I’ve shared my complicated relationship with September, when the leaves turn as I turn a year older, while I revisit a time that it all came to a crushing halt. But with hurt comes healing. And September has taught us that well.
So how can we take a month plagued with hype and frenzy and find room on the calendar for self-care?
Here are 9 self-care suggestions:
1- Take some of that summer ATTITUDE with you – Fight those end of summer blues by remembering summer doesn’t officially end until September 22nd. Don’t let the rush of the school year or closing of your local pool fool you. Pack some of that relaxed summer vibe in your backpack or briefcase to remind yourself that it will all be ok even if you aren’t ready to get back into the fast lane.
2- Schedule time for what YOU want to do – Much of September is ruled by school and work. Your calendar is likely already filled but make sure you enter time for yourself each day. It can be as short and simple as a 15-minute walk. Enjoy an hour of reading or watching your favorite show and don’t be shy about putting it on the calendar. Maintaining a weekly class at the gym or appointment with your therapist, coach or mentor will become invaluable. I’m looking forward to starting classes later this month.
3- Plan something FUN (and funny) – Plan an activity that gets you feeling like a kid again and gets you laughing. Goofing off is good for the soul, yielding many physical and psychological benefits. Comedy has gotten me through quite a lot of pain.
4- Book a TRIP – Have something to look forward to that takes you out of your immediate environment. You don’t have to go far to feel refreshed and renewed. Escaping has served me well during the month of September.
5- Create a new MENU – I happen to love being in the kitchen, but even if cooking isn’t your thing, you can design a menu each week that will save time and help ensure you’re eating well.
6- SLEEP for strength – It’s easy to take sleep for granted, but make it a priority to get the sleep that feels right for you. This includes a wind down routine each night and keeping your sleeping space comfortable. When you think sleep can wait, remind yourself that tomorrow is a new day and feeling fresh after a good night’s rest will help you face the grind with vigor.
7- LEND a hand – When we help others we not only feel good, but we get a break from focusing on ourselves and what we think we should be doing. If volunteering seems too much to add to the mix, spend time with a friend or family member who might need some support. It can be a relief to realize it isn’t all about us.
8- MEDITATE (or just breathe) – Being in the moment is one of the best tricks in the self-care book. And breathing is what anchors us in that moment. I have witnessed such growth and improvement in clients who practice daily meditation. But if that seems too overwhelming, just take 5 deep breaths while sitting still, exhaling slowing. Notice how it slows your heart rate and grounds you, softening tension and quelling anxiety.
9- WRITE it out – We all have something to say, but saying it out loud might not always work as well as writing out our thoughts. It clears our head and provides a channel of release. Storytelling and writing have been a good friend to me.
Each September I make it a priority to take time to care for myself in different ways and it has paid off. Take control of your well-being and kickstart September with self-care. And then see what habits you can nurture season to season.