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For many of us, the weekend provides an opportunity to relax with family and friends and finally step away from work. Two days away from the grind and your to-do list opens the door to also practicing some self-care. For individuals struggling with chronic illness, this becomes even more important. The good news? This can be anything from hitting up your local farmer’s market and taking a long bubble bath to cooking a healthy breakfast and snuggling up with a good book.
So often I think we overcomplicate it (or feel too guilty to take a timeout!) Self-care is easier to fit in than you think!
Why is self-care important?
Let’s be for real – It doesn’t matter if you’re managing a chronic disease or not – we all need to up our self-care game for healthy minds and bodies. And it doesn’t mean signing up for that month-long yoga retreat. (Although, doesn’t that sound Ahh-mazing?!) Like anything else, it’s the small steps that actually lead to significant results over time. So adding a little lovin to our self-care Saturday routine after a long week can give us the best benefits over time.
Still not sure where to start? Here are a few of my favorite self-care Saturday Ideas for healthy minds and bodies plus some motivation to get started right now!
7 Ideas for Your Self-Care Saturday
1. Sleep like a Pro
I shouldn’t have to tell you that sleep is uber-important! So turn off Netflix already and get to bed earlier my friend! A good night’s sleep on Friday (And throughout the week) can make our Self-Care Saturday start off right! An increase in sleep helps our body’s immune system, controls appetite, and regulates mood (among other things). When our sleep is in the tank, so is our mood. Who doesn’t want to feel happier and have less stress?
According to WebMD we’ll likely have more negative emotional reactions and fewer positive ones during the day if we don’t catch enough ZZZzzs. Who wants that? Just one of the many reasons to listen to your body and treat sleep as a priority
On Self Care Saturdays try a luxurious nap! Even the simple act of lying down for 30 mins is enough time to rest the mind and body to recharge senses and reduce stress. Go ahead, indulge in some shut-eye this weekend!
And I need to say it, even if you’ve heard it before– set up a cool bedroom, use your bed for sleep or sex only and avoid blue-light electronics for goodness’ sakes!
Pro Tip – Try sleeping under a weighted blanket. (My fav weighted blanket is this one!) Research shows it helps calm nerves and decreases anxiety. Plus it helps us to fall asleep and stay asleep during the night. Right on!
2. Journal Down Your Thoughts
Ok before you close out this blog post, let me say that there aren’t any hard and fast rules for starting a journal practice!! It can be one line a day, prompts each morning, or bullet journaling at night – pretty much, anything goes! I promise. Especially for someone battling chronic pain, this can be extremely therapeutic.
Any way you choose to journal, the benefits are the same – basically, it’s the process of getting our emotions out on paper and out of our heads that allows us to remove the heaviness and burden we’re carrying. (Even those feelings that we don’t think we’re holding onto.)
Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, it’s the practice itself that allows us to release the feelings gripping our hearts and mind in the present moment. Journaling is amazing for mental health and overall well-being!
There’s a sense of calm after we’re able to put those thoughts in a safe place – even if that safe place is throwing that page away! The magic is in the writing itself.
I’ve been journaling on and off for a while – but I got very consistent in 2022 doing it every day alongside my devotional, Jesus Listens. I use an app called Notion on my iPad where I can write by personalizing the prompts, keep track of my prayer list and manage my daily tasks. It helps me relax and feel a sense of calm to start each day.
Pro Tip: I’m a digital gal – so I love Notion, but I’ve also used 5 min journals and just blank notebooks too. The truth is to do what works for YOU! And just start!
3. Try Being a Yogi
Ok, before you say, ‘I’m not that person!’ hear me out! I was the same way after being a runner and active triathlete for years. I couldn’t comprehend going to a class to slow down, stretch, and just breathe? No thanks! (Plus I have ZERO flexibility and didn’t think I would fit it)
But turns out, I fell in love and feel good after!! Yoga class reminds me to add peace and stillness to my day – something that was lacking for so long. (And turns out I’ve even become a bit more flexible too…).
The yoga class benefits are endless – so it’s no wonder it’s trending as a top health and wellness activity this year. Also, it’s a wonderful way to practice self-care in a world of noise and chaos. In an article from Johns Hopkins, according to the National Institutes of Health, scientific evidence shows that:
- Stress management
- Mental health
- Healthy eating & weight loss
- Sleep Quality
- And more!
Pro Tip: Start with your local Yin Class (Frisco Locals, I love Yin at Horizon and Soul Care Yoga at Dwell!) or check out YouTube for classes to try at home. Yoga with Adrienne is a great place to start online. Ready to sign up?
4. Give Meditation a Try for Healthy Minds
I think a lot of people are intimidated by meditation and oftentimes overthink it. If you’re struggling with a chronic illness, you’ve probably your care team mentioned meditation several times before. It’s gaining a lot of traction in the world of healing. And those who practice self-care regularly are very familiar with meditation and all its goodness! Similar to journaling, there are no specific rules and it is very individualized.
Some people prefer silence, others want music or guided meditations – really anything goes! Many people can meditate for hours while others (like me) can only tackle their practice for a few minutes. But spending time each week will get easier and easier to stay in the present moment and reap all that meditation has to offer.
Regardless, the research demonstrates benefits for all types
Benefits of meditations:
- Reduces stress
- Lessens anxiety and depression
- Regulates negative thinking
Pro Tip: If you’re just getting started and looking for more ideas, try a short guided meditation from the Calm app or HeadSpace. You won’t regret adding it to your self-care Saturday!
5. Get a Massage on the Calendar
Who doesn’t love a massage?! Even if you don’t have the time or finances to get a professional massage or swing full spa days, the benefits of a 10-minute chair massage or quick shoulder rub from a loved one have the same effects and can meet your self-care needs. I’ve been getting massages to help with chronic migraine and overall stress management and it’s been one of the best tools in my self-care toolbox.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the benefits of massage are far-reaching to our mental, physical and emotional wellness.
Benefits of massage can include:
- Reducing stress and increasing relaxation
- Reducing pain, muscle soreness, and tension
- Improving circulation, energy, and alertness
- Lowering heart rate and blood pressure
- Improving immune function
Pro Tip: Check with your insurance carrier to see if you qualify for medical massage benefits! Also, massage schools are another great place to find discounts.
6. Power Down Social Media (A little bit!)
Ok, ok, hear me out!
Y’all, we cannot deny the mounds of research connecting the amount of time spent on social media directly correlating to the increased stress and anxiety in our lives.
So, try starting slow – but try! Maybe cut back the number of hours spent scrolling each day? Then maybe a 24-hour detox on Saturdays? Eventually perhaps a week-long break? (Or am I just talking crazy?)
You can read about my personal three-month social media detox. Yes, three months! Today, I’m still not on social platforms very much – I’ve become protective of my time and energy. I enjoy the extra focus and attention to put towards more fulfilling things in my life… like writing this blog. Do I miss it? Sometimes. But taking care of myself is priority uno!
What would you do with a few extra hours a day?
#Pro Tip – For a healthy mind upgrade, try using the ‘Focus’ app on your iphone to carve our social media free hours each day or check the Self Control app for Mac OS. (It’s hardcore!) 🙂
7. Laugh Your Butt off!
Go ahead and grab those Will Farrel, Bill Murray, or Tina Fey movies … pretty much any comedies that keep us laughing.
Turns out, laughter is one of the ways our body helps regulate cortisol. Some studies show that just the act of laughing—even without having humor in it—can have positive stress-relieving effects. Who knew? So this self-care idea is topping your list, am I right? Create memories with friends, have fun playing games with your kids or treat your spouse to a movie night.
Laughing also helps lighten our moods in general by improving depression and anxiety symptoms making it easier for us to cope with tough situations. So, go grab the popcorn!
Pro Tip: After a hard day, perhaps try switching out episodes of Ozark for The Office, or my favorite, FRIENDS.
Remember Self-Care isn’t Selfish
Practicing good self-care is more important than ever to our well-being, especially for those managing chronic disease. In a post-pandemic world where there’s so much uncertainty and angst, it’s crucial we step back once in a while. Even in the noisy and chaotic place we live in today, we can still block out the outside chatter and focus inward.
Let’s give ourselves space and permission to take care of ourselves.
‘Focusing on what makes us feel nourished and what gives us meaning is part of easing feelings of stress and anxiety and giving us a more solid foundation’, explains Christine Carter, PhD in Everyday Health.
Focusing on what makes us feel nourished and what gives us meaning is part of easing feelings of stress and anxiety and giving us a more solid foundationChristine Carter, PhD in Everyday Health
Before we can take care of others or continue taking on responsibilities in our life we must fill our own cups first. And a little bit each day goes a long way!
What is Self-Care Saturday?
So when did the self-care Saturday day get momentum? You’re probably not surprised to hear this gained traction in the social networking scene during the pandemic. A quick search of ‘Self Care Saturday’ can reveal that hundreds of influential people (and everyday folks like you and me!) have been promoting this hashtag ever since. #SelfCareSaturday
Saturdays are often one of the only days where people prioritize their personal agendas, family and friends, and their mental health.
Self-care can vary for everyone. And depending upon what fills you up or empties you, some different things need a particular priority. But either way, there are Saturdays that provide an ideal time to recharge and rejuvenate ourselves.
Go Ahead, Take care of yourself This Saturday
Now that you have 7 self-care Saturday ideas, it might be worth learning why this self-care Saturday is needed. The weekend is an extremely common and natural time for practice. So often it’s hard to get through the week without having any work done and stressing out.
During those periods, self-care can sometimes feel hard. However, most people spend the weekend catching their breath. Carving out a Self-care Saturday will help you build a habit to simply take care of yourself!
Join the millions who are taking up with the trend, #SelfCareSaturday
Remember, the most important thing is finding what works for you and finding consistency in it. And most of all, the self-care ideas you choose are nourishing to your soul and fill you up!
I would love to hear what’s working for you! Holler at me here!
1 Peter 3:4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.