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  • Dr. Rashanta Bledman

It's the little things...

Self-care has been a popular topic over the past few years. Everywhere you turn, there is a commercial or a person encouraging you to take care of yourself! But, most of us find this to be so difficult. We think that we have to set aside an entire week of island vacationing to properly engage in self-care. I'm not sure where this idea came from, but I can assure you that a week-long amazing vacation under the sun isn't the only way to take care of yourself. Although the image of soaking up rays in front of a clear blue body of water is enough to make me hop on the next plane to paradise, for many of us, the stress in planning and paying for a vacation may actually decrease our ability to actively engage in healthy self-maintenance. Have you ever tried incorporating some little things into your daily or weekly routine to help you feel more energized and ready for your life? Here are some possible ways to begin engaging in daily self care.

1. Wake up 5-10min earlier than usual.

I know I am not alone in attempting to squeeze out every single possible minute of quality time sleeping. But, our social addiction to the snooze button can hamper our best efforts to get up and going in the mornings! Try setting your alarm a few minutes early so that you can actually enjoy a nice shower and a cup of coffee.

2. Eat breakfast...mindfully.

We are all prone to the "grab and go" lifestyle! It is easy to heat up a bagel or breakfast sandwich and inhale it on our daily commute. Try setting aside time in the morning to sit down and enjoy a healthy and filling meal.

3. Meditate a few minutes a day.

The hustle and bustle of the work day can make this one difficult. But, there are times in our day, such as when we peruse social media, blankly stare at our computers trying to craft the perfect email, or avoid taking calls at our desk, in which we can all take a roll back in our desk chair and engage in mindfulness meditation. There are several apps that I recommend, including Headspace and Stop, Breathe & Think.

4. Make an "I am grateful for..." list.

With the busy-ness of our world, we can all forget to acknowledge the good things and people in our lives. Start a running list of the things that bring you joy. If you write down one a day, you will have 365 grateful things documented in a year! Bonus points if you call someone and tell them you appreciate them.

5. Step away from social media.

Social media is amazing. It is powerful enough to keep us connected, while simultaneously helping to make many of us feel disconnected. Taking a break from social media can allow you to focus on the present and be in the moment. Putting aside your phone and shutting down your laptop will force you to engage with those around you and help you to avoid engaging in negative social comparison. Try it for a few minutes to an hour a day. It will change your perspective on what is important!

What are some ways that you currently engage in small acts of self-care? By all means, if none of these work, send me a postcard from your island vacation!! --Dr. B.

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