Self-Care Matters: Start Today

In honor of May which is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month, we are kicking off our online self-care course with recommendations and exercises for establishing a daily/weekly self-care practice. As we say in mindfulness and counseling, lifestyle change is dose-related and the more consistently and frequently you practice, the more benefits accrue, and the stronger your self-care or stress-reducing muscle becomes.

Yesterday when I was at Macy’s Galleria in St. Louis partnering with Clinique Cosmetics in a “healthy lifestyle” event for their #startbetter campaign, from the customers to the other lifestyle experts (Paul Mitchell Salon students were there and did a great job on hair and nails) to the women behind the counter, everyone talked about how stressed and busy they are. A few, had regular mindfulness activities like gardening or walking in nature, but most did not. The problem-too little time.

How many of us tell ourselves that we don’t have time in our day to practice self-care? I know I did until I suffered from walking pneumonia seven years ago when I let myself get run down and didn’t know if I’d get back up. Or the story I heard Ariana Huffington tell last week as part of the Women on the Edge of Evolution online conference, about how her life had been frantic and out of control until she found herself lying face down in a pool of blood one day, passed out from fatigue and emotional exhaustion. Many of us have these stories to tell.

So, here’s this week’s assignment. See if you can carve out five minutes twice a day and do something restorative. Close your eyes and breathe for five minutes-click here for an online exercise; take a shower and dedicate your time to appreciating the sensation of the water or the smell of the soap instead of focussing on your to-do list; spend five minutes before you go to bed and in the morning when you wake up, expressing gratitude for what you have, or whatever self-care looks like for you.

Try it and see how it goes. Then, share your experience with us so we can support and encourage each other. You are “not alone” which is the theme of Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month and one of my favorite songs from Into The Woods.

Our community is with you. Namaste.