I started my self-care journey before I knew what self-care was! Like almost every adult I knew, I was stressed and in need of an outlet. Sure, I’d come home and light a candle, or cook dinner and relax, but I needed more. I found that release in running.
Now, let me be clear, I am not a natural runner. If I was running, TRUST me when I say it was because something was chasing me! Nonetheless, I set out to embrace running using a program cleverly named Couch to 5k, or “C25K”. The program itself started out easy enough, although I quickly realized just HOW out of shape I was! Even still, I committed to the program for two months, dragging myself to the gym to hit the treadmill for approximately 30 minutes at least 3 days a week. To my surprise, I quickly found my “rhythm” within a couple of weeks. Now, my breathing took a bit longer, but that’s a story for another day! During those first few weeks, I found myself looking forward to running, in the same way I had previously looked forward to pizza or ice cream and would create new routines around going to the gym to get in a quick run. It was also during that time that I saw a shift in my mental and emotional well-being. The things that would trigger a reaction no longer elicited the same effect. I was more calm, less stressed and in better health! This isn’t to suggest that any of it was easy because it wasn’t; but it helped me to identify the things I could manage, be it big or small, and implement those changes.
Over the course of the past 10+ years, I’ve dabbled in many self-care routines, from physical activity (running, hot yoga and spin classes to name a few), to setting a relaxing mood at home (diffusing essential oils while reading a book). Self-care is about taking the time to nurture and care for yourself, the same way you would nurture and care for a good friend. It’s a journey, not a race; make yourself a priority.