Wednesday, February 27, 2019

February Self Care Saturday summary: ideas for your home self-care practices

keywords:  self-care, practitioner resilience, wellness, mindfulness practices, movement (walking, tai chi, qi gong), spending time outdoors, nutrition for health, the quadruple aim research paper

The February Self-Care Roundup

Some inspiration from the Self-Care Saturdays theme over at our public Facebook Page

Taking time for self-care in your day and week, from a few minutes here to 30 minutes to several hours at a time, are drops of water into your resilience bucket.  A full resilience bucket makes it easier to weather the storms of life and work.  A half-full or empty bucket provides little defense or support when the storms hit and make it easy to get swept away or feel like you are drowning.  Fill your bucket, minutes or seconds at a time. Make regular drops or cups of self-care into your bucket part of your daily and weekly routine (habits) to keep it closer to full.  Consider the following categories of self-care when you are filling your bucket:

  • Movement:  any movement from walking, hiking, dancing, tai chi, bicycling, swimming, or other forms of active movement and exercise
  • Mindset/inspiration and reflective reading:  any activity that encourages you to slow down and self-reflect.  Forms this may take include journaling, qi gong/nei gong (inner-work qi gong), several types of mindfulness practice, reading poetry, some forms of prayer.  
  • Spending time outdoors in nature:  going outside into fresh air and "green space" whether it is your backyard lawn, working in the garden, the local town park, pond, or creek, time at the beach, the botanic garden/arboretum/conservatory, doing chores at your friend's farm, or a trip to a state park or national park/federal lands.
  • Breathwork:  practice basic diaphragmatic breathing.  It can be a simple breathing exercise, like the one below. Or maybe your breathwork self-care practice takes the form of any of the following:  yoga, mindfulness meditation, qi gong, or tai chi
  • Nutrition/Food as fuel:  everything in moderation.  talk with your health care provider before making any major changes to your food intake (diet), especially if you have a chronic health care condition.
  • Time "having fun", socializing, connecting to your community.

Self-care practice could include more than one of these categories in just one activity

  • Depending on what you do for your self-care, it likely fits into more than just one of these categories, or it could.  For example, practicing Tai chi outdoors is "movement", "outdoor", and "breathwork".  Stretching exercises at your desk could be "movement".  Or, if you add a breathwork exercise to it, it could be both "movement" and "breathwork".  

Ideas from the Self-Care Saturdays theme on the public Facebook Page from February

  • The Research--the Quadruple Aim study
    • "quadruple aim" added the 4th component to the well-known "triple aim".  What is the 4th component?  clinician well-being and resilience.  The triple aim doesn't work when the system is burning out clinicians.  Adding the 4th aim, focus on a healthy workplace environment for clinicians, provides a compass for implementing the ideals of the triple aim.  Read more in the research paper.
  • Nourishment/Food
    • Breathwork exercise, "belly breathing"
      • Breathwork is the conscious control of your breath.  "Belly breathing" is practicing diaphragmatic breathing.  This type of breathing induces the "rest and digest" phases of our nervous system, the parasympathetic response.  This is an important practice because, in our modern world, we are often going about our day rushing, in a full or partial sympathetic (fight or flight) state.
      • Practice (self-care):
        • Take a few moments to check in our breathing.  One hand over your heart, one over your belly.  Practice belly breathing (where your belly hand moves more with each breath than your heart hand does). 
        • Breathe in for a count of 5 and out for a count of 7.  Repeat 20 times.
      • If you want, you can watch one of these videos while you practice:

    • May you have some peace in your day.  Remember you can come back to this breath-centering practice at any time.

    Mindset/inspiration and reflective reading
    Outdoors/Time in Nature
    • You can read more about the health benefits of spending time outdoors in the book, Nature Fix. You can follow the link to the Amazon store for this book in paperback or audiobook at our gift ideas page under "outdoor fun and health benefits of nature".   It is packed with scientific study references!

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