Everyday, Sustainable Steps to Better Your All-Around Health

Taking steps to improve your overall health can do wonders in boosting your happiness and well-being. Where many people fall short in regard to their health, however, is that they get so busy that they can’t imagine how they could fit anything else on their plate. This often leads to one of two conclusions: taking extreme measures for fast results (only to fizzle out after a short time) or simply not trying anything. But what if there were practical, sustainable steps you could take each day to improve your all-around health for the long-term? Fortunately, there are.

Young man at home writes in a journal.

Looking Into Tech Gadgets

 Practicing self-care is essential to your physical, mental, and emotional health. Nowadays, there’s a lot of technology that can provide self-care, thus benefiting your health in the process. One of the best gadgets out there to help you wind down in the evening is a foot massager. According to the experts at Smart Style Today, if you want to relieve soreness and get id of knots in your muscles, consider investing in a quality foot massager. Not only will it help your muscles feel better, it will help you to de-stress as well.

Start Prepping Your Meals

Another practical way to benefit your health is to meal prep. By spending a couple of hours on the weekend (many people like Sunday), you can prepare your meals for the whole week. This allows you more control of your nutrition and portions. Quick access to your lunches and dinners — whether it’s already cooked or the ingredients are ready to cook — means you will be less likely to eat fast food and other processed foods out of convenience. Also, by making a detailed grocery list, you can save a lot of money when it’s time to go shopping.

Create a Fun Exercise Routine

Exercise is necessary for anyone who wants to achieve peak health, but it’s not reasonable for you to expect yourself to spend hours at the gym every morning doing something you absolutely hate. The key to creating a fitness regimen that lasts is creating a routine you like. There are so many different ways to get in your exercise, and if nothing sounds appealing, consider trying out a few different activities until you find one you like (or at least don’t hate). From weightlifting, running, and yoga to racquetball, swimming, and golf, breaking a sweat for 30 minutes a day can do wonders for your health and well-being.

Take Time to Rest

It’s also essential to make time in your schedule for rest. While it may seem like you’re spending your time wisely by working late and never taking time off, you can be much more productive if you get seven to nine hours of sleep each night and set aside time for vacations. Allowing your body and mind to recover and regenerate will also help prevent you from burning out.

Write Down Your Story

Finally, start keeping a daily or weekly journal where you write about your journey of improvement. Journals provide an opportunity to vent your emotions and thoughts, but they can also be used to keep track of your progress. They can help you set goals and lay out strategies; then, you can routinely review and readjust your strategies if you’re not hitting your goals. Plus, looking back and seeing how far you’ve come over time can give you a boost in self-confidence.

Taking practical, everyday steps toward better health is the best way to maintain it for the long term. Explore all the self-care tech available these days, and try meal prepping once a week. Develop an exercise routine that you enjoy, and make sure rest is a part of your life. Lastly, consider keeping a journal that documents your journey. Making these habits a part of your routine will give you the peace of mind knowing that you are prioritizing your all-around health.

Planning Ahead for Long-Term Care and Costs in Retirement

If you or a loved one are planning ahead for retirement, you may be thinking about potential healthcare costs. You may not, however, be thinking about the potential costs of long-term care. Since most seniors will need long-term care, it’s smart to put together a plan to cover the costs. Here are some ways you can factor long-term care into your financial planning. You might seek some counseling from individuals who specialize in proving long-term care planning.

Retired couple sit by mountain lake enjoying the scenery.

Be Aware of What Medicare Covers

When you depend on Medicare, it can be disappointing to discover that not all healthcare expenses will be covered. Long-term care is very rarely paid for by Medicare benefits since much of the care provided in nursing homes and assisted living care centers is viewed as custodial care. This care, such as bathing, eating, and assistance with other daily tasks, is essential to patients. However, supplemental plans can help seniors offset some of the other costs of their care. Certain Medicare Advantage plans can provide relief in dealing with expenses associated with prescriptions, and dental and vision care. As a result, this could free up more funds to put toward long-term care costs.

Determine the Risk for Long-Term Care

If you can get an idea of what kind of care may be needed, you can better prepare to pay for it. Most older Americans will need long-term care at some point, but certain factors determine for how long and what level of care is needed. Those risk factors of needing long-term care: include age, family history, and your living arrangements. In many cases, you can take steps to decrease the need for care, like exercising more or eating healthier. By assessing the need for long-term care, you can decide how much of your savings you may need to set aside and what plans you need to make.

