Here are some of my best self-care recommendations that you can use to keep yourself calm, healthy and resilient.
This started as just the ABCs of Attitude, Breathing, & Choice, then was developed as an alphabet series on self-care. It can be kept simple by sticking to just AB&C or small portions of the alphabet series can incorporated over time. It is extremely helpful in staying positive in challenging times such as these.
Let’s start with the ABC’s–these are the things you CAN control:
A is for Attitude. This is everything. A calm nervous system helps foster a strong immune system. I like the expression “Proceed as if it is not a problem” because we are super resilient human beings and many of us have been through challenges much larger than this in our lives. Check in with yourself and adjust accordingly.
B is for Breath. This is our best tool for keeping a calm nervous system. In through the nose, longer exhale through the mouth. This keeps our nervous systems strong and calm Even better? You do this, and you can help calm others down because you are modeling calm behavior (it goes the other way too, which is an even greater reason for being mindful of your breath).
C is for Choice. You get to choose how you move through this situation. Everything can suck, or be full of panic or fear, or you can say yes to what is happening in the present moment and eliminate the friction by accepting the moment for what it is.
D is for Decide. It’s up to you determine what you are going to get out of this situation. You can complete projects at home, learn something new, read books you don’t normally have time to read, embrace one of your talents or skills such as painting, drawing, sewing, carpentry, etc. The possibilities are endless. It’s your decision on what you want to get out of this time in this given situation.
E is for Exercise. Now isn’t a time just to be at home & be lazy. While it’s good to allow our bodies to rest, it’s important to exercise. Moving our bodies, even by just going on short walk while respecting social distancing with others, will help both your physical & emotional well-being. There are many resources to exercise online as fitness professionals are streaming live workouts.
F is for Fun. We can have some fun. It’s a good time to take out a board game, work on a puzzle, take the dog for a walk with the family, etc. Allow yourself to have some fun. Life doesn’t have to be serious all the time. Some people are having fun posting memes regarding this situation. It’s not that they don’t take it seriously but are finding humor in the situation. Stress negatively impacts health, so you might as well have some fun.
G is for Gratitude. Focus on the things you’re grateful for each day creates a positive mindset. Acknowledging gratitude for the little things on a bad day can help you appreciate how good your life truly is. It can be as simple as being thankful for a roof over your head, running water, & a bed to sleep in each night. List at least 3 things you’re grateful for before going to bed each day can have a positive effect on the way you think.
H is for Human. You’re human. It is okay to not be perfect. Even those people who seem to have it all together have their struggles & have worked through it. Don’t feel bad about your emotions or when you make a mistake on occasion. Your best is going to depend on how you are impacted by what’s going on in your life. Simply try to do your best & work on improving yourself each day.
I is for Inspire. It’s possible to inspire others by being a positive influence. Something as simple as a smile or a compliment can inspire others. Focusing on the positive & not complaining generates a positive momentum that inspires others to do good. Pay it forward. How you act, treat others, & behave on a daily basis can inspire others because people appreciate the good things in life.
J is for Joy. Take joy in the little things in life. When you appreciate the smaller things & find happiness from it, you are less likely to let the negative things bring you down. Finding the joy in life generates a positive mindset. Don’t let anyone or anything steal your joy.
K is for Kindness. Be kind to yourself & as well as others. There is no point on being hard on yourself. By being kind to others, it can make yourself feel better. Paying it forward with kindness generates positive momentum in this world. We are all in this together might as well be kind to ourselves & others too.
L is for Laughter. Laughter is the best medicine. There are numerous benefits from laughing. Laughter relaxes the whole body, boosts the immune system, reduces stress, & burns calories. It may even help you live longer. Do something good for yourself & enjoy the laughter along with its many benefits.
M is for Mindset. You have control over your mindset. You can choose to be positive. Practicing daily rituals such as gratitude can create a positive mindset. Repeating mantras, meditating, deep breathing, exercise, getting enough sleep, & staying properly hydrated can also contribute to a positive mindset. Overtime, a positive, calm mindset comes naturally. A healthy mindset can help when dealing with challenges & various obstacles in life. It’s beneficial to have a positive, healthy mindset.
