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  • Writer's pictureDanielle Morran

Is caring for others trumping self-care?

Does anyone else feel like the practice of self-care is currently like putting 5 dollars in the gas tank? And you know 5 dollars is not getting you too far! But what if I told you there is a way you could put easily put 5 dollars in your gas tank multiple times a day? Leading you to a full tank!

Simply put, self-care is something you do to promote or protect your own well-being and happiness. Self-care includes your physical, mental, and emotional health.

Why is self-care so hard to do?

One of the hardest things about self-care is that it requires caring for oneself. Taking the time out of your busy schedule to do something that promotes and protects your own well-being can be hard. Self-care can be especially hard if you focus on taking care of others. You may find that you put your focus on other people’s feelings, needs, and problems which in some ways can be an attempt to self-protect. However, this prevents you from doing a good job taking care of yourself . . . How incredibly damaging.

This doesn’t mean you can’t be there for others or that it is not a reality that your children need to be taken care of. But if you can invest even a small amount of care more often in yourself, you will in turn be able to better care for others. The whole idea of putting your own oxygen mask on first, right? Easy, right? NOT ALWAYS.

Self-care does not need to be big things or expensive outings. It can be more realistic to do small doses of self-care to support your nervous system. Here are 3 easy, tangible things you can do that will help you take care of yourself. It all comes down to engaging in activities that reset your body.

1. Sing or hum

Whether you are driving to or from work, feeding your newborn baby, making lunch for your toddler, or showering off the day … engaging in a little singing or humming can help activate your vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is the longest in the body and acts as a reset for our nervous system. The more time our body can spend in a regulated space the better we will feel, so belt that song out and give it all you got!

2. Gargle water

This one can be easily added to your daily routine while brushing your teeth. For the same reason above gargling water helps by engaging the vagal nerves and allows our body to reset. The important thing to remember is the intention, often we go mindfully through tasks such as brushing our teeth but if we can utilize the opportunity to reset our bodies why not? Putting a little note on your mirror in the bathroom can help remind you to seize the opportunity. Go on and gargle!

3. Arm self-massage

This is one of my favorite ways to reset my body and give myself a bit of TLC. Simply cross your arms, your left hand to the right shoulder, and your right hand to the left shoulder. Then slowly and firmly squeeze your arms going from your shoulder to your wrist and back up. You can do this several times a day, sitting at your desk, watching your child play at the park, or after you finish a meal. What better way to give a little self-care?

The above 3 things are small but mighty ways to shift the focus onto yourself when you may be finding it hard to do so right now. Give them a try and hopefully, it creates a foundation for your self-care!

Do you need support to balance caring for others and yourself? Please reach out

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