As we enter what is often referred to as “the holiday season,” we want to share a few more thoughts on self-care and well-being. This can be a time filled with get-togethers, obligations, and changes in routine. All of these can really shake up our bodies and minds – leaving us in need of some extra support and coping strategies. Practicing self-care helps sustain our work within the anti-sexual violence movement, prioritize ourselves and our healing as survivors, and strengthen connections to those who love and support us.
Over the next week, try to practice one of these per day. We’d love to hear your experience, so share your journey using #NJCASAWellness2015 on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.
Write down three things for which you’re grateful. Gratitude – for even the smallest of the day’s pleasures – can help jumpstart our mind and soul. It also helps provide a little perspective when things get a bit out of control. Before bed, try to record three things that make you feel grateful. They don’t even have to be different from day-to-day!
Increase your water intake. We know…we know…But our bodies are over 70% water and we owe it to ourselves to replenish and renew when we can. Coffee and soda don’t count, so try to drink them sparingly or alternate – one glass of coffee, one glass of water.
Revisit your favorite book, poem, or artistic work. Do you have a favorite story that transports you to a magical or exciting place? A poem that brings you peace? A painting that allows you into the artist’s world? Set aside some time to read a chapter, stanza, or marvel at the wonders of creativity. Alternatively, create your own artistic work. Paint a picture, play and/or sing a song, practice creative writing, or engage in whatever artistic form you prefer.
Check in with your body and needs. Sometimes we put off our own needs to care for others or handle the present task. Please put yourself first when it comes to eating nutritious and joyful foods, using the bathroom, and getting a good night’s sleep.
Inhale. Exhale. Repeat. Alright, this is a repeat from last year, but it’s too important not to include! Your brain needs oxygen to work at its best. Breathing intentionally can help regulate our blood pressure, muscle tension, and heart rate. Try one of Adrienne’s breathing techniques for a burst of energy, a cooling vibe, or to get back in touch with the day’s intention.
Spend time in preferred company. Surround yourself and spend time with trusted and supportive loved ones when possible, whether that means family, close friends, significant others, or pets. You may also prefer to spend time alone; this is especially important for introverts who need time to re-energize and recharge.
Pick one of this week’s practices to carry with you through the winter (and beyond!). Did something feel nourishing or revitalizing over the course of the week? Were you particularly excited about incorporating something into your routine? Make it a seasonal practice!
Remember, you are deserving of respect and safety. You can also call NJCASA’s 24-hour hotline to be connected with a local rape crisis center for additional support.