Over the years, I’ve learned self-care is a broad spectrum of methods and ways to support yourself, and thanks to being with TREE, I’ve had the chance to really improve my self-care strategies. One grade 6 lesson in particular has stuck with me, and that is our lesson on living a balanced lifestyle. The lesson reminded me how no one is too old or too young to learn and re-learn how to take care of themselves and live a balanced lifestyle. With students, we talked about how self-care might encompass balanced nutrition, staying active, emotional regulation, sleep hygiene, breathing techniques, and being aware of your environmental factors.
What follows is a list of some self care strategies that work for me, but will not work for everyone. I invite you to read about the techniques that I use, but to remember that my experience is not what will work for everyone.
We’ve entered a new year and are in the midst of a harsh winter season, making it difficult for us to use sunlight and create vitamin d. One new item I’ve added to my routine is a happy light.
You might’ve seen this on the market before and wondered if it works, and in my experience, it truly makes a difference. The brand I use is Verilux, who offers a spectrum of therapy lamps designed to mimic the sun’s rays without the UV rays. As someone with seasonal affective disorder, I love my happy light. I use it once per day for half an hour while watching TV or working.
I’ve added stretching to my routine as well, as we carry our stress in different parts of our bodies. I carry mine in my shoulders. This is where stretching comes in handy. It’s not only meant for athletes; stretching can be an excellent way to de-stress at any time of the day. It helps me get back to my body, feel where I’m holding the stress and allows me to release that stress. My favourite stretches are shown in this link.
Grounding has stayed part of my routine for the past two years. Grounding can be an excellent everyday habit to start your day with. On a day-to-day basis, we are expelling so much energy and taking in all that energy from our environment. To stay balanced throughout the day and not take on any negative energy, I’ve found it helpful to close my eyes with my feet touching the ground and imagine tree roots or bright white light around me. I call it my bubble, and it may be imaginary, but it’s a quick form of meditation for those of us who are busy. I find grounding a therapeutic technique to reconnect with myself when feeling stressed or out of my body.
Along my self-care journey, I’ve learnt how self-care is individual but not selfish, that it can provide instant satisfaction and long-term satisfaction, and above all, self-care creates a strong bond between you and yourself. I’ve given some insight into my routine but visit, https://therippleeffecteducation.ca/self-care-homework/ for more resources.
If you’re not sure where to start, a good practice to kickstart your routine is to make a list. When you have downtime, create a list of self-care activities you engage in and that work for you. I do this periodically to check in with myself to see if I’m doing enough for myself and to see what’s working, what needs to be adapted and if I need to add more self-care. It’s also helpful to take note of the impact stress has on you – that way, you’re more aware of when it’s self-care time.
Photo from Stefan Tomic on Unsplash
Mackita Allison holds six years of training in Peace and Conflict Studies from the Sault College Diploma Program in Toronto. She also graduated from the Honours Peace and Conflict Studies program at the University of Waterloo, with a minor in Latin American Studies. Mackita brings previous experiences as a MAD Science teacher, summer camp counselor and swimming instructor. She has also worked with KAIROS in their blanket exercise program, and on nuclear disarmament with International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War Canada. Mackita is excited to make peace knowledge fun for young learners, to inspire students to pursue peace and justice in their own lives. In her free time, Mackita enjoys sleeping, petting dogs, biking, soccer, hanging out with friends, and listening to music.