April is Stress Awareness Month and I want to share with you some simple self-care practices. Taking care of yourself doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. By incorporating one or more of these practices into your daily life, you are one step closer to a more wholesom life.
This post is in partnership with Tuft & Needle. Tuft & Needle sent me a mattress to help facilitate this post. This post also contains affiliate links that help support the blog.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret. I used to be a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist, but I haven't practiced in well over four years. Thanks to moving around the country, each state doesn't recognize my certification and they usually require something state specific. Well guess what? Getting recertified is expensive and I just couldn't qualify the cost not knowing how long we would live in each state.
Being a massage therapist is kind of like starting a blog. Once you pay all the money required to get your website up and running, you need to build trust. Moving from Michigan to California, I had to build new clientelle. That aint easy! So once we moved to Indiana, I realized that spending thousands of dollars up front might not be worth it after all.
My license just expired at the end of last year and when I got the email I was a little sad. Not only did I have a lot of fun in school - hello, daily massages! But I also missed working with clients. There is nothing like the feeling of getting your room set up, turning on some soft, relaxing music, and dimming the lights. It was just as relaxing for me as it was for the clients. Hopefully!
There are dozens of things that I can take away from my massage schooling, but one of my favorites is the imporant of self-care. Many people think that the career length of a massage therapist might be small because it is taxing on the body. However, any career could have a short life expectancy if you don't take care of yourself in the process.
Drink lots of water.
Whether you need to infuse your water or you like to drink it warm with lemon, just make sure you are staying hydrating. Dehydration makes you tired and less alert. It's always good practice to drink half your body weight in ounces of water.
Get fresh air.
Maybe you work in an office or work from home like I do. Being indoors all day can really mess with your brain functionality. Set a timer or make it a ritual to get outdoors at least once a day. Use this time to reflect on your day or exercise. You can go for a walk or run, but be sure to breathe in all that fresh air.
Get a massage or give yourself a message.
Sure getting a massage might not be in the budget for everyone, but you can always give yourself a massage. By rubbing your shoulders, you are bringing awareness to them and you might notice they are tight. Now that you are aware of the tightness, you are able to help fix a problem you might have otherwise avoided. And if you aren't comfortable with self-massage, you can always just take a nice relaxing bath.
In college, I took a class call Laughter as Therapeutic Modality. It was a very intriguing and we learned the effects of laughter on the immune system, how it can be used for pain reduction, and utilize laughter to help with stress management. Think of how you feel after you have a good laugh. You feel good, right? Even on your worst days, remember it's important to laugh.
I've talked about square breathing many times and use it all the time. You can learn many different breathing techniques or practice some yoga. Breathing is very imporant in yoga and can help you learn more about your breath. Breathing and focusing on your breath help to center your mind - a type of meditation.
Sleep and sleep well.
You'll see tons of numbers thrown out about how much sleep you should get a night. I say, as long as you are waking up well rested, then you are getting enough sleep. I try to go to bed between 9:30 and 10 to start quieting my brain. This allows me to get my 8 hours of needed sleep. Not only do you need to be getting a certain amount of sleep, but it needs to be quality sleep. That might mean you need to purchase new sheets, set the house to a lower temperature while you sleep, or purchase a new mattress.
I was elated when Tuft & Needle offered to send me a new mattress to help facilitate this post. My previous mattress was 8 years old. I knew it was getting time to get a new mattress because A was walking up nearly every single night to use the restroom and I was waking up feeling like I barely got any sleep.
Tuft & Needle mattresses are designed and crafted in the United States. They provide comfort, support, and a cool sleeping experience. I've had my mattress for over a month and I can attest to all of the above. The best part about Tuft & Needle mattresses - they are delivered for free right to you door in a small box.
Create a routine.
We are creatures of habit and do best with routines. Create a morning ritual that you follow every morning such as coffee and the news or get a sweat sesh in. Don't forget about the evening, create a routine then too. Maybe enjoy a cup of tea after dinner and always head to bed the same time each day.
Lastly, hang out with family or friends, or snuggle your furry friend.
Have you ever heard, misery loves company? Well, happiness is contagious. So spend time with friends or family to share stories with or create fun memories with them. And if all else fails, snuggle with your furry friend, on your new mattress.
What are some other self-care techniques that you practice?
When's the last time you got a massage?
How old is your mattress?