I try to schedule intentional self-care every Sunday. This is something my therapist said was important. You can't look back over your day and figure out what you did that counts as self-care. Instead, *plan* your intentional self-care, which I believe is more important right now than almost anything else (well, other than social distancing/isolation, nutrition, and sleep).
We face a constant barrage of information, and right now most of it isn't very uplifting. For that reason, I am making sure intentional self-care is part of every.single.day. of our self isolation (or family isolation).
Today, I decided to play with bubbles. I am fortunate to have a tub with jets, which makes BIG piles of bubbles. If you don't have that option, you can use a hand mixer or whisk in a large bowl or plastic tub of soapy water. Bubble play is very therapeutic, relaxing, and a great sensory activity, even for adults! We talk often of sensory play for littles, and I have been thinking of ways to use some of these ideas in my self-care activities. This is why ASMR, soap cutting, and the hydraulic press videos have gotten so popular. It's all soothing to the senses.
While I was having bubble play, I filled my hands with bubbles and swirled them around, enjoying the feeling and the crackly sound. Hold the bubbles in your hands and practice square breathing. Watching the bubbles move away from my hands helps keep me focused on my breath. (If you're not playing with bubbles but need to use this technique, try dropping some essential oil on a cotton ball and holding that in your hand. My favorites for this are lemongrass or bergamot.)
Recently, a friend of mine told me her release method for stressors that are beyond her control. Hold an imaginary bubble in your hands and put your worry inside the bubble. Then, blow it away...awAY...AWAY!
Some of my favorite sensory self care activities:
± a peaceful walk, listening for birds, the wind in the trees, smelling fresh air (This is easier than normal right now. With fewer people driving around, the noise pollution has decreased.)
± listening to my favorite music with my eyes closed (If it's loud in your house, could you do this in your car? Recline your seat and just relax.)
± sitting in a quiet room with my cat (I have a 12 year old lump of a cat. He is PERFECT! And perfectly content to sit in my lap and purr. This is proven to lower blood pressure! See, cats are important!)
± sitting in a swing or a hammock and gently rocking (Swings might not be ideal during this time unless you have one at home. Maybe sitting in a rocking chair and closing your eyes while you gently rock would have a similar sensation. You could even play some ambient, outdoor noise on headphones to simulate a hammock experience.)
Lately, there are times I try to relax into a self-care moment and I just can't get there. My mind is racing and the stress continues to overwhelm my body. In these moments I try to use my favorite grounding technique. I call this the anchor because I like the visual I get when I use that name. My kids know this one, too, and we all use it when we need to reset.
Writing blog posts right now is providing an outlet that I desperately need. I hope someone finds these ideas useful, and is inspired to relax and release some built up stress!