Self-care has gained tremendous momentum and became a growing topic of concern among women and mental health experts. Many of us have been practicing self-care before the widespread practice was coined “self-care.” It can be practiced during any time of the day and has many health benefits. My favorite time for self-care is morning as I have mindfulness and vital health activities incorporated into my morning routine. The following five actions are typically how I start my day.
- Puppy playtime and a walk in the park: I was fortunate to be able to purchase a parti chocolate and white Havanese that we affectionately call “Bowie.” Maintaining his health requires quite a bit of exercise and attention. When I wake up, we go to our local park for a thirty-minute walk and ten minutes of play when we return home. Yes…this is for Bowie’s health, but it also has benefits for my physical and mental-emotional health (https://www.helpguide.org/articles/mental-health/benefits-of-play-for-adults.htm). Playtime includes laughter, which has many benefits, including the fact that it helps me start my day with joy, and it is medicine for my spirit (Proverbs 17:2). There are many scriptures about laughter that speak to its effects in rejoicing.
- Drink a glass of water with a slice of lime. Water is essential to good health. Although I really hate drinking water, I try to reach a goal of 2 liters every day. I have my first glass before 8:00 am, which helps me to wake up and stay on track for the rest of the day.
- Completing virtual strength training and aerobic exercise sessions. Exercise is not only great for our physical bodies, but it also contributes many benefits to our mental and emotional wellbeing. (https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/what-works-and-why/201803/how-your-mental-health-reaps-the-benefits-exercise). I prefer exercising in the morning, when possible. It becomes more complicated during school/workdays. Even before the stay home orders, I frequently used streaming programs and apps for exercise. My favorite app is Fiton (https://fitonapp.com/). I typically search for streaming programs on Prime Video (https://www.amazon.com/Prime-Video/b?node=2676882011), which offers a variety of programing to stay fit.
- Meditation/Prayer Session: As a Christian, it’s important to me to have T.A.W.G (Time Alone with God). During this time, I like to read the Bible or a book or article written by a trusted Christian leader. I draw inspiration from these resources for my day or any challenges that I may encounter. I also pray and recite confession concerning a variety of issues or areas of life. Meditation starts during this time and continues throughout the day. I approach meditation with a spiritual-based mindset in that I find a scripture to evaluate and focus on throughout the day. This process is very healthy for my mental, emotional and spiritual health. It is my most vital step of the day as I continue managing symptoms of anxiety and believing God for complete healing in this area.
- Eat a healthy breakfast: Anyone that knows me understands that I LOVE breakfast. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I usually have a nice breakfast outing with my husband every Saturday morning, which typically involves a spontaneous discovery of a popular Atlanta breakfast spot. It’s during this time that it allows me the opportunity to indulge. During the weekdays, breakfast is a time to break my night fasting with healthy options like fruit and yogurt, oatmeal with seeds and nuts, or turkey bacon and egg whites. Starting the day with breakfast has many benefits, as seen here: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/johns-hopkins-childrens-center/what-we-treat/specialties/nephrology/programs-centers/obesity-hypertension-clinic/_documents/eating-right-wake-up-benefits-breakfast2.pdf.
So, what’s your favorite self-care activities that help you start your day?