by Christa Hardin, MA, owner and director of Reflections Counseling & Coaching
It’s a popular saying that there is no such thing as balance.
That you must and will always feel guilty for the things you aren’t doing.
That you will never feel “good.”
That isn’t true.
And no one can impress feelings on you unless you allow them to.
In response to that saying, I have created 10 Tips for Feeling Great that will help you to thrive again or for the very first time via personal adventures and self-care!
And rest assured, balance does exist.
It doesn’t mean you are perfect or that mistakes don’t happen.
But no matter what, both your productivity and your peace are invaluable!
Invest in yourself and you will both live with quality and produce quality!
So here are my top ten tips for self-care and feeling great in both your activity and your rest!
When you make plans to get active refreshment, keep them. Activity is a major stress relief as long as you aren’t going way too hard. Work with a trainer a few times if you need to gauge it or talk to your family doctor about your ideal plan.
Then, don’t allow little things to get in your way once your plans are set. Hold on to those plans as though they are a non-negotiable and just as important as getting to school or work on time for the truly are.
Find Beauty in Nature.
Setting is uber important for refreshment. When I was getting total F as in Fail for self care (or possibly Fake) I was literally running like a rag on a treadmill listening to music that wasn’t feeding my soul. Ugh.
Find a place at least weekly where you can relax or workout outdoors in a beautiful setting.
If your setting is anything but beautiful, take some time to find a small space out there and make it beautifully yours, even if it’s 4 feet by 4 feet and in your backyard or a patio.
Combine Spiritual, Physical and Emotional Self-Care.
If you’re a true multitasker at heart even in your most relaxed moments, you may even now be sipping coffee and interrupting your reading to give each child your undivided attention.
No judgement if so, we may be friends.
And you especially will love hearing me say that your physical, emotional and spiritual can be all had at once some days.
Get creative to make that happen. Try sitting on the beach or at a park one breezy evening with a devotional book you’ve been wanting to dig into and your jogging shoes on. You rest (emotional), read (spiritual) and run or walk (physical) all at once and your day is complete!
Don’t Defy A New Season.
Seasons, my friend, seasons. I used to try so hard to defy seasons but I am learning to embrace them.
When a door needs to close for awhile, stay busy doing something else wonderful.
When my body isn’t up for jogging or decent workouts, I focus on even healthier eating and I try to get extra rest.
Listen well to what works and what doesn’t so you feel refreshed even when things don’t go according to your plans.
Defy Limitations. Dream Big.
If tennis is your gig, plan a big trip for one year from now with your bf playing tennis on clay courts in Cali or join a local tennis group for weekly challenges.
If you love cupcakes, make a dream come true by planning a trip to visit the on-set Cupcake Wars show or to make a new recipe every week ( I just got to see the first Sprinkles cupcake ATM with my little cupcake entourage).
If your budget is tiny, considered free but awesome body workouts. Sign up for a triathlon, a Couch to 5K program, or get physical therapy for that hip that’s been stopping you.
The person who lives in a confined, completely limited world has never felt the thrill of making the perfect cappuccino, reading an epic book, creating a sweet graphic, writing the most beautiful poem that just perfectly described everything you were feeling in that ache, (yes, even aching poetry can be self-care), or making money doing something you absolutely love doing!
Don’t let ANYTHING or ANYONE stop you from experiencing the vibrancy of adventure and rest that is yours for the taking.
I bet you groaned when you saw this drab title follow the last but before you get too upset, remember this:
You can get into deep trouble if your adventures take you much much farther than you really wanted to go. Once my friend invited me to her wedding. It was on the top of a mountain along the beautiful Pacific coast.
Funny thing, I was driving my rental car over literally the most gorgeous and picturesque setting I have ever seen (huge, huge ocean and Cali buff here). Problem was, I couldn’t enjoy it, because there were no guard rails and I literally got dizzy LOOKING DOWN THE CLIFF. I never expected this.
I have driven the Golden Gate Bridge, Atlanta, Chicago, and all over so I never thought that would stop me. But it did. And ya know what, I had to accept limitations. I am ultimately glad I turned around that day.
Because since then I have had another child, have written three more books, have poured into people, have had countless joys and laughs and made amazing memories with my family, friends and clients.
Be you, be tough, but don’t put yourself or others at risk even if it means turning around and changing your plans. And learn from these trials.
I love walking, driving, taking a train or jogging through trails by myself but it’s important to take precautions. As many of my clients know, I had to shut down one of my offices because there was a drugged up person trying to get to me after hours downtown and I realized what people had told me: Don’t be in the office downtown at night on your own.
My office is in a different Pleasantville-like town now (Lakewood Ranch) and I love it. Love it! (There is a cute little downtown nearby and that helps!)
And I still go to downtowns obviously but I don’t go along at night typically unless I have some form of protection on me.
Speaking of which, self defense classes are also an awesome idea and I have done those as well! If you can, take a tough pet, a tough human, or be a tough human so you can be safe as you adventure in strange or unsafe places.
Don’t let the routine become too commonplace. Sprinkle something new and fun into your mini-adventures at least once a week.
It can be small things like trying a new type of flavored bottled water to doing big things like vacation-planning for a trip of a lifetime.
It could be planning to go for a walk around sunset, taking a photo shoot in a new place, or to restaurant hop to a new place on your date night!
Download fun photo apps and take some selfies doing the things you love!
Invite a Fellow Adventurer.
Who would be a fun and willing partner in your adventures?
Be thoughtful, don’t just invite anyone along. If you want someone who is hyper, adventurous and fun to go along with you on your self-care adventures, go for it.
I love my extroverted friends don’t get me wrong. But sometimes I need someone quieter, such as when I want serenity and peace or I’m drained or sometimes I prefer to go alone.
Find people like this who won’t be drama when you need some peace and quiet.
Listen to Your Body.
When your body tells you you need rest, take it. I have gone past my body oh so many times and I regret it but God has been so faithful in helping me to stay clear of that in the recent years.
Writing my devotional for busy mothers Messy Buns and Cartwheels helped tremendously in that season.
So if you too need a lesson in learning to respect your body, take my advice. Slow down.
Your job, spouse, kids, and health are enough for you to worry about so anything besides what can and should wait sometimes so you can get replenished.
In fact, the job, kids, and spouse should wait sometimes too! God loves you so much and desires you to get rest, sweet child. Make sure you take Him up on it. I can’t wait to hear all about it!
To work with my staff or I, visit us at www.ReflectionsCC.com. Don’t forget to take advantage our our current freebie, The Overflowing Life: A Life Hack for the Overwhelmed & Overloaded, while you’re at it!