Take the Dare: Focus on Self-Care

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self-careAs parents and caregivers, we juggle multiple roles that can often drain and overwhelm us. According to Mental Health America, Americans spend an average of 15 minutes or less a day on self-care. Taking time for ourselves helps reduce stress and anxiety and improves our ability for compassion.

This is an area that I need to work on this year, and I want to challenge myself to include more self-care into my routine. And I hope you’ll join me in taking better care of yourself too.

Caring for ourselves is not selfish.

If we are not feeling our best and don’t have energy, then how can we truly enjoy life and have the ability to give back to our family and loved ones?

But let’s be real about a resolution, goal, or challenge. If it overwhelms, it won’t happen. That’s why I want to encourage myself and others to keep it simple. Let’s share ideas but realize that each day is different and should be flexible.

Take the dare to focus on self-care with these 31 ideas and help me add more to my list:

  1. Tell yourself that you will enjoy the start of a new year (or month).
  2. Use all (or mostly all) positive words today.
  3. Drink more water. Add fruit to your water for more flavor.
  4. Focus on your posture. Stand up straighter and round your shoulders back.
  5. Make a lunch or coffee/tea date with a close friend. Put it on your calendar.
  6. Paint your nails or have them done by someone else. Have a mini-spa session at home.
  7. Spend time outdoors walking, biking, or doing a physical activity you enjoy. Join the Pensacola Mom Collective Fitness Club.
  8. Watch a favorite movie or a new one you’ve wanted to see.
  9. Burn a few of your favorite scented candles.
  10. Organize a small space that is bothering you, such as a desk, bathroom closet, or drawer. Spend 10-15 minutes doing what you can.
  11. Create a feel-good music playlist. Write down songs that make you smile.
  12. Read uplifting, positive quotes (such as Monday Motivation with Monique’s wonderful quotes). Or read a new book. Consider joining the Pensacola Mom Collective Book Club.
  13. Wash and change your bedsheets. Fresh, clean sheets can uplift you.
  14. Start to plan a fun trip, even if you don’t take it for a long time.
  15. Look through old photos and reflect on the memories. Put together a favorite digital photo album.
  16. Pick out fresh flowers. Put them in a room that you’re in the most so you see and enjoy them.
  17. Write a thoughtful letter to yourself or a friend. Use cute note cards or stationery such as those by Emily Ley.
  18. Put on good music that will have you dancing or swaying. Spend a few minutes letting loose.
  19. Put your phone away for an hour today. Go completely screen-less if you can for 60 minutes.
  20. Color, paint, or create today. Buy an adult coloring book and spend time coloring in between tasks.
  21. Bake cookies with your children. (It doesn’t have to be from scratch!) Or enjoy a simple, delicious treat today.
  22. Cancel something you don’t need or want. Try to make it something that is bothering you – a subscription that you are not using.
  23. Pay it forward to someone today – buy a coffee for the person behind you or leave a note for a stranger.
  24. Volunteer or sign-up for something you feel passionate about. Or look into that charity that sparks your interest.
  25. Sit still for at least 15 minutes and enjoy your favorite beverage (hot tea, glass of wine).
  26. Call a friend or loved one that makes you laugh.
  27. Go to bed early. Rest is the best way to recharge.
  28. Play a game that you enjoy (for example, playing cards, Monopoly, Scrabble, Jenga, etc.) After dinner, make it a family game night.
  29. Eat your favorite meal. Don’t feel guilty about that meal.
  30. Think of three good things that happened to you recently. Write them down.
  31. Do nothing at all for 20 minutes. Or repeat your favorite activity from this list.

These are ways I can build more self-care time into my day without it being overwhelming. What else can I add to my list? How will you make more time for yourself this year?

Share in the comments. I double-dog dare you to make self-care a priority this year.

You are worth it, and you deserve it.

Download and print these 31 self-care ideas to make your health a priority.

Thank you, MALWEST Design, for creating this cute printable!

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Mandy Fernandez has lived in Pensacola since 2009. She's originally from southeast Louisiana and has also lived in Ohio and Alabama before finding a home in this region. Mandy is the mom of two daughters (ages 13 and 9) and has been married for 19 years. She is vice president of the West Florida Literary Federation in northwest Florida and serves on the Emerald Coast Review board, a bi-annual publication that showcases regional artists and writers of Gulf Coast Alabama and Florida. Mandy is an award-winning essayist and short story writer. She is also the author of Kazoo Makes the Team, the beloved children's book about the Pensacola Blue Wahoos baseball team mascot, Kazoo. Learn more about her at www.writtenbymandy.com.

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