Developing a self-care practice | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Developing a self-care practice

I recently came across a TED Talk by a lady called Bonnie Feldman. It's called "The Single Most Valuable Legacy We Can Pass On" and during the course of the talk, she discusses the importance of developing self-care practices, not just for ourselves but for our children and our grandchildren.

Here at Elevate, we know we're not alone in feeling the need to expand on the subject of self care. We want to play a part in bringing it into everyday conversation, making people aware that it's a valid subject to discuss with their friends, their primary care providers and their community. Something that we can share with others: our practices, our mantras, our nutrition and wellness advice.

Self-care is not selfish, nor is it an indulgent practice. It's about seeking out and developing new habits, building and maintaining them, then making room for more. We must learn to be the example so we can help model a culture that values health.

Dr. Feldman talks specifically about the need to educate the youngest generation so they can develop their own self-care "tool kit."

"Could we enable a culture of health where self-care becomes a building block for personal empowerment?" Feldman asked.

For all manner of reasons we choose not to take those extra five minutes, half an hour, or more if you're able to, each day to replenish ourselves mentally or physically. Either we're chronic overworkers and high achievers who don't have an "off" switch, or we're so consumed with the hecticness of everyday that we simply decide we don't have the time to factor in some "me" time on top of doing the laundry, grocery shopping, picking up the kids from school, making dinner, washing the dishes, answering emails, let alone a full time-job.

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We can all think of someone we know who decided to spend the last month running around after their children, administering aid when they got the sniffles, taking them to all their practices and school events, Christmas shopping, New Year's parties, family gatherings … and yet failing to take even a minute to ensure that they were keeping themselves topped up with the good stuff. You can't pour from an empty cup, goes the saying. You gotta nourish to flourish.

For those of you who arguably don't have time for a meditation practice, or a yoga class, or a walk in the woods, remember that "me" time doesn't have to be any of these things. In an ideal world, yes, it would be wonderful to wake up, find the time to sit in stillness for 30 minutes and profess your gratitude for all the goodness in your life, but we understand that's not always easy when you have an infant to nurse, school age kids to dress and feed a puppy to walk … So let's just start small.

Start with three sun salutations, or some simple stretching. Even just 10 deep, slow breaths. Fire up your digestion with some lemon, honey and hot water before your breakfast; add some magnesium salt flakes to your bath or make a simple shower spray to relax you with lavender and neroli in the evening.

The power of replenishing yourself — nourishing your body with wholesome food, soaking your muscles, absorbing yourself in a can't-put-it-down book, having dinner with a friend — can be invaluable to your health. Laughing, eating, sharing, talking, walking, closing your eyes, lying down, breathing.

Take the time each day to elevate something in your routine to a level that nourishes you. Enjoying something about your day that makes you feel revitalized, refreshed and more "you" so that in turn, you can be the example to others.

What will you do today to inspire the actions of others?

Bonnie Feldman: "If we can model a culture that values health, we can give the next generation a more optimistic destiny."

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