With summer ending and a new school year upon us, I wanted to highlight some techniques to help you and your little ones relieve stress. I mean, new school years as a kid meant friends and football, but also deadlines and demanding teachers. And as a parent, though my little one doesn’t yet attend school, I know a new school year can mean coordinating schedules of a million activities and helping your kiddo’s with school projects. Stressed yet?
So with that said, the first stress reliever I want to highlight is just plain old self-care. In the counseling profession we constantly remind therapists to take care of themselves and do what makes them feel good. It’s an emotionally taxing job and doing things you enjoy on a regular basis is crucial for mental and physical well-being. But what is self-care really? While it can be manifested in many ways, self-care is an activity we do intentionally (so plan it out!), that we enjoy doing, and which helps us unwind. Some of the most common activities for self-care include meditation (more on this later!) and spending time with loved ones.
I wanted to highlight 5 activities I considered self-care while on our Hawaii trip last week; while some are travel-specific, most can just be done at home (and you bet I’ll be doing more of them!). So whether you’re a therapist, server, lawyer, or stay-at-home-parent, make sure to schedule your self-care.
1. Alone time: One of my favorite things I did by myself was just lay down at the beach and stare at the swaying palm trees above me in the cool breeze. And what a more perfect location than the beautiful Kahala Resort where we were able to stay for a few nights. We fell in love with their beautiful grounds and ocean views, as well as the fun activities they have on-site, including stand-up paddle boarding (a must!), surfing, kayaking, and snorkeling. Plus their ocean views and top notch restaurants were the cherry on top of a fantastic stay. Did I say cherry? I mean strawberry…. The chocolate-covered strawberries we found in our room one night were definitely self-care in my book 😉
2. One with Nature: I feel more relaxed in nature so one of the hikes we planned through a beautiful rain forest/jungle/botanical garden in Oahu’s North Shore helped to ground me completely. The lush vegetation and absolutely massive trees made my worries seem insignificant.
3. Animal encounters: another simple but effective form of self-care is spending time with animals. The one activity that absolutely took all my cares away was snorkeling and I could have done it all day every day. Isn’t the therapeutic effect that animals have on people just wonderful? I felt so relaxed after swimming with those beautiful fish and observing them in their natural habitat for almost 2 hours. I’m telling you, snorkeling is my self-care activity of choice. I didn’t think of anything while snorkeling other than marveling at the school of fish and their hypnotic movements.
4. Spending time with loved ones: There’s nothing like spending time with family to help you realize what truly matters. When I’m with these two I feel safe, relaxed, and thankful that I can hang out with these goofballs who constantly keep me clutching the stitch in my side; laughter is the best medicine, right?
5. Simple but new experiences: My own self care is evolving into experiencing new things with my family, even if it’s just going to a new park or museum nearby with my two guys. While in Oahu, we headed to the tourist trap that is the Dole Plantation and loved it. We had a such a blast seeing our the glint in our little one’s eye when he rode the train ride, and watching him experience his first Dole whip (plus the sugar high that followed haha!)
Don’t forget to schedule your self-care today! In the following weeks I’ll be discussing other effective ways for beating stress and anxiety, I hope you can follow along 🙂
** The Kahala Resort sponsored our stay with them. All opinions are my own.