Most people agree that self-care is any activity that can make you feel recharged, peaceful or joyful. In this spirit, I have created a 7 day self-care “challenge” to motivate you to try something that will help you to recharge and refresh.
Any activity can be self-care if it is mindfully done. The contrary of mindful is mindless, when we do things without thinking about it, without enjoying them.
Life is every second we live. Let’s make every second count
For this self-care for midlife women challenge, I have selected simple activities that deliver great results. Here we go:
Day 1: Breathe
Yes, that simple. Take small breaks during your day (3 or more) and do deep breathing, three at a time. Breathe with your nose, mouth closed. Inhale slowly, filling all your lungs, hold and slowly release. Repeat and enjoy the relaxation that deep breathing brings.
Day 2: Stretch
You will try to take at least 3 stretching breaks during the day. It could be as soon as you get up, midday and before sleeping. Just stretch yourself in all directions. Bonus: also do deep breathing before stretching.
Day 3: Drink
We are going to drink water, plain water, and unsweetened herbal teas or infused water. How to infuse the water? Just add some lemon, lime, oranges or any fruit you have. There is a catch here, the water has to be room temperature or warm. Try to drink at least 6 cups of water. The warm water will improve your digestion and bowel elimination.
Day 4: Be in the nature
Being in nature is one of the easiest way to relax. Just go to your garden or anywhere outside where there is some vegetation. If possible, lovingly touch the plants or the soil, or take your shoes off.
This is not a mad new age ritual, we carry positive charge in our bodies because of the radiation we are constantly exposed to, such as wi-fi and screens everywhere. Trees and plants can absorb some of that positive charge leaving us more neutral and relax.
Day 5: Vision
We are not talking of vision boards here, although they are also self-care. We are talking of your precious eyes. We are going to relax the eyes. Take 3 breaks during your day to practice long distance vision.
This is simple:
- Focus on something distant from where you are. For example if you go outside you can focus on a mountain or tall trees, observe the details.
- Close your eyes for a few seconds
- Now look at something close to you, it can be your hand (not your phone)
- Repeat the process 3 times.
- Now gently cover your eyes with the palms of your hands, do not put pressure on the eyes. Breathe normally but consciously a few times. Take the palms out and open your eyes.
Our eyes are stressed because they were mainly designed by nature for long distance viewing and we are using them most of the time for very short distances (phone, computer, books etc.) so it is important to look at a distance frequently during the day. Relaxed eyes are healthier.
Day 6: Chewing
Today is a day to chew well our food. This has many advantages, the first is that it allows us to really taste the food. Second, it slows us down, so we eat less. And when we chew we are helping our stomach, and therefore, improving our digestion. Chew each bite (or a lot of the bites) 20 times, count from one to 20. We are not used to chewing and it is an important activity to avoid digestive issues, and it also helps to avoid overeating.
Day 7: Laugh
Best for last. Laughing is very relaxing. It helps us to decrease cortisol, the stress hormone that consumes our estrogen (read stress and perimenopause). Pick a standup comedy on TV or a funny movie and enjoy.
Bonus: pet a pet or play with a kid. A sweet activity that connect us to other living beings.
I hope you enjoy these activities and develop your own self-care routine.