Get Quality Life Insurance

Life insurance gives you and your loved ones peace of mind and can even provide benefits beyond the intended purposes. Depending on your policy, you may be able to sell your life insurance policy for a cash payout. This can be a viable option for taking care of unexpected expenses, long-term care costs, or to free up more money for retirement. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone needs a life insurance policy. If your children are grown, and your estate is small or liquid enough that you aren’t worried about covering your estate taxes, it’s okay to cash in your policy early. Whether you use it now or your family uses it later, life insurance can provide more financial options for you and your loved ones. When surveying life insurance, it’s also a good idea to consider final expense insurance, which is a type of whole life insurance. Burial insurance can provide funds for your family to pay for funeral costs and any medical bills or debt you leave behind. This can relieve a huge burden for your family as the average cost of a funeral is $9,000.

Know How to Use Your Home

You may also be able to use your home to pay for care. The most obvious solution is to sell your home if you will be living with a loved one or in a care facility. However, sometimes selling your home is not the best option. If you need to live in your home while or after you receive care, there are a couple of different ways to get the cash you need. You can use a reverse mortgage or home equity loan to free up funds, but both options have their pros and cons. Some seniors have found it worthwhile to rent out all or part of their home and use the rent toward healthcare costs. Just be aware of what this may mean for any Medicaid benefits.

Thinking about long-term care may not be pleasant, but planning for costs can prevent a lot of unpleasant stress later. So if you or a loved one is getting ready for retirement, make sure you take some time to factor in the possibility of long-term care expenses.

Fighting Obesity Through Wellness-Focused Action

Obesity is one of the major health concerns in the United States. Currently, the world population is 7.5 billion, and about 10 percent are obese – and about 10 percent of people in that category live in the US. In other words, 73 million Americans are obese, which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. So if you’re one of the 160 million Americans struggling with your weight, here are some tips on fighting obesity through wellness-focused actions.

Bowl of oatmeal and yogurt with fruit, nuts and seeds.

Eating a Balanced Diet

Eating Between 2001-2009, the percentage of Americans who were physically active increased – but so did the percentage of people who were obese. The lesson may be that exercise alone doesn’t stave off weight gain. So if you want to slim down, prioritize eating right. Think of it this way: 30 minutes of intense exercise can torch 350 calories. But simply cutting two 16-ounce sodas out of your diet each day can achieve the same caloric deficit. Now, let’s re-examine the word “diet.” Starving yourself on saltines and soda water will only deplete your energy. Instead, try to avoid sugar and opt for low-carb veggies (kale, spinach, lettuce), lean protein (salmon, chicken, beans) and healthy fats (avocado, olive oil).

Enjoyable Workout Routine

That said, don’t neglect exercise. A regular fitness regimen has been shown to give you energy, boost your mood, sharpen your memory, and strengthen your muscles and bones. The specific exercises that you do don’t matter so much as that you enjoy the exercise; that way, you’ll be excited about doing them again and again. Also, remember to track your progress. Personal trainers often tell clients to keep an eye on the scale but not to worry all that much about it. Scales often measure muscle mass, bone density, or water weight, but we’ve been trained to think of the number that blinks back at us as simply a calibration of our fat tissue.

Instead, consider ditching the scale. Instead of the scale, check how your clothes fit, exercise with a heart rate monitor, or see how easy it is for you to sit up from a cross-legged position. Logging these measurements will help you note whether your strength and endurance are increasing, your mobility is improving, or if your stress is easing away.

Getting Enough Rest

Another technique to monitor your progress without a scale is tracking whether your sleep improves. Regular quality sleep is one of the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle. Clinicians recommend that adults sleep for 7-9 hours per night. Sleep makes your skin glow, sharpens your memory, helps you retain information, and regulates your weight. Getting enough sleep has also been shown to stave off anxiety, depression, and mood disorders that have been linked to obesity.

Addressing Mental Disorders

Researchers have found such strong links between obesity and mental illness that they have termed the two conditions “a double epidemic.” Studies have shown that people with mental illnesses are at a higher risk of becoming obese, and people with obesity are much more likely to develop mental illnesses. Gaining weight often saps your energy and takes a toll on your self-esteem. Conversely, someone who’s anxious may “stress-eat,” and people who suffer from depression can make poor dietary choices because so much else weighs on their minds.

If you have a mental disorder, seek counseling and talk to an expert about developing some of the wellness-focused actions above. You may not see results overnight, but integrating these habits into your routine should help you trim your waistline and improve your outlook.

