I’m probably not alone in using the New Year as a way to re-evaluate the things that I do and setting resolutions to take better care of myself. I’m starting to hear more about the concept of self care which is exactly what you probably think. It’s the idea of taking care of yourself.
From what I’ve read, self care isn’t about pampering. Although you are certainly deserving of an occasional splurge. It’s also not about the basics like sleeping, eating, etc. Self care is about finding those activities that are unique to each of us and making sure we do them so we’re being our most productive. Here are a few examples:
Take inventory of your health insurance policies. I know, everyone should regularly review their insurance policies. The goal of the review is to make sure your insurance covers what you need and that you’re taking advantage of the wellness benefits it offers. An increasing number of insurance companies are promoting self care benefits because they understand the value it brings.
Find a fitness plan that works for you. It’s important to have some sort of physical activity in your day. We have a treadmill desk, under the desk elliptical called Cubii, and take Pilates classes a couple times a week. It took us a long time to find activities that we liked. That’s what works for us. I have a friend who loves to run marathons. That’s what works for her. The point is, keep trying new activities until you find the one that works for you.
Consider developing a morning routine. I’ve always said that my morning routine is important to me because I don’t always have control over the rest of my day. A good morning routine could be as short as having your favorite cuppa tea or reading the newspaper. Or maybe something longer that includes exercise, listening to a podcast, or watching an episode of your favorite TV show.
And an evening routine. Speaking of routines, it might make some sense to also have an evening routine. Maybe having a short nightly routine will help with relaxation and better sleep. It could involve not using technology devices after a certain hour, reading before bed, or listening to a bedtime story (I discovered this on the Calm app. Can’t wait to try Stephen Fry’s narrations.)
Learn about nutrition. As much as we don’t want to admit it, there are foods we love that don’t love us. And there are many foods that we’ve declared nasty that, if they’re prepared correctly, are absolutely wonderful. Nutrition isn’t about eating awful food. It is about discovering – what you like, what agrees with you, and how you like for it to be prepared.
Practice stress-reduction techniques. Each of us experiences stress at some point. Self care is about understand what creates stress and the activities we can do to reduce stress. It could be taking a 15-minute coloring break or practicing mindfulness each day. It might even involve some of the other things we’ve discussed like having a morning or evening routine. Or using exercise as a way to relieve stress.
Make ergonomics a priority. I’m defining ergonomics here as proper lighting, posture, temperature, etc. When we work in an office environment, someone else is often responsible for making sure we have equipment that is good for us. At home, we have to take on that role. In retirement and unretirement, proper ergonomics matters. It will help us feel good and be productive.
Use technology productively. I’ve mentioned technology a few times already. As much as I love my devices, I do set boundaries and occasionally declare time for a digital detox or vacation. Think about what works for you and your lifestyle. Use technology as a tool. Don’t let it control you. This is harder than it sounds and takes a tremendous amount of self-awareness.
While I’m talking about self care in the context of the New Year, it’s really a concept we should think about all year long. Taking care of ourselves is important to our well-being. And the better we feel, the more we can do in our unretirement.