The Greenery’s Guide to Mindfulness & Self-Care

By: McKenzie

Being a plant-parent can teach you a lot, but it’s not always easy caring for a plant indoors. Whether you were an expert grower back home or beginning as a motivated novice, having plants indoors can be a challenge. It is, however, a challenge you should accept. Plants are great teachers, and they show us how to care for ourselves and the world. If you pay close attention you’ll see them guiding you in your practice of mindfulness and self-care.

Why Be Mindful & Self-Care?
To start off, you might be wondering: “Why should I practice being mindful and care for myself?” As humans, we put a lot on our plate. To flourish in our personal and professional lives it is important to be considerate of our time and our energy. Our work should be mindful. There should be care and consideration put into our projects so we obtain the best result. One way we can ensure we are being mindful, and not simply clocking-in at the bare minimum, is by taking time to care for ourselves. Allowing our mind and body rest gives us the opportunity to perform better and achieve more when we need to apply ourselves. If we never take time to replenish ourselves we’ll get stuck on empty and have to push. Learning to care for plants can help us develop the needed skills to avoid burning out.

Monstera Plant on black background; A plant's lessons on mindfulness and self-care.

A Plant’s Lessons on Mindfulness & Self-care

Make time
Set time aside to care for your plants. Life can be busy, but like any other living organism, they need attention. Indoor plants, in particular, require your assistance to fulfill their needs so they can live in your home. Now think of yourself. Are you scheduling time for you? Make sure you are in a space to thrive and grow just like your plants.

Stay patient
Take your time when caring for your plant. No need to rush. Prune their leaves slowly. Help your plant grow with time. Make sure you don’t over/under water. Now think: Have you been patient with yourself lately?

Be kind
Use good soils, re-pot if necessary, watch for invaders, and be gentle. Check sunlight. Water slowly and gently. Every organism deserves kindness. Treat the world with the same care as your plants.

Bring the attention and care you would give to a plant into your everyday life. Often times we neglect ourselves and that can impact how our life plays out before us. Practicing mindfulness and self-care can help you both personally and professionally–ensuring you are always ready to perform at your best.

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Sylvie Tittel

Self-Care Follow-up

By: Alissa (Disability Specialist & Guest Blogger)

Editor’s Note: Today’s post continues the collaboration we are doing with the Disability Resources office on the UMD Campus.

Adding on to our last post on self-care, I would like to share this list (source) I stumbled upon called 10 self-care ideas to inspire your process:

Pause and listen. Set a timer if you need to, but pause every hour or so and listen to your mental body, physical body, and emotional body. At a minimum, pause and listen once a day. I consider the 3 level check in step number one in our self-care practice.

How can we know what we need if we aren’t cultivating a relationship with our mental, emotional, and physical bodies? They each have different needs and it’s vital that we know what they each need for daily nourishment. Listen up! Need a reminder about the 3 level check-in?

Self-Care Journal. Keep a “self-care journal” and record the steps you are taking each day to care for yourself. Record your 3 level check-ins in your journal and any steps you’ve taken each day to care for yourself. This can include movement, creativity, food choices, rest and meditation, using healthy boundaries, breath awareness, and your 3 level check-ins, plus anything else that you are using to intentionally and radically care for yourself. This journal can be that thread throughout your self-care practice of what’s working and not working for you.

What do you do a lot of? What are you neglecting? Here are some questions to consider:

How have I supported and cared for myself today? What actions expressed my commitment to self-care today? What steps am I committed to for my own well being this week? What boundaries are nourishing me or where might I need to re-commit to them? Where might I need to make some adjustments in my self-care practices? What am I learning?

Ten self-care ideas for your mental, physical, and emotional health

Nourish From the Inside Out. Eat simply, eat at regular mealtimes, and eat slowly in a quiet setting if possible. Nourish yourself from the inside out with delicious and wholesome meals.

Get Embodied. Move your body and get embodied. Whether it’s walking, running, a ride on your bike, or a stroll through the woods. Move your body. Dance, stretch and do yoga. Move around and stay energized

Beyond the Body. Caring for your physical body in terms of self-care is essential. Just remember that self-care goes beyond the physical body and also must include the emotional body and mental body as well. Are you tending to your emotional body needs and your mental body needs in your self-care regimen? Are you addressing healthy boundaries in your self-care practices? Have you been re-evaluating your mental body messages? Are you working directly with the emotional body and the felt senses? Make sure your approach to self-care is well rounded.

You may need help with these pieces so check in with a coach, therapist or counselor if you need extra support.

Healthy Boundaries. Pay close attention to your boundaries. Listen to how you feel when you are with others. What sensations arrive physically, mentally, and emotionally? What feelings and thoughts arrive? Be aware of how your relationships affect you. Do they nourish? Overstimulate? Exhaust or support you? What relationships are worthy of your time and energy- which ones should be restructured or let go?

Healthy boundaries are a basic step in getting your needs met and getting the nourishment you need in your life. Use them as a vital self-care tool.

Ask for Support and Express Your Needs. Are you piling your plate too high? Are you feeling burdened and heavy with responsibilities and general overwhelm? Remember to seek support, guidance, and ask for assistance.

Don’t self-isolate and don’t keep your needs to yourself. Who and what are the trustworthy support systems in your life? Call upon them, invite them in, anchor with them. Seek the abundance of support available to you and your life, but don’t go at things alone and martyr yourself. If you don’t feel like you have the support that you need, it may be time to call in a new team of resources. Find a trustworthy therapist, coach, counselor or mentor to get the process started. Seek answers and solutions.

Get Inspired and Go for the Joy! Do something new that inspires you. Try a new class, try a new cafe or recipe, or simply take a different hiking trail today. Be curious and explore while getting out of old ruts and patterns that might be less than fulfilling.

Remember that this can be simple and doesn’t have to be a move to a new state or an exotic vacation in paradise! Do activities that bring you joy, recharge your batteries and inspire you – but do it daily if possible. Walk in the woods, write poetry, dance, draw, journal, play with your animal companions, cook nourishing foods, do yoga.

Reflect and give gratitude. Openly express your gratitude to yourself and others. This can be an essential ritual for experiencing more nourishment in your life. What are you grateful for about yourself? What qualities are you proud of in yourself and in your life? What can you applaud yourself for accomplishing each day that serves your well being?

Celebrate yourself! And celebrate others! Expressing truthful gratitude to others can be a balm for their hearts as well as your own. Speak honestly and kindly to others and remind them why they are so special. I consider this an essential ingredient for life and love.

Work it like a job! Consider self-care to be your part-time job—or full-time job! Nourish yourself daily and always be moving towards greater nourishment for yourself and your life. Take baby steps or leaps, but remember that what you do today will provide sustainable nourishment and well being for your future days. Your steps really add up!

Above all, do what you love, and love what you do, your life depends on it!

As you continue your self-care journey, remember to pause periodically and ask yourself how your self-care practices are working for you and if there are any holes in how you are caring for yourself. Make the necessary adjustments along the way and remember this is a process. Enjoy!

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Photo Source: Unsplash | Billy Williams

Self-Care 101

By: Alissa (Disability Specialist & Guest Blogger)

Editor’s Note: Today’s post continues the collaboration we are doing with the Disability Resources office on the UMD Campus.

Hi there everyone, Alissa here from UMD Disability Resources returning to post some helpful tips on one of my favorite topics ever, SELF-CARE. You might be thinking, oh but I am so busy and I don’t really have time for self-care? Then chances are, you could probably really use some 😉 Ask yourself: “What have I done today that feels nourishing, supportive and inspiring for my well being, my joy?”

In this post, I am going to focus on some helpful self-care tips I like to practice along with other helpful tips that may be useful for yourself. Beginning to practice self-care, you need to remind yourself that you truly deserve it and you are WORTH it.

Self-care simply speaking is basically any set of practices that make you feel rejuvenated, relaxed, or nourished in either a physical, emotional, spiritual, or all of the above state of mind! Self-care is simply putting time aside to recharge in a way that is really meaningful and helpful to you and there are ton of different ways to do so.

For me personally, some of my favorite self-care activities are practicing mindfulness meditation, yoga, exercise, walking and playing with my dogs, taking a bubble bath, and simply curling up on the couch to watch some of my favorite tv shows.

