Welcome to Day 4 of the Inspired Joy Challenge!

If you missed any of the previous days, CLICK HERE to access them.

4. Make Relaxation & Self-Care a Priority

We all share the same 24 hours and move from one thing to the next, crossing off everything our To Do lists. In a typical day you may have worked, cared for kids, cleaned, work more, TV, whatever a typical day looks like for you.  

It’s easy to get caught in pushing to make things happen and making sure the ball doesn’t drop on your daily commitments. Often the last thing you are thinking about is yourself and the importance of self-care and loving yourself through the process.

The irony is that taking care of your body emotionally, physically and mentally is what helps you FEEL BETTER and create consistent JOY! And experts have found, good feelings can boost your ability to deal with stress, solve problems, think flexibly and even fight disease.

Other Studies show that:

-Laughing decreases pain, may help your heart and lungs, promotes muscle relaxation, and can reduce anxiety.

-Positive emotions can decrease stress hormones and build emotional strength.

-Leisure activities offer a distraction from problems, a sense of competence and many other benefits. For example, in one study-observing twins, the one who participated in leisure activities was less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia than their fellow twin.

The key is to listen and become aware of your body and emotions. Then choose to make the time to step out from your normal routine to take care of YOU!  

If you don’t make you a priority, you won’t have the energy and strength to keep going. Often times if we don’t listen or practice self-care, something will be brought to you to get to you to Wake Up and make the time. For me, that can look in various ways… a sickness, broken bone, car accident, or some other unfortunate circumstance will show up to make me slow down and care for myself.  

Personally, this has been a consistent lesson for me. And I know none of you are drivers that go non-stop like that, right? 😉 

So what can you do?

1.     Find ways to relax. 
     A.  Yoga, Tai chi or Qi Gong, (which consists of smooth, flowing motions).

B.  Meditation Techniques:

I know we talked about breathing in Day 2, but it’s so good that a refresher is always positive. Sit or lie down comfortably. Rest your hands on your stomach. Slowly count to four while inhaling through your nose. Feel your stomach rise. Hold your breath for a second. Slowly count to four while you exhale, preferably through pursed lips to control the breath. Your stomach will fall slowly. Repeat a few times.
Mindfulness Meditation. Focus on your breath. Notice anything that passes through your awareness without judgment. If your mind starts to tackle your to-do list, just return to focusing on your breath. Take a breath in through the stomach and out through the nose, slowly. 4-5 counts in and out.

2.  Take a long bath (maybe even with some nice Epsom Salts mmmm…..)

3. Soak in a Jacuzzi.

4. Schedule a therapeutic massage.
 A massage can relieve muscle tension, stimulate the body’s natural painkillers and boost your immune system. It can also help you feel less anxious and more relaxed.

5. Get in Nature. A blue sky, lush bushes, a scenic lake. Walking in – or even just looking at nature calms our nerves and relieves mental fatigue.

6. Work out to increase your feel good endorphins. 

7. Play with some Dogs or cats at a shelter or the pet store. It’s now proven that animals reduce stress and have a calming effect on our systems.

8. Take a mental vacation through visualization: If you can’t hop on a plane to someplace soothing, just close your eyes, take some deep breaths and envision a scene you love. Visualization is a powerful way to relax your body, mind and spirit so you can reduce anxiety and create peace. Engage all your senses: Hear the crunching leaves, smell the damp soil, feel the breeze. Relax into your favorite moment.

9. Enforce Healthy Boundaries – boundaries are setting limits on when you will and won’t do or allow.  Honoring your own boundaries in any situation allows you to stand in your power and feel more energized because you aren’t allowing other people, places, or things to drain your energy.

Please join the rest of the challengers in the Facebook Group and share the following:

1.  Write in the group what day or days you practiced self-care and what practices did you take on?
2.  Post how you felt after you took some time for you?
3.  Did you find it difficult to create the time for yourself? If so, what went through your mind during that time?                     

At this point you may also be thinking, there’s a great deal to practice in this challenge, Stacey. How do I continue to practice these things as my life gets busy an my time is more limited? This is a great question AND a common concern I get asked when people begin to engage with this type of work.

No worries my friend, I will explain how this all comes together as we progress through the challenge and how you can continue to get support as you move forward on your own in the BFree community. 

To your success,