Looking for a Burbank Therapist or Santa Clarita Therapist - we are here to help

Photo credit: Ana Azevedo

Straightforward Tips for Improving Your Quality of Life as a Senior

Living a healthy lifestyle during your senior years can reward you with better energy, independence, and happiness. In fact, one study revealed that seniors with healthy habits live longer and face fewer years of disability than unhealthy seniors. It’s clear that investing your time into health promotion and disease prevention is extremely valuable.

Your first critical step toward healthy aging is making sure you have the right healthcare coverage for your needs. Although Medicare can be extremely beneficial, it doesn’t provide coverage for many essential services. Medicare Advantage plans cover things like dental and vision so you can stay on top of your health all across the board. Learn about Aetna Medicare Advantage plans and how they may benefit you on your quest for good health.

Senior woman sits on couch staring out window.

Maintain Your Mobility with a Variety of Exercises

Maintaining mobility is one of the most important things when it comes to quality of life. Mobility helps you get around on your own, take care of yourself, and participate in the activities you love. Regular exercise is crucial for supporting lasting mobility. Seniors should try to incorporate aerobic, strength, flexibility, and balance exercises into their routine, and there are even exercises that seniors can do indoors (online videos and Wii games are just a few examples) if they don’t feel comfortable getting outside. According to the Harvard Medical School, each of these three exercise types for seniors provides unique benefits.

 Aerobic exercises are those that speed up your heart rate. Examples include brisk walking, swimming, and cycling. Aerobic exercises are great for your circulatory system and respiratory system. They can also reduce your risk of depression!

 Next is strength training. Only 9 percent of older adults engage in strength training at least twice a week. This is unfortunate because strength training prevents muscle loss and increases bone density as we get older. Since lifting weights can seem intimidating if you’re new to strength training, start with resistance bands and bodyweight exercises.

Finally, flexibility and balance exercises, like yoga and tai chi, can help you stay active and reduce your risk of falls. Regular stretching should also relieve joint pain and muscle stiffness. Start each stretching session with a few dynamic stretches to wake up your muscles so you can get the most out of your routine.

Improve Your Cognitive Skills by Learning New Things

While you’re doing all this exercise to improve your physical health, don’t forget to train your brain. Learning new things appears to be extremely beneficial for preventing age-related cognitive decline. Challenge yourself with a hobby or skill you’d like to pick up. Some great examples include learning another language, playing an instrument (guitars, clarinets, etc.), or improving your chess game. You can even enroll in an interesting university class!

It’s important that whatever you try actually challenges you intellectually. This is the key to stimulating growth in your brain, much like challenging your muscles encourages them to grow. Learning new skills and taking classes is a better way to boost your cognitive abilities than brain-training games. There’s very little evidence behind brain-training apps and software. The highly specific skills practiced in these games rarely translate to any other areas of your life, so they probably won't help you find your keys or remember where you parked the car!

Stay Social to Support Your Mental Health

Seniors can also do a lot to support their mental health on an emotional level. According to AgingCare, loneliness can be extremely dangerous to seniors, increasing their rate of mental and physical decline. Loneliness has even been associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s.

Seniors who remain social enjoy greater levels of happiness and a better quality of life than socially isolated people. So, join a local club or group, volunteer, or get a part-time job in a social environment. You can even try using social media to connect with others who share your interests. If you live alone, consider moving into a community environment where opportunities for social engagement are right outside your door.

Good health is never out of reach. Seniors can — and should — strive to enjoy their golden years in every way possible. This means making an effort to exercise every day and putting your brain to work as you learn new things. It may be challenging to get started, but you’ll end up developing some healthy habits that will stick with you for years. If you find that you are isolating or even feeling depressed, seeking therapy can help.


Cold-Weather Fitness Tips to Keep You Fit, Happy, and On the Right Path

Fight Winter Blues with Indoor Workouts

The days are short, the nights are long, and the temps are less than desirable. Colder months tend to sap our energy, and when it comes to keeping up with a fitness routine, many of us can’t afford to have one iota of energy taken from us. Though working out is usually more fun when it’s warm outside, staying fit and healthy is not only possible when it’s cold out, but it’s not that tough (and yes, even enjoyable). Here are some tips for working out indoors.

Group of women working out with resistance bands.

