self-care-guide

A Simple Guide to Self-Care (Bonus: Easy Chocolate Brittle Recipe!)

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Simple Ways To Remember to Love Yourself

I woke up this morning feeling exhausted. Tomorrow, I move for the fifth time in two months. I knew relocating continents would take its toll, but hadn’t expected just how tiring it would be. I thought that once I landed here, in Portland, I would feel settled. Sometimes things just don’t work out how you see them, and the right thing to do is move, as much as I don’t want to. My point is that sometimes; we don’t feel like doing the things that help us the most — like self-care.

This morning, I reached out to a close friend, telling them how tired I am, that I feel wiped out. They suggested to me that I take my own advice and implement a little self-care. How ironic, given I had scheduled to write this post today. Yet, I don’t feel like it. I feel meh. I want to wrap myself up in my comforter and stay there for a couple of days. I don’t much have the energy for taking care of myself.

Now, I am a big fan of self-care being a part of any recovery strategy, but it needs to be realistic, and it needs to be easy. It needs to lend itself to times like this. I cannot profess to be a perfect spiritual-warrior-type, who meditates for several hours a day and practices endless yoga on a beach. That just isn’t me, and it just isn’t my life. My life is about doing the best that I can, with what I have. It is about finding ways to be kind to myself and living well.

“My life is about doing the best that I can, with what I have. It is about finding ways to be kind to myself and living well.”

Today, that looks like basic self-care. I’m going to share with you the self-care that I implement when I really want to roll over in bed and wake up tomorrow:

  1. Reach out and speak to someone. Call a sponsor, a close friend, a family member; tell them how you feel. You don’t have to seek advice, just the act of reaching out is enough.

  2. Get some air. Take a five-minute walk around the block and breathe in the fresh air. If you can get to a park, even better, the green space will lighten your mood. Take a flask of coffee, or tea, wrap up warm and sit down for five minutes. People watch.

  3. Do something to stimulate your senses. Get a massage, have an Epsom salt bath, have a pedicure, or a haircut. These simple acts re-enforce that you care for yourself.

  4. Reset. Change into comfortable clothes/PJs, grab blankets, cushions and props and make a den. Whether it is on the sofa, or on the floor. Rest.

  5. Try some gentle stretching or foam rolling. I particularly like restorative yoga, by candlelight—although, I won’t lie, it takes a big push to get me there; but when I do, I feel like I am floating on air.

It seems only apt that I approach this subject on Valentine’s Day. A time when we think of spending quality time with a loved one. Yet, if we don’t care about ourselves, how can we have anything to offer? We must first love ourselves before we can effectively and meaningfully love another.

“We must first love ourselves before we can effectively and meaningfully love another.”

That said, here is a sweet recipe for the special day, for you to enjoy together:

 Workit Health Olivia Pennelle Chocolate Brittle Recipe Image

Workit Health Olivia Pennelle Chocolate Brittle Recipe Image

Olivia Pennelle is a writer, journalist, and recovery activist. Her work has appeared in STAT News, Insider, Filter Magazine, Ravishly, The Temper, and Shondaland. She is the founder of popular site Liv’s Recovery Kitchen. She lives near Portland, Oregon. Follow her on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter

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