What I Do for Self-Care

Self-care is something I take seriously. I'm prone to high levels of stress and often experience anxiety. While my stress levels are WAY lower now than they have been at other times in my life (specifically, all of college), I'm still prone to over-stressing. To combat those feelings, there are certain things I do every day that help keep me calm.

Here are my self-care activities:

-Read as much as possible
Reading has been my solace for as long as I can remember. It calms me down and helps me unwind like nothing else. I need to be reading good books to feel happy, so I'm vigilant about reading as often as I can, and I'm careful to stop books I don't like or that are making me sad.

-Go outside
Being outside and seeing the sun and sky always does wonders for my mood. I try to go outside fairly early in the morning, although this is something I need to work on. James wakes up around 6:45 and it pretty much feels like from the time we wake I'm up hustling to get us out the door. Yet finally when we're ready to go it's 9:15. How does this happen? I have no idea but I want to change it.

 Anyway, I am extra grateful that I live in Southern California because I get to enjoy being outside all year round. I use the mornings as time to exercise and rejuvenate. I'll stick James his stroller, where he loves pointing out all the trucks, and just listen to an audiobook or podcast as I go on long walks. Being in the fresh air (and out of our apartment, which never gets enough light) helps lift my spirits so much.

-Crochet or cross-stitch
I've read articles about how soothing it can be for people to work with their hands, and I have found it to be true for me. I'm crocheting a blanket right now and I love the time to sit and focus on the stitches and then have something productive to show for myself. It's also a great activity to do while listening to something or watching TV.

-Have long conversations with Brock
 This one is obviously more personal than the other ones, but I realized recently how much calmer and happier I feel when I'm sitting with Brock and we're talking endlessly. I've worked to make these times of connection more of a priority because of the difference that it makes in my stress levels.

-Keep areas around me tidy
During the day when James is around, I just don't care about what messes he makes because trying to make him stay tidy feels like such a losing battle. But as soon as he is down for his nap, I make sure the table is clear and all his toys are put away. I can't relax while I eat if it's messy, so I always put a little bit of time to straighten up (it usually takes around 10 minutes) because the payoff for me is huge. Brock and I do the same after we finish dinner- we always make sure the living and kitchen are spotless because it provides such a calming environment for us.

-Avoid certain time-wasters
I've realized that being on my phone never, in the long run, helps me relax. I feel empty and drained if I've spent a while scrolling aimlessly. I always make a constant effort to limit my time on it, but thinking about it in terms of "how can I achieve the calmest, most put-together version of myself?" has given me extra motivation to be careful with how I use my phone.

What things do you do for self-care? I always love hearing suggestions.


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