Buy a set of resistance bands

One option for getting a total-body workout indoors is to join a gym. But that’s pricey. Another is option is to build a gym in your own home. This can add up, too, when you think about buying free weights, dumbbells, kettlebells, a treadmill, and other home gym equipment. The solution is resistance bands. These are cheap and versatile and can be stored in a closet or drawer when you’re not using them. You can get a total body workout with resistance bands. Click here for a great resource on different exercises.

Don’t scoff at indoor cardio

Strength training is fine and good, but what about cardio? If you think you can’t get a solid cardio workout indoors, without a fancy machine, you’re dead wrong. Stationary sprinting, squat thrusts, and planking can give your heart a workout. Rapidly switching between certain exercises? Even better. Throw in some shadowboxing to really get your blood pumping. Check out this 20-minute routine that you can do in your living room.

Stairs are your friend

Even though you’re doing your best to schedule designated indoor workout time, it helps to build some working out into your daily routine. In this regard, stairs are your best friend. Here’s your new rule: When it’s cold outside, I will never take an elevator or an escalator. You’ll be amazed at how much walking a half-dozen flights of stairs every day will do.

Why is this all so important?

Why can’t you just wait out the winter, and when things thaw, get outside and get back on the proverbial horse? Why is keeping up with your exercise routine so important during the winter months?

For one, exercise isn’t something that you can “catch up” on. You can’t make up for lost time in the spring by working twice as hard. Your body needs at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every single day, according to doctors. Another reason is that physical exercise helps to promote better mental health, and that is more important in the winter than it is in any other season. Lack of daylight, the inability to be outdoors, bad weather, and even the holidays are all triggers for depression and seasonal anxiety disorders. The bottom line is you need exercise in the winter.

Beyond that, it’s vital to keep up with physical activity if you’re in addiction recovery. When seeking therapy for substance use, many counselors also recommend pursuing a physical wellness plan to combat not only the physical effects of substance use, but also to promote the general well-being of patients. 

So what are you waiting for? You can fight the cold-weather blues and keep your body fit for the upcoming warmer months without even leaving your house. Of course, working out in the cold won’t kill you either. It’s actually quite healthy! If you do decide to venture outside, make sure you check out some cold-weather exercise tips.

 About the author

Jason Lewis is a personal trainer. In 2002, he became the primary caretaker for his mother after her surgery. He realized, as he helped her with her recovery, that there is a special need for trainers that can assist the seniors. He worked with his mother’s physician, as well as other personal trainers, to create programs that are considerate to the special health needs of those over the age of 65. He is the founder of www.StrongWell.org

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

What is Guided Meditation?

Meditation has long since been touted as the answer to many of our everyday problems. We’ve heard about the countless benefits of meditation that range from physical, mental, as well as behavioral. There are more types of meditation practiced in this world today than we can count. One of them is Guided Meditation. 

What is Guided Meditation?

As the name suggests, guided meditation, is a type of meditative practice that is guided or directed by an experienced mentor who aid an individual through the meditative journey to reach the deep state of thoughtful awareness that is only possible via meditation.

How does it Work?

Guided meditation is a form of relaxation that is mediated by the guidance of a trained professional. This guidance can be provided either in person through a visual or verbal instruction, or via any of the media modalities such as sound recordings, videos, written texts, or a combined mixture of all.

Normally people find it difficult to attain that perfect balance of thoughtless awareness that is necessary for meditation on their own. Guided meditation works by the meditator sitting or laying down in a comfortable position while they are lead through a series of different audios or visual directives that are designed to allow you conscious and subconscious mind to relax one step at a time. 

Guided meditation may be used for a variety of reasons such as personal growth and empowerment, emotional development or healing, for stress relief, improved sleep, decreasing anxiety and increased positivity, etc.  It is an aided method of achieving deepest levels of relaxation, to provide perspective along with the opportunity to rejuvenate yourself. A guided meditation session, depending on your needs and the method you choose, can range from as short as 10 minutes, to as long as an hour.

 As a Burbank therapist one of my favorite meditations to teach my clients is Body Scan by Jon Kabat-Zinn. You can download a Body Scan Meditation app in most phone app stores or find a Body Scan guided meditation on YouTube.

3 Tips to Reduce Anxiety

Anxiety disorders can be quite debilitating. They can be overwhelming, stressing, and can shatter your self-confidence to the point where they stop you from living a normal life. Therapy is an effective way to reduce anxiety.  There are also are some practical steps that can  help you reduce your anxiousness so that you may feel more in control.

