Self care: it’s something our friends, our doctors, our therapist, and perhaps our life coaches all recommend. However, most of us have come to the conclusion that implementing self care is easier said than done. Going home to a peaceful, quiet setting may especially be difficult among the confined spaces and abundance of noise in large metro areas like New York City. Nevertheless, virtually anyone can transform an ordinary room into a relaxing, rejuvenating refuge from the outside world, even if the world outside houses the rumbling trains and noisy crowds that characterize Manhattan.
1. Set the tone with lighting.
Migraine sufferers and people who are otherwise sensitive to light can attest to the impact of feeling overstimulated in a brightly-lit room. When your objective is to wind down, the lighting in the room can have a direct impact on your ability to power down. If you don’t have a light dimmer installed, you can make simple changes such as exchanging bright, everyday light bulbs with bulbs that are of a lower wattage. For an even easier hack, simply utilize a small lamp to illuminate the room instead of using standard overhead lighting. Himalayan salt crystal lamps have become increasingly popular to achieve a spa-like, ionized atmosphere. Candle lovers may even opt to forgo electricity altogether and simply light candles to achieve the perfect level of brightness. Scented candles may further enhance the setting by adding a calming fragrance to the room.
2. Wake up your sense of smell.
Aromatherapy is often overlooked in Western cultures as a means of encouraging the mind to enter a more relaxed state. Placing essential oils in a diffuser, placing a few drops of oil on a washcloth in a scented steam shower, spritzing a room with a favorite fragrance, or drying off after a bath with warm towels infused with scented oil are just a few ways naturally calming fragrances can be implemented into daily living. Some of us are aware of smells we associate with happiness or favorable times in our lives or places we have visited. However, there are specific scents that are traditionally associated with positive emotions and optimized mental performance. For example, lavender, ylang ylang, and chamomile are natural oil fragrances that stimulate calmness and enhance relaxation in the mind.
3. Surround yourself with soothing sound.
We are affected by sound more than we may realize. Similar to smells, sound may also be used to induce relaxation and to enhance mental performance. There are some sounds we associate with positive memories and emotions while other sounds add to our tension and stress levels. While it may be tempting to blare top 40s hits all weekend, if your goal is to relax and unwind, it is best to choose slow tempo music with lyrics that do not distract or evoke strong emotions. Nature sounds will also help contribute to your home spa atmosphere. If you feel most relaxed on rainy days and nights, simply include a soundtrack of falling rain as part of your self-care routine.
4. Go off the wireless grid.
High-tech personal devices are more widely available to us now than ever. Untethering ourselves from the electronic devices that have become heavily integrated into daily life can be a challenge. More and more people are establishing personal rules to periodically spend time away from their personal devices to allow for reconnection with the environment and with personal relationships without distraction. Scheduling a tech-free time during your weekend of self-care is essential to fully putting aside all the stress of the work week as well as the feelings of FOMO many of us experience during our free time. If you have dependent children or friends and family members who frequently call, it is advisable to inform people ahead of time before going off the wireless grid. Informing those closest to you about your planned downtime will not only prompt everyone to avoid unnecessarily interrupting your self-care weekend, but doing so will also inform the people in your life that there is no need to panic if they attempt to reach you and find that you are unavailable. It is not necessary to disconnect from all technology and communication for the entire weekend. However, going off the grid for several hours will allow you to more fully focus on self care.
5. Leave guilt at the door.
Self care is as necessary as medical care. Unfortunately, many of us struggle with guilt when we allocate time, energy, and focus toward restoring ourselves. While you may not be able to immediately change your mindset toward regularly engaging in restorative practices, you can adopt a rational approach toward battling your feelings of guilt. For example, before beginning your self care weekend, resolve that you will not entertain guilty feelings regarding your self care during the weekend. Instead, simply remind yourself that you can reflect on your new approach to caring for yourself and evaluate your feelings after you have completed your relaxing weekend. While engaging in your self-care activities, try to remain present and focus on healing and relaxation.
For more information on self-care and strategies you can use to achieve a more favorable work-life balance, contact us for a time management and lifestyle coaching consultation. Our services are available to corporate executives, entertainment industry professionals, and business owners worldwide.