Back to School

September is here and with it come many transitions.  The shift from long, lazy days with no pressure to setting early alarms and racing to sports and clubs is upon us.  The change of seasons from the humid, oppressive days of summer to the crisp, cool winds of autumn will soon be here.  The sun has begun to set earlier, reminding us that the days are getting shorter and the nights, longer.

These shifts offer us the perfect opportunity to reflect on our emotional, physical and spiritual health. Use this time to take a positive step in the way you treat yourself.  Self-care is a vital part of living a healthy and productive life. We are often so busy meeting deadlines and caring for our families and friends that we push our needs to the side. Make a commitment to nurture your body, mind and spirit in the days and weeks ahead.

Unplug. Choose 15 minutes each day to step away from all computers, mobile phones and tablets. Take a walk with a coworker or friend and leave your phone at home. Sit in your backyard and listen to the birds chirp and the sweet sounds of nature. Bring your book to a local park and spread a blanket beneath a tree. Play a game of charades or hide-and-seek with your kids. Reconnecting with our surroundings in an organic way is a fantastic way to nurture our bodies and minds.

Accept a compliment. Open yourself up to hearing good things about yourself. When a colleague makes an admiring comment about your outfit, accept it graciously, without hesitation or embarrassment. If a friend tells you that your hair looks fabulous, take in the flattering remark and allow yourself to actually feel it. Resist the urge to belittle or negate any positivity that comes to you.

Do something unexpected.  Take a bubble bath on a Tuesday night, ‘just because’. Drive down to the ocean on your lunch hour and stick your toes in the sand for ten minutes. Put on your favorite music, turn the volume up and have a private dance party in your kitchen. Stepping out of your comfort zone and letting loose is invigorating and good for the soul.

Make a small change to your diet. Try a new vegetable at dinner. Drink an extra glass or two of water each day. Cut out your nightly glass of red wine. Swap your whole milk for 1%. Pay attention to your body and see if you notice any changes to your digestion and energy levels.

Set a goal. And meet it. Has the color of your dining room been bothering you for a year? Pick a new paint and mark a date on your calendar to repaint. Have you been trying to perfect the form of a specific yoga pose but just can’t do it? Stay after class and get some pointers from the instructor. Is there an outfit that has been calling your name every time you walk by your favorite boutique? Put aside a few dollars each week and buy it when you can. The pride you feel when you turn your desires into realities is a powerful motivator to continue on your path to a healthier you.

These small steps to self-care can have a big impact on your quality of life. The way you treat yourself is the foundation of all that you will allow to happen to you and for you.  Making the realization that you are worthy of praise, pampering and pleasure will connect you to yourself and those around you in a healthy and constructive way.