N is for Nourishment. It’s important to nourish both the mind & body. How you treat your body with the food you consume & liquids you drink impact your health. It’s important to have a healthy diet that is part of your lifestyle & not just some fad. Your mind needs nourishment by exercising it with critical thinking, as well as relaxation & positive reflection. Reading, puzzles, positive thinking, meditating, etc. help nourish the mind. The nourishment that you provide your body impacts your mind just as the nourishment you provide your mind impacts your body.
O is for Open. Open yourself to new things. When you are open to learning & trying new things, it creates new possibilities. Being open allows for flexibility in light of change & even challenges in life. An open mind has the ability to perceive more & can decrease the stress from being closed minded & unable to adapt when needed. It’s amazing what can happen when you are open to new things.
P is for Patience. Whether you wait for something you look forward to or something you dread to end, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel can be long or short, making it hard to be patient. It’s important to step back, take a breath, & focus on the present. Being impatient will get you no where & can even slow things down. Have patience & focus on the here & now.
Q is for Quality. It’s quality that has more significance over quantity. Make this quality time of productivity & down time. Do things of quality for your mental & physical body with exercise, meditation, sleep, diet, etc. The physical activities you partake in should be of benefit to your overall health. The food you consume should be quality to nourish your body. Enrich mind with quality activities that both exercise your brain & relax your mind. Choose things of quality.
R is for Rest, Recharge & Reset. It’s important for your health to rest. Allow yourself to rest so you can recharge your mind & body. Once you have recharged, you are able to reset so you can resume activities. You can then take on challenges & tasks as needed. Give yourself a break to rest, recharge, & reset, so you can accomplish more & care for your health.
S is for Simplify. Keep it simple. Not everything has to be complicated. Enjoy the simple things in life. Break down more complex tasks into simpler parts. When you keep it simple, things aren’t as hard, are less overwhelming, & become less stressful. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Often, the simplest solution is the best solution.
T is for Time. We all have a limited amount of time on this planet. The amount of time differs for each person. How we use that time is up to us. Somethings require our time that are less enjoyable. What we do with our free time matters. It’s beneficial to schedule our time when we can, so we can enjoy ourselves when possible, care for our wellbeing, & be productive when we can. It’s a balancing act on how we manage & make use of our time.
U is for Understanding. Try to be understanding of others’ feelings & perspective. It doesn’t mean having to agree or that someone is right when they’re not. We all have different experiences that shape who we are as people. Being open to understanding others prevents conflict & judgement. Listening to understand others’ perspectives expands our knowledge, even if we don’t agree. We are then able to make more informed opinions & respond accordingly.
V is for Visionary. It’s up to you to write your own story. Envision what you want for yourself & figure out what you need to do to make it happen. Creating a vision for yourself isn’t just your goal but how you get there as well. While you work towards your vision, be sure to enjoy yourself along your way.
W is for Work. You can’t get what you want out of life without putting in some work to achieve it. While rest & self-care are important, it’s important to do the work. No one is healthy without putting effort into with proper diet & exercise. Work can become routine where it’s second nature. When possible, find the joy in the work you do. Not all work is pleasant, but it needs to be done.
X is for Xenial. The adjective xenial is used to describe a friendly relationship between two parties. In all this chaos of this pandemic, it’s important be courteous & kind to members of your community. It’s not all about you. It’s about others & who they come in contact with as well. There have many great examples of others being helpful & kind to others in this given situation. Start now developing & working on friendly relationships with others.
Y is for YOLO. You Only Live Once. Each person is given one life to live. Enjoy it, nurture, & make the most of your life. You will get what you put into it, so do the work to care for yourself & create the life you want. Just make sure to not make it at the expense of your well-being. Have some fun to as you only live once.
Z is for Zeal. When it comes to your life, have enthusiasm for the things you pursue. When you do what you love, it doesn’t always feel like work. Having zeal for what you do or the outcome you want to achieve, makes the work worth it. Live life & work with zeal to achieve the benefits you desire. You got this!