A couple weeks ago, bright and early at our monthly meeting, a few other nurse Wellness Champions and I sat in a room, brain storming together. Our goal was to discuss and plan wellness activities and self care and how to incorporate them into the upcoming employee care events. It was easy to come up with ideas like, “Massages for everyone!” and “Restorative Yoga around the clock!” The more ideas we came up with, the bigger the event seem to grow. It was then that I noticed behind the excitement of creative thinking, my thoughts were more like, “Will they approve the budget for this?” or “How will the night shift get massages?” and “Not everyone likes yoga.”
I wasn’t trying to be a Debbie Downer but I was frustrated.
I want to make this event special and have something for everyone. However, like most grass roots projects, we are starting off small, with just very little we actually have to offer. Realistically, the event would need to be smaller, without all the bells and whistles at first.
Just as I was thinking this, one of my mentors must have been having the same inner struggle, because she blurted out, “Simple is sustainable.”
Wow. Those words lit up that idea bulb in my head. How had I never thought of that before? I’m sure it’s been said a million times, but in that moment it was a brand new idea to me and I liked it! Fortunately, so did the rest of the team and we were able to continue our brainstorming session in a more productive way.
Simple is sustainable.
It means so many things at once and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about what it means to me. You can apply this theme to almost every aspect of life. I especially like this theme when it comes to maintaining health and wellness, in real life.
Let’s be honest, we are all super busy these days.
We are more distracted and over stimulated than ever before. We’re feeling bad for not maintaining our new year’s resolutions to be “healthier” in some way. We are struggling to practice self care on top of our endless to do lists. And let me tell you, I am there with you. It’s hard to start and/or maintain a new (or any) wellness routine if it’s too complicated or time consuming. We need sustainable wellness routines and simple self care in our lives now more than ever before.
I decided to get back to the basics and share my ideas for incorporating simple, sustainable wellness routines into your life.
Simple Self Care. Self Care is participating in any activity that promotes happiness, feelings of peace, relaxation and healing within yourself. Self Care is deliberate and self initiated and isn’t the same for everyone. You don’t have to make Self Care complicated. Simple acts of Self Care may include sleeping in an extra 30 minutes or saying no to a party you don’t really want to go to and instead vegging on the couch with your favorite Netflix movie. By keeping Self Care simple, you create room to make it a habit. Try a few different Self Care activities over the next few days and pick one that’s simple and sustainable for you. Some of my favorite simple Self Care acts include, getting fresh air and sunlight on my lunch break, sleeping in on my days off, getting a monthly massage or energy work on a routine basis.
Simply Grateful. Practicing Gratitude is a simple way to experience feelings of well-being or happiness. By spending even 5 minutes a day, thinking about or writing down what you are grateful for, you will help to increase positive feelings of optimism and happiness within your mind. When you feel optimistic and grateful, you are more relaxed which leads to the release of feel good hormones thus promoting balance and healing for your whole being. Start off simple, write down 1 thing you are grateful for in the sticky notes app on your phone or write on paper sticky notes and stick them to the inside of your bathroom medicine cabinet. Add to your sticky notes on a schedule that works for you. By repeatedly seeing and reading these notes to yourself, you will begin to create a simple and sustainable gratitude practice.
Basic Health Care. Let’s face it, being totally healthy all the time is hard work in our busy, modern world. Don’t be hard on yourself if you aren’t meeting your health goals everyday, life is too short to worry about that. It’s all about finding balance, so go ahead and eat the cookie – but take the stairs this afternoon. Eat your veggies and then have that glass of wine. Lay in the sun but apply sunscreen first. You are in charge of your own health care! Make simple, small changes one at a time until you reach your sustainable health care goals.
What simple and sustainable wellness routines do you practice? What would you add to the list? Write them in the comments below.