekend trips in addition to longer vacations.
Explore new ways to relax and release stress. If you’ve tried meditation with little success, try a form of moving meditation such as Tai Chi or labyrinth walking.
Lean and apply Energy Psychology methods to release stress and recharge your emotional energy. You’ll find a rich array of calming and emotional first aid Energy Psychology methods on the FREA - short for Finding Recovery From Emotional Abuse - website at www.FREA.support. These methods can be used to calm and release stress anytime.
Commit to incorporating activities for self-care;
Schedule three to five minute relaxation activities hourly throughout the day;
Stand up, look or step outside if possible, stretch, yawn, sigh, and move at least once an hour;
Make time for activities you enjoy;
Take vacations and weekend trips to places you WANT to go rather than places you think you have to go;
Explore news ways to relax and release stress; and,
Learn and apply Energy Psychology methods for self-care. Visit www.FREA.support to get started.
Here’s the bottom line: Self-care matters. It matters for your wellbeing and the wellbeing of those you care for.
Please begin today - this day - to show yourself self-love with self-care. You will feel emotionally renewed and you’ll show your loved ones how much you care about them whether you’re at 30,000 feet or right here on Mother Earth.
Listen to the Companion Podcast
Click the player below to listen to the "Mind Over Stress" companion podcast episode for this blogpost.
Stephen Carter is a former Chief of Police, Corporate Security Director and safely leader for one of the world's largest financial services companies. He is now the CEO of Stress Solutions, LLC, a company dedicated to helping people enhance physical and emotional wellbeing through stress mastery using mind-body methods. He is the host of the, "Safe Living Today" and "Mind Over Stress" podcasts.