For the past six weeks I’ve been taking a class on essential oils. It started as a curiosity as some of my friends use them for things like spraying some lavender on pillows to help with sleep or making some soaps. When I saw a class offered locally I thought why not take the course, learn a little bit about essential oils, and learn to how I can use them to make things like candles, soaps, and my own spa bath materials. Sounds like fun, right? Well here it is six weeks later and I have learned so much more.
What an emotional roller coaster March was for me. Glad it’s over! One lesson learned this past month is that you can’t have too much self care, but you can have too little. Finding the right balance between adulting and self care can be tricky. Reflecting back on March, I have to say along with the many downs of divorce stuff there have been ups as well with my own self care.
Self care is about nourishing our body and mind, reducing stress, and maintaining a healthy overall well being. When you look at reading it is a great way to provide ourselves with some self care. Reading often allows us to calm down, relax, and feel better. It allows us to escape for a little while from all the stress that surrounds us at work, home, and on social media. When reading we are exposed to new ideas which improves our empathy for others. We learn new things about ourselves when we read and it encourages us to discover more. We become inspired by what we read and that leads us to become more creative both at work and in our leisure. Reading really does nourish our mind and our body.
By now you have probably seen them. You know the positive statements and quotes that keep showing up in your social media feeds. Sure they are cute and make us feel good to read them, but what’s the deal with them? Positive affirmations describe how we want to be. Positive affirmations are a tool we can use to change our negative thoughts to positive thoughts. If you keep telling yourself something over and over again, you start to believe it. That is often how negative thoughts take over our mind. We can learn to control our thoughts and thus change the outcome of our lives.
Hobbies can be a lot of fun. We may look at them as unimportant and just playing around. They are actually more important than we may think. When you read lists about self care, hobbies are often included in the list. If you seek therapy for mental health issues such as anxiety or depression, it is usually recommended that you try a hobby. So why should we make them part of our lifestyle?
You may have noticed that on Mindful Mondays in the Self Care Calendar Challenge, I often refer to at least one of our five senses. That is because being mindful means being aware of what is happening in the moment by using your five senses of touch, sight, hearing, taste, and smell. I’ve decided to challenge myself to devote one blog post each month for the next few months to one of our five senses. I am starting this month with the sense of touch.
In elementary school we learn about our sense of touch by being blindfolded. Then we are told to reach into a paper bag and using only our sense of touch guess what is in the bag. It’s a fun experiment. I bet if you tried it again as an adult you would get some items right and some items would be more challenging for you. We touch so many things throughout the day not just with our hands but with other parts of our skin as well that we have learned to tune out some of these signals. What could we learn by becoming aware of our sense of touch? How could it benefit us?
Vision boards often look like an arts and crafts collage you may have done as a child, but now adults are using them to visualize their goals of who they want to become, what they want to do, and what they want to have in the future. There are no rules to creating your own vision board. Basically you sit down either by yourself, with your family, or even with a group of friends and find pictures & words that define what you want on your vision of your future life. Then you make a collage of them on whatever material you like. Your vision board could be as simple as magazine pictures & words glued to a piece of card board or poster board. Or you could get more creative and attach pictures & words from printouts or your own drawings/writing to a more solid background such as a cork board or picture frame. You are probably thinking by now that this sounds like it could be fun to create, but is it really useful? This past week I did a little experiment to find out!
Candles are a really awesome self care resource to tap into. They can be helpful in so many ways. Most people use them to set a mood or to relax by. Some people will use certain scents to create different outcomes in their well being. For example many people find Lavender, Chamomile, or Sandal Wood to be relaxing. Some people find that Peppermint, Cinnamon, or Clove will help them focus. I find Peppermint to also be useful to help with breathing issues such as colds and asthma. Some people even find that Pine helps to reduce stress, depression, and/or anxiety perhaps because it reminds them of taking a walk in the woods. Part of the reason people find candle scents relaxing is because they remind them of a good memory they have. Some people find the candle flame itself to be mesmerizing. I won’t go into all the reasons people find them relaxing today, but instead will give you a list of ways you can use candles and let you experiment with scents or no scents yourself to find what you like.
Calendars are a pretty awesome way to keep organized! Keeping organized is great self care because it helps you feel less stressed knowing what is happening and when it is happening. I have several typed of calendars I use for different purposes in my life. I will go into those more later. For those who want to get started themselves, there are many options for calendars to choose from. Choose what works well for you for what you are using it for.
Where did February go? I can’t believe it’s already March! Just as anything that runs short, there are things I wish I had had more time for. There wasn’t much snow this year so I haven’t been able to take the time to put on some cross country skis yet! I did enjoy a few weeks of drinking hot mint tea to combat a head cold. Reflecting back there have been a lot of little moments I have enjoyed through out the month!