Last year I suffered from a stress induced illness called Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, which temporarily paralyzed the left side of my face. I was shocked when the doctors told me that despite living a “healthy lifestyle” (i.e. exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet) this sickness is caused 100% by stress – that’s right, a lack of mental health!
The cure/prevention was not to do more but rather to do less. My doctor essentially prescribed me a heavy dose of R&R – I was supposed to CHILL OUT in order to get better. For a Type A, highachieving person, this is totally counterintuitive. Do nothing? Do you know who I am? I thrive in stressful situations! I thought I was going to go crazy! However, I’m grateful for the illness and for my recovery process because they taught me to value self-care. And if you are a high-achiever, self-care is not going to the gym or writing a “to do” list or reading a book about growing your business. Self-care is just relaxing and then relaxing some more… that’s it! It’s about placing a high value on “me time.” It’s about learning to CTFD (calm the F down). Here are 7 ways I chilled out during my recovery from Ramsay Hunt and ways I still chill out today. They are NOT productive, but they are relaxing which makes me a mentally healthy woman…
- Get artistic – Buy a coloring book and color a few pages (for real), draw, make a beautiful bouquet of flowers for you bedroom, find some arts and crafts on Pintrest, etc. I find creating something from nothing is very therapeutic, especially when there is no pressure to perform and the final product is simply for me to enjoy!
- Write a letter to yourself – Pretend you are living 10 years from now in you DREAM life and write a letter of encouragement, advice and hope to yourself today.
- Go for a walk – Don’t jog, or run, or count your calories. Just walk for the sake of enjoying the walk. I recommend listening to a fun book, podcast or a relaxing music. I personally like to listen to praise and worship music and I find that I’m instantly calmed. My dog, Pearl, often joins me for these 🙂
- Soak in Epsom salt – Yay bath time! Fill up the tub with warm water, bubbles and Epsom salt (great for reducing inflammation in the body). Light a yummy candle and just soak for 30 minutes.
- Enjoy a face mask – I’m obsessed with paper masks. Trader Joe’s Rich Hydrating Face Sheet Mask is my personal fav. I like to put on one of these and enjoy a glass of wine. Very relaxing. I also got into acupuncture. At first I was just going because I wanted to get my face moving again, but then I really loved it and usually fall asleep and take an amazing nap while the needles settle in.
- Read (just cuz) – No self-help or business growth books allowed! Just read something mindless and fun. I like romantic comedy fiction novels but just pick whatever interests you, as long as it s NOT productive and ONLY fun!
- Follow a morning routine – About a month ago I started following a morning routine and it totally brightens my day! I actually look forward to waking up and following my routine. Every morning I take my supplements (one of which is cherry-flavored gummy biotin supplement), take a shot of Elderberry Syrup, make a cup of black coffee in my Keurig, and have “Quiet Time” (more the quiet time later)
Most importantly, I believe self-care should be done ALONE! So the focus is you and only you. Sometime we think a movie night with a friend or a girl’s night out is self-care, but the reality is that when we are with other we usually consider their wants and needs and make compromises. Self-care is about making time for you and only you! What are your fav self-care practices? Please share, I’d love to hear!