 Here are the top three ways to tackle your anxiety:

Recognize Your Limitations

Anxiety is almost always triggered by something. To be able to reduce your anxiety you have to learn how to control it, and you can only do so if you know what, where and how it escalates. Focus on the feeling of anxiousness within yourself and recognize where it’s coming from. Often certain thoughts or feelings can be under the surface that trigger anxiety. Once you recognize these thoughts or feelings, you’ll be able to take responsibility for your emotions, know your limitations, and prevent things from deteriorating to their worst.

Take a Time Out

One of the best ways to reduce anxiety is to find a way to take a step back from the circumstances that cause or heighten it. If you feel like your issues are threatening to overwhelm you, take a time out, a moment to yourself. It doesn’t matter whether it just ten minutes in the middle of a busy day to just breathe in and out, or to take up meditation, getting a massage, going for a run, or indulging in any other mindless activity or chore that separates and distracts you from the source of your problems.

Sleep Well

Mental health and wellbeing can be affected by a lack of sleep. It’s quite ironic actually because anxiety and lack of sleep seem to be caught in a vicious circle, in that when you’re anxious you cannot sleep, and your lack of sleep can increase your anxiety. Hence the reason why therapists, counselors, and mental health experts insists you double your efforts to ensure a good night’s rest. Go to bed early, use aromatherapy to induce sleep, reduce your caffeine in-take, and indulge in long hot baths or whatever else that aids your sleep for at least 8 hours. A well-rested mind is a less anxious, calm and controlled mind.

 A Burbank Therapist can help you learn more steps to reduce therapy.  Contact us today to learn more, 310-854-3638

New Year, New Opportunity

Happy New Year!

My wish is that you are starting the year off with hope and possibility.  A New Year is a new opportunity for growth and change.  Although, you don't need another New Year to start positive changes in your life, the New Year is a good way to start with a fresh clean slate.

Have you made a resolution for 2016 yet?

  • Better health?

  • Weight loss?

  • Quit smoking?

Celebrating a new year with confetti falling from the sky.

While many people chose to focus on resolutions to change their physical health, consider doing something to better your metal or emotional health.  In the past I’ve had clients say, 

 “Why make a resolution at all, come February I’ll have forgotten what my goal was”.  

 While it is true that many New Years resolutions have exhausted themselves by February, it is often due to the types of goals being made.  If you choose a goal to run a mile a day, when you aren’t running at all, it may be difficult for you to achieve.  After a week of not running a mile a day, you give up hope and give up your goal.  However, if you choose something tangible and realistic you may gain self confidence by completing your goal.  

 If you are looking to make a resolution for 2016, it is never too late to start. 

 Here are 3 ways to help you make your New Years resolution last:

  • Keep it Simple - If you are looking to shed a few pounds in the new year, start simple. Do not try to diet, join a gym, and drastically change your eating habits all at one time.  While you may be able to maintain that momentum for a week, it would be impossible to maintain all at one time.  Start by choosing one way you can better your health.  Keep it reasonable.  If you are joining a gym, make a goal to go 3 times a week.  Keep track of the days and know that if something comes up you have a few flexible days to keep you on track.  

  • Try A New Type of Goal - If in the past you’ve only made physical resolutions, try making a new kind of resolution this year.  While it is important to maintain good physical health, your mental and emotional health is also important.  What is causing you the most stress in your life right now? Work? Family? In- Laws? An Ex? Look for ways you can reduce this stress in your life.  Maybe your resolution isn’t about working less, but maybe incorporating a new hobby or form of relaxation to help balance your busy schedule.  If you are struggling with resolving a relationship, committing to therapy can be a goal to help resolve the relationship or allow you to find peace with it’s current status.  

  • Not Achieving, is not Failing - Whatever your goal may be, you may need time to get adjusted to the change.  Just because you didn't accomplish your goal this week, does not mean you’ve failed.  True change takes time, and it’s ok to stumble along the way.  If you wanted to go to the gym 3 times a week, and only made it once this week- acknowledge the barriers that are preventing you from going and start a clean slate for the next week.  Each week you have a new opportunity to achieve your goal again.  If you resolved to mend a broken relationship in your life, understand those types of repairs do not occur overnight.  Depending on the relationship there many be hurt and years of anguish to over come.  Just because the relationship does not repair overnight does not mean the relationship won’t ever change.  Keep working toward your goal, looking at each week with a new opportunity for growth.

Whatever your resolution is for the New Year, Hope Therapy Center wishes you health, and happiness. 

We are here to help you achieve your goals.  Therapy can help you explore ways to change behavior, contact us today.  Our Burbank Therapy office is warm and positive place to start changing your life today.

Photo by Jason Dent on Unsplash

Self-Care is Not About Being Selfish

Are you a single parent?

  • Stay at home Mom or Dad?

  • Do you work extra shifts or two jobs to provide for your family?

  • Are you a caretaker, a giver, always helping others?

Too often we become so focused on our jobs, or kids, or other people needing us that we forget to take care of ourselves.  

Have you ever heard the term “Self-Care”? Self-Care includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health. Self care isn’t about being selfish, its about addressing your own needs so you can continue your work to help others.  

A recent client reported her struggle with self care:

Young woman takes time for herself with exercise as she gets ready for a run.

“I don’t know how I got here.  I am not happy with myself at all.  I’m two years post baby and I still haven’t lost the baby weight.  I feel like there is such incongruence with myself.  I work so hard for my child to eat healthy and have nutritious snacks, and I am shoveling a pop-tart and an iced-coffee down as were flying out the door.  My child has become my whole life - and while I love it, it’s consuming me.  I do not get a break until she’s asleep and then I have a house to clean and the feeling of everything that needs to be done that I can’t get done during the day. I spend so much time being a mother, a wife, house cleaner, laundry washer, family chef, that I find I’m becoming not very
good at any of my jobs”.  

This client’s story is all too true for many individuals.  We often get so busy helping everyone else that suddenly we aren’t good at any one thing.  Think of it like a gas tank - you first start out with a full tank and your engine is running well.  You can be busy and help so many people on a full tank.  Over time, you start burning up your fuel and your tank runs empty.  Now if you were a car with an empty tank you’d just stop completely.  As humans we do not come to a complete stop, but functioning on empty isn’t healthy.  You need to put fuel back into your engine for you to be back to running again.  

What are some things you can do to refuel your tank?
The wonderful part of self-care is that it is completely unique and varies from person to person. 

Sometimes, 20 minutes of quiet with a hot cup of coffee can be enough to reset your tank and allow you to continue through the day.  Self-care does not always need to be grandiose or expensive.  But maybe you are so burned out from your job that you do need a weekend away to unplug from technology and
breath the salty sea air. 

Here are some other ways to incorporate self-care in your life:

Food - As the client above stated, she works so hard to make sure her children are eating nutritious food that she is neglecting herself.  There are many research studies showing the link between good nutrition and mental health.  You actually feel better when you eat better.  In order for you to get your healthy breakfast in, maybe you wake up for your day 30 minutes earlier.  By making your nutrition a priority, you are actually feeding your brain and refueling your body.

Exercise - Do you just sit in your break room at work and eat your lunch? What if you ate at your desk for the first few minutes and then used the remainder of your lunch period to walk outside around your business complex? Of course going to the gym and maintaining good physical health is important,
but a simple lunch break walk can give you some fresh air and vitamin D to get back to the task at hand.  Walks around your neighborhood are another good way to get out and learn about your surroundings.  

Hobby - Do you have something to look forward to when you get home from work? Do you have a project or task that is just yours? It’s important to find something that fills your tank.  Maybe you work all week, and your hobby is volunteering at a soup kitchen.  You come back from that feeling good about yourself and ability to help others.  Maybe you work with people all week, and painting by yourself helps boost your creativity.  Whatever it is, make sure your hobby is something enjoyable and refills your tank and not something that causes you more stress.

Schedule - Are you someone who schedules appointments back to back? You come home from work to be off to your spin class etc.  If you are good at scheduling then it will be important for you to schedule self care.  Yes, actually put time in your calendar where you aren’t committed to anyone and then keep it.  This self care appointment is just as important as all your other appointments.  If you aren’t a big scheduler, then start with a general frame of your day.  Maybe you aren’t planned down to the minute, but create some time each day for your own refueling.

Counseling - Counseling or therapy is great self-care time.  It is a safe place for you to process what’s happening in your life.  You are the only subject, and you get to decide what your time is spent on.  Counseling also offers many ways to help you incorporate self care into your life, and strategies to learn how to balance our care for ourselves and the care for others. 

Do not wait for your gas tank to reach empty! Self-care is not a one time thing.  Try incorporating one new idea into your life and see how you feel afterward.  Maybe find something small you can do each day to help you take care of yourself. 

If you need help with self care, or learning how to set boundaries so your gas tank isn’t always on empty - Therapy can help instill good self-care, contact Hope Therapy Center today and consider counseling as good self-care.