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Self-Care on the Fly

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Woman relaxing

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These ideas are corrective and sustainable, mainly because they don’t take so much time.

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When experts talk about the importance of self-care, my inner brat is rolling her eyes and thinking of sarcastic rejoinders… not that I have anything against self-care.

It’s because I’m thinking And when, exactly, am I supposed to be doing all this TLC on my busy, harried self?  And I’m no different than most.

But I do deploy a few quick but effective little self-care rituals in the brief moments of an overfull day. They’re corrective and sustainable, mainly because they don’t take so much time that they create more stress.

Here are a few of them. They work for me when I remember to do them.  Maybe some will work for you too.  If you only pick three, it can make a difference.

  • Check in with your body regularly. Breathe deeply into any tight or tense places, and then, breathe out slowly.
  • Notice when you're breathing shallowly and shift that by taking a deep breath, in and out.
  • When your eyes land on something beautiful or if anything wonderful is happening,  take it in even more fully and deliberately with a deep, full breath.
  • Break the habit of running late. Get to appointments & meetings 5 minutes early. Arriving late just feeds an adrenaline habit and keeps it cycling.
  • At times you can, shut off your phone and leave it off for a couple hours, a whole afternoon, or maybe all day on a Saturday.
  • Create a brief ritual to let go of what you just did, before you move on to the next thing, even if that’s just opening the window and breathing fresh air, or saying a little prayer, or rubbing a good luck object on your desk.
  • Really look at someone and smile with your eyes.
  • Take a moment to remember people who have helped you along the way…. especially when you’re feeling like it’s all on you.
  • Do a sneaky act of anonymous kindness and enjoy the imagined impact when the recipient is surprised by it. Feeding someone else’s parking meter can be a kick.
  • Imagine assistance. When feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders, conjure the image of being surrounded by other, broader, stronger shoulders, carrying the load with you.
  • Listen to 5 minutes of heart opening guided imagery. Go crazy and take 10. It’s astonishing how quickly that will take you to a peaceful version of yourself. Relaxation & Wellness (sample here: https://www.healthjourneys.com...) is a popular Health Journeys audio program that will do it every time, and the more you listen, the faster and deeper it will take you.

For more information on how guided imagery can help you improve your mood, heal your body, and reach your goals, visit www.healthjourneys.com.


Belleruth Naparstek is a clinical social worker, author and guided imagery innovator who founded Health Journeys, a leading manufacturer and distributor of guided imagery and meditation resources.


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