5 Self-Care Activities

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For moms, parents, grandparents and caretakers...

I am in Pittsburgh today, attending my first Annual Meeting of the American College of Preventive Medicine, and wow, great program and content from experts that are passionate about “health” and what it means to improve population health through prevention. 

On the flight here today, I reflected on 5 simple things I love to do and hope you will consider, just to indulge in some “me” time. All of us who care for others, whether our children, elderly parents, a sick neighbor or friends, personally or at work, must “recharge” and “recover” in order to fill our own emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual “tanks”. Just like the flight attendant reviewed this morning, how we should put on our own oxygen mask first, I hope you will enjoy these 5 suggested activities just for you. Better yet, 5 or more of your own favorite things to do! 

  1. Enjoy a hot bath and a book. (Not necessarily at the same time!)
    It’s really two separate activities here. I really dislike when a book or magazine pages get wrinkled from the heat if I read during bath time, and I don’t like getting my pages wet, or having to turn them with my bubble bath-soaked fingers! 

    Run a hot bath and get in. Lay still, feel the water supporting your weight. Take deep breaths. Think of nothing. Light some candles for an even better effect, even music. Our bodies love water! I wish there was a way I can help Tilly, my husband Dave’s 
    105 year-old grandmother, into a tub. She has reminded me for the past several years, what she misses the most is taking a bath. Don’t take that opportunity for granted. Run a bath tonight! 

  2. Go out to brunch or dinner with your friends. 
    Time with friends, great conversations, laughter, enjoying a cocktail, and sharing all things good and bad—there is nothing like having someone who isn’t your child or spouse, but a trusted and close confident who can empathize and relate to your daily struggles and experience.  

  3. Get physical. I love to play tennis and make time for it each week
    Last Saturday, after 90 minutes of playing, in gorgeous sunny Florida weather, sweating, feeling the strain on my body as I focused on giving my best to every shot, I felt amazing!

    Pick your favorite sport or work out, and just do it. You will likely feel so good about the decision to exercise, and from the exercise itself. Be outside and it will improve your mood and sleep

  4. Watch your favorite show. 
    Just finished 3 seasons of Borgia on Netflix. One hour per night, my indulgence. This after Reign, Versailles, The Tudors, and Medici! Transports me away from medicine, daily stresses, and the endless “to-do” lists. I just love being “still”, on the couch or in bed, and it’s awesome!  

  5. Take a walk. 
    Anytime, anywhere, cold or hot, put on a coat or wear shorts. It may be raining. Enjoy a great walk, simple, no objective, look at all the trees, flowers, focus on the scents, smell, sights, and sounds of amazing birds this time of the year. Walk, keep walking. Hold hands with your spouse or children if walking with them. Walk your dog, and watch them prance with joy when being taken on a walk, likely their favorite activity. Walk early, walk late, alone, with a friend, doesn’t matter, just keep walking! 

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