Prioritizing Self-Care: Be a Caregiver for YOU

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Stop what you're doing and glance out the window.

Take a moment to notice how the sun dances through nearby tree branches during golden hour—or perhaps the pattern a blinking red traffic light makes when it reflects off wet pavement after dark. Whether you realize it or not, stopping to appreciate these tiny, fleeting moments can be considered a form of self-care.

It's important to recognize that self-care manifests itself in various forms and is ultimately vital for everyone to integrate into their daily life.

For Shelby Reno, CKO Kickboxing owner, self-care is a total body opportunity.

Blending cardio conditioning and resistance training, the CKO workout provides an opportunity to laugh and smile with other class attendees and trainers while treating your body to a killer workout.

"Workouts provide a visceral sense of accomplishment, which increases self-esteem and confidence."

Sasha E. Wolff, founder of Still I Run – Runners for Mental Health Awareness, stresses that trying to keep up in a world that glorifies being busy is not sustainable.

"If we can't be whole, how do we expect to be there for others?"

Wolff started walking after spending a week at Pine Rest in-patient care for depression and anxiety.

"Walking turned to running and is now my reprieve," said Wolff, adding that running frees her from technology, which can feel like a tether at times. "It's my time to get fresh air, let my mind reset and get rid of pent-up energy, through my legs."

Kym Hansen-Duell, LMSW, ACSW, Clinician, Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services, notes when we consistently put others' needs first, we're likely putting our own second, and offers suggestions on making time for yourself:

  • Make a list of personally appealing activities. Self-care needn't be expensive or time consuming; it could be as simple as brewing a cup of tea or catching up on your reading.
  • Make a point of scheduling time for self-care, every day. Write it in your planner and set an alarm.
  • Don't let anything get in the way! Notice and resist the urge to talk yourself out of taking time for self-care.

How you treat your body influences how your brain processes information, your serotonin levels, and several other factors tied to self-care. Brandi Grimmer, LPhT, CNC, Keystone Pharmacy, says switching to a more anti-inflammatory, plant-based diet does wonders for improving pain, increasing energy, facilitating weight loss, boosting mental focus and decreasing stress.

"The population as a whole is very vitamin D-deficient," said Grimmer, noting that a daily 5000IU supplement can vastly improve mood, especially in the colder months.

Floriza Genautis, Management Business Solutions CEO, found her favorite form of self-care in regular massages.

"Self-care should not be a means for escaping your reality, but a means for improving your reality," said Genautis, who took a long time to learn the importance of being aware of your mental and physical needs. "Fitting a few hours—even 30 to 45 minutes—into my schedule for myself can make all the difference and is just what I need."

If beauty rituals are your refuge, consider an Omorovicza facial at Lorde Beauty or reading owner Rachel Williams' new book, Unraveled, for makeup and facial massage techniques to learn and do at home.

"I feel it's a privilege to take care of this sanctuary—my body—that was given to me to be responsible with," said Williams. "I tell my clients that we are each worthy of time, advancement, honor, blessings and enjoying our beauty."

Patricia Terpstra, a Design 1 Salon Spa hairstylist, agrees having a regimented beauty routine can have many positive benefits.

"Just like any other morning or evening routine—like making the bed or brewing fresh coffee—it helps to start and end our day with rituals to help us prepare or unwind," said Terpstra. "Treat yourself to a single service or spend the whole day at the spa! At home, use a face or hair masque once a week."

Self-care is what you make it. No matter what you choose to do, what matters is that you listen to your needs and grant yourself the kindness you deserve.

Written by Sarah Suydam, Staff Writer for West Michigan Woman. 

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