By Lauren Berger, MSW, RSW
After a long winter, it can seem that spring takes forever to make an appearance (hello, April cold snap!). This is true of people too. When we need to bring our attention to ourselves to renew and revive, we often drag our feet. Why? Well, raise your hand if you put yourself on the lowest rung on the totem pole. …Thought so. When you’re going through the usual grind of dealing with work, relationships, kids, and whatever else saps your energy, it can be a challenge to do something for yourself. It’s time to hit “refresh” with my top tips for self care:
- Prioritize When was the last time that you did something nice for yourself? Chances are you’re busy trying to please your boss, maybe putting together a birthday surprise for your partner, or planning the dreaded bridal shower for a bestie. You likely spend lots of energy trying to help others feel special, but won’t spend that time, energy, or (let’s face it) money on yourself. If you want to improve your relationship with yourself, you need to put in the effort. If “me time” doesn’t seem to just happen, make a point of scheduling it. You don’t have to take a solo vacation to the Bahamas for three weeks, but I’m sure you can make a half hour happen on the weekend when you can do something that makes you feel good, whatever that is. Go for a run, cook something delicious (I mean healthy), or heck, get a manicure. If it puts a smile on your face, do it.
- Ditch the drag. You know that thing that’s putting bags under your eyes? It’s time to chuck it from your life, or at least minimize it if complete dismissal isn’t possible. Do a scan of your schedule and make a top 3 list of the things that make you anxious/depressed/downright crazy and make the choice to let them go. As hard as it is sometimes, saying “no” can offer you so much freedom and lightness. Give it a try.
- Go frolic in the sunshine. Okay, okay, you don’t need to do a full-on spin on the hillside a la The Sound of Music, but you may be surprised by what a little fresh air can do for your mood. As the weather improves, find a way to get outside. Walk to work or hop off the streetcar a couple of stops early. Eat lunch al fresco. Plant something. If your thumb isn’t green, check out a farmer’s market and pretend you had planted something. You may be pleasantly surprised by what a little outdoor time can do for you… and it’s totally doable.
Just because Mother Nature is a little behind schedule this year doesn’t mean you can’t get started on your personal spring cleaning. Hit refresh and see how much lighter you feel.
Lauren Berger is a Registered Social Worker providing counselling and psychotherapy at IHI. Check her out at www.laurenberger.ca, drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Twitter: @LaurenBergerMSW, or sneak a peek at her Instagram: laurenberger_msw. Book your appointment with Lauren today.