Simple Self-Care Practices You Can Do Every Day
This post is sponsored by Biotheranostics, Inc. (Breast Cancer Index™). Thoughts and opinions are my own.
The year 2020 was going to be “my year.” I was ready. After spending the previous two years going through a painful divorce, experiencing the grief process, and loads of mental and physical health care, I finally started feeling like Amy again when January 2020 rolled around. In February, I took a beautiful trip with my sons to Disney World and after I came home I made a vision board of what I wanted to manifest for this glorious fresh year.
In my dream board, I included visuals of finding love (the real kind), new opportunities for my business, healthy self-care practices, and reminders of strength. Once March hit, everything came to a halt.
The world changed seemingly overnight. Schools closed. Hand sanitizers and masks were sold out everywhere. I will admit, that I went into a bit of a panic. I jumped into this panic and started preparing for a new way of daily life. My default instinct was to keep my family safe first, then worry about myself later. I fell back into that old habit that I had worked so hard on improving. By April, I was beginning to see signs of depression and heightened anxiety, more so than normal, and all I wanted to do was take care of my son (who I was homeschooling full-time now) and nothing else. I felt paralyzed by the unknown of the future and how to navigate the present.
I was not abandoning fear. I was embracing it.
I had a lot of work to do. On me.
The first thing I knew I had to do was up my mental and physical health. That meant I needed to reach out to my doctor and therapist immediately and be transparent. They both know me well and I have loads of trust in their guidance. We made a plan of action to take baby steps in a healthy direction during a very high-stress time for everyone. I am grateful that I have health care providers I can rely on for that.
Today, I want to share a few simple practices I have used to lower my anxiety and depression in this year of the unknown. Some may seem obvious, but as women who are often caregivers, we can forget or sacrifice the obvious for others. But the thing is…we cannot care for anyone we love if our tanks are empty. A car surely can run on an empty tank, can it?
SIMPLE DAILY SELF-CARE PRACTICES
Drinking water. Why is this so dang hard? This is especially important in the warm summer months when it’s easier to get dehydrated by just being outside a little tiny bit.
While water has always been an easy habit for me, I realized that I hadn’t been drinking my usual daily amount when I was feeling anxious. So, I’m working on that.
I take a water bottle with me everywhere I go, whether that be a walk outside or a drive to complete errands. You’re more likely to grab a drink if your drink is always available in your bag, purse, backpack, or cupholder.
Deep breathing. I know you hear this a lot. It’s likely overused to point of annoyance, but seriously. Sit and breathe. You don’t have to do yoga or even stretch. Deep breaths truly slow down the heart rate, which slows down anxiety. I am very bad at not exhaling. I catch myself doing it often throughout the day and when I stop to readjust my breath, I immediately feel a bit calmer.
This gif helps me regulate my breathing when I’m anxious…
Deep breathing also allows more oxygen to your brain and I don’t know about you, but my brain is already overloaded with ALL THE THINGS. It needs all the oxygen it can have. Trust your breath.
Nature. Look, I know it’s likely hot where you are. We’re up in the 110-degree category on a daily basis here in Oklahoma. Going outside seems like torture, but when I do, ahhhhhhh. Calmness takes over.
Being inside more than I ever have in my life has made every tree, flower, and plant that more beautiful and exciting, thus lowering my anxiety and depression and inspiring my heart. Early morning or evening walks are much cooler, so I try to stick to that plan so that I don’t self-sabotage my routine.
Some days when a walk does seem like too much, I simply sit on my back patio and feel the breeze run through my hair and listen to the birds sing to each other. If I’m being honest, I also bought a set of binoculars to start bird watching, too, ha!
Checking in on mental and physical health. This is, by far, the most important of daily self-care practices. Yes, every single day you must check in with your body and mind. When something doesn’t feel right, actions have to take place.
This means checking in with your doctor or therapist, slowing down (see practices above), and being very honest with yourself, even when you feel like your to-do list cannot justify it. Not another minute of putting yourself last on that list.
As you know, I’ve been talking a lot about Breast Cancer Index the past few weeks, the maker of which has become a near and dear partner of mine because they support women’s best interests and health.
WHAT IS THE BREAST CANCER INDEX TEST?
Breast Cancer Index (BCI) is a test that provides information to help women diagnosed with early-stage, hormone receptor-positive (HR+) breast cancer, and their oncologists make personalized decisions about extending anti-estrogen (also called hormonal or endocrine) therapy beyond 5 years. (Read Intended Use and limitations at breastcancerindex.com)
Breast Cancer Index is a test that looks at your initial tumor sample to provide two pieces of information:
- Whether an additional 5 years of anti-estrogen therapy is likely to help reduce your risk of the cancer returning (recurrence) as metastatic disease
- Your individual risk of metastatic recurrence between 5 and 10 years after your initial diagnosis, which is presented as a percentage risk [e.g., 3.2% or 7.5%]
I will be sharing more about Breast Cancer Index with you in the coming weeks with you. Please check back in to support all women, both those who have been affected by breast cancer and those who haven’t. It’s important that we educate our sisters about their options.
In the meantime, learn more about the Breast Cancer Index by visiting breastcancerindex.com and follow #notanotherminute on social media.
Founder of Mom Spark – a lifestyle blog for moms.