One of the biggest hurdles to practicing self-care is basically figuring out what works for you as it is something we naturally don’t think about as much as other life duties and responsibilities. We need to make self-care a priority just as we do brushing our teeth or making our beds in the morning. Self-care should be a part of your daily routine. One way to think through a self-care plan is to ask yourself who, what, and where make you feel safe and supported.

Some other important questions to think about are: Who are the people that you can surround yourself with who will make you feel supported? What are some activities that you can do that bring you a sense of calm, and where are the places that you can go to feel safe and comfortable?

Here’s how to start your self-care practice:

  • Start Small. If you don’t already have a self-care regimen in place for yourself, remember to start small. Savor a cup of tea quietly, listen to your breath for 5 minutes each day, walk out in nature, take a bubble bath, or play with a pet. These can all be small, yet meaningful ways to take care of yourself.
  • Put Yourself First. You can’t give to others if you don’t first give to yourself. If you are wearing yourself ragged, you will be giving to others from a very fragile and sensitive place. It will likely be with agitation, frustration, fatigue, and even stress.
  • Adjust accordingly. Because self-care is not a one-size-fits-all reality, and individual needs vary, we have to be willing to adjust and readjust our needs and priorities along the way. Remember self-care is a practice that is ongoing, lifelong, and requires constant attention and intention. Some days will be easy, other days will feel impossible.

If you can do one thing (at minimum) every day that rejuvenates you, then these baby steps can really add up! I know you can do it! Always put yourself first and prioritize YOU. Self love is very important, you got this!

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Taking Care of Yourself

By: Megan

It’s finals week! Whether you’re a freshman or graduating, it can be super stressful. So I thought I’d do a post on how to relieve stress. But it doesn’t have to just apply to finals week. Looking for a job, starting a new job, moving, applying for grad school, and a bunch of other milestones can all be stressful, and learning how to deal with that will help you be more successful and happier in the long run.

self care

Here are some tips and tricks on how to relieve stress during high-pressure times.

Don’t make it all work

Yes, you need to get that 15 page paper done AND study for a final in your hardest class. But you also need a break. Last month, Ashlee wrote a post about “playing” in the office. Some of these would be really great study breaks. Make sure to take a break (ideally 10 minutes every hour), and schedule some time to just sit down and unwind, hang out with your friends, or go to the gym. Whatever makes you feel energized and rejuvenated, just take some time and go do it.

Eat Healthy

Comfort foods are awesome and necessary, but too many for too long will make you feel bloated, tired, and cranky. Not the ideal way to study. So indulge in your ice cream, potato chips, pizza, or whatever. But don’t forget to eat healthy too. Make a quick salad for lunch, have some yogurt for breakfast (Greek yogurt has extra protein, so it keeps you full longer), maybe make some fish for dinner. You want your brain at full power, so make sure to eat lots of food with healthy fats which include nuts, beans, eggs, fish, and avocado.

Get some sleep

Sleeping regularly is especially important during finals week (and whenever else you’re stressed).  It also gets more difficult. Stressing makes sleeping harder, which in turn makes you stress more. That is quite the loop. Relax and take a break from studying about an hour before you head to bed for your best bet in sleeping well. Cramming may seem like the best way to get all the information back into your brain, but staying up super late is just going to make you less able to concentrate. Not to mention, your brain processes memories while you’re asleep. You want to be able to remember all that information you just crammed during your test, don’t you? Get your full 8 hours, de-stress before bed, and try to keep a regular schedule.

Don’t procrastinate

Back in February, I wrote a post about procrastinating. We all know a large part of studying for finals is procrastinating. Your best way to not stress is to start early, keep yourself on task, and focus. That doesn’t always happen, however. So when you do get around to studying, don’t panic. I’ve done it: when I’ve procrastinated on something much too long, I often shut down and spend hours surfing the internet instead of actually doing my work. That only leads to more stress.

Reward yourself

Here it is: the best part. When you get to a point where you’ve accomplished something and you actually know what you’re supposed to know, give yourself a treat. When you walk out of a final, whether you feel on top of the world or drained, treat yourself. Take a bath, get some ice cream, get dressed up and go out to dinner. Celebrate. You’ve accomplished something, and you should feel good about it.

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Photo By: lululemon athletica