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When Embracing Self-Care, Don't Be Afraid to Be "Extra"
Todos debemos ser un poquito extra
It’s time we all stop bashing the concept of self-care. Because the word (phrase?) “self-care” is just another way to say “taking care of yourself.” And as a childfree Latina o Latine, you get to be a little “extra” with yourself.
Just another perk of living la vida más chévere!
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And you know you’re not doing enough of the self-care. No seas mentirosa, you’re not.
You know you’re supposed to have so much water, so much sleep, and move your body so many minutes a day.
And you still don’t. Because LIFE, man.
I. GET. IT. Really, I do.
I wouldn’t be writing this if I didn’t have the exact same problem…once or twice….
How do you fix it? Like you do anything else: in tiny incremental steps till it becomes a habit.
That’s it? That’s the secret?
Yes. End of story.
Oh, you want more detail? Okay, here are 5 tiny habits you can start working on today to take better care of yourself. Plus how to “extra” them up.
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Simple Daily Self-Care Tip #1: Breathe
Take 5 deep breaths. I’m talking about the kind that go deeeeeeeeeeeep into your belly, really make it swell like a big balloon.
Hold that for a few seconds.
Then blow it out and do it again. 5 times.
That fresh air to your brain is going to feel like you’re on the good shit. And you are. It’s called oxygen.
Make Breathing Extra
Try breathing in, holding the breath, then very slowly exhaling.
I like doing it all to a count of 4 seconds, and I’ve been doing it for years to help me get to sleep. It’s a well-known self-soothing technique.
I also used it once in an MRI machine during a panic attack, but that’s a story for another time.
Healthline recommends the 4-7-8 technique for an even more advanced method.
Simple Daily Self-Care Tip #2: Stretch
Stand up and stretch for 30 seconds. Doesn’t matter what area you stretch. You can start with your hands over your head, or bending one way or another. Maybe start with your neck and shoulders and work your way down.
Especially if you’re a desk jockey (podcasters fall into this category too!) your muscles will probably thank you. In fact, science says doing this can help you live longer by preventing heart problems, which is reason enough for my Inspector Gadget watch to annoy me at 10 minutes to the hour every hour.
And even though, according to the US Dept of Health & Human Services Office of Minority Health, us Latines are categorically less likely to suffer from coronary issues (yay us!), the childfree among us are apparently not so lucky.
So get up and do the damn stretches.
Make Stretching Extra
Add in a stretch session right before bed (see #5). If you want to truly live your best life, stretch after you wake up too. To be the most extra, take up yoga or pilates. Stay supple!
Simple Daily Self-Care Tip #3: Dance
Have a 5 minute dance party in your chair. I keep a hype playlist handy for this. What's your favorite song to move to? Comment below (or email me) and I'll add it to the list.
This is especially great for anyone with 2 left feet, because you don’t actually have to be on your feet. That’s what chair dancing is!
If you were imagining the water scene from Flashdance instead, then go on with your bad self!
For reals though, putting on your favorite song and wiggling your ass in the chair for a few minutes will do wonders for your mood. Will it feel silly? Maybe at first. But who cares?
If you’re in an office full of fuddy-duddies, invite them all to the party! Cuz everyone needs a break. Even wet blankets.
Or just use your earbuds.
Make Dancing Extra
If you want to stand up and have a 5 minute salsa fest instead, I’m not one to stop you. In fact, go be your extra self and do just that. That little bit of cardio will help get the blood pumping. Which is always good, especially in the middle of a long sedentary stretch.
Simple Daily Self-Care Tip #4: Drink More Water
When I originally put this list together, it was during the long stretch of El Niño weather we were having in LA. It’s been a cold and wet year, so my original advice was to make something warm, like tea (or cafecito).
(I’m a huge fan of tea. If you are too, check out August Uncommon for some truly delicious tea blends. You’ll get 20% off with this link.)
Warm liquids in your body are really comforting. Sipping out of a warm mug, holding it in your hands, that’s an easy way to take a breather and slow down.
But the ultimate beverage is still water. Hydration is your bestest BFF. Between drinking enough water and wearing sunscreen on the daily, you could keep your youthful visage nearly forever!
Make Water Extra
Add some electrolytes to your water. Especially if you work out consistently, you’re losing sodium but also magnesium and potassium will help you avoid muscle cramps.
If you’re making that warm beverage instead, froth up some milk for a delicious foamy crown. I like to make mine with almond milk in my Vava steamer, but you do you.
Simple Daily Self-Care Tip #5: Create a Shutdown Process
The last simple self-care tip is to get your ass to bed already. Yes, I know you’re full-on adulting. You’re busy! You’ve got a full schedule! Jefa vibes and all that good shit.
¿Y sabes que? All the more reason to get to bed already. In fact, what I really want you to do is start getting ready to go to bed 30 minutes earlier than you did yesterday.
Notice I didn’t tell you to go to sleep. Your biological timers are going to put you to sleep whenever works best for you. That could be at 9 pm or it could be at 2 am. But I want you to start creating the habit of winding down just a little bit earlier.
It’s the shutdown process that’s important here. Maybe you start a gratitude journal or meditate for 10 minutes before you drift off. Maybe you down some melatonin to go mimis. Or hey, even have some sex to work off some energy. Whatever the shutdown process looks like for you, start one.
Make the Process Extra
Turn on Do Not Disturb on your phone and let it charge in another room. I know, we all have that fear that something terrible is going to happen in the middle of the night and we have to be accessible!
But let me ask you: do you really?
Don’t answer right away, take your time with this one. And if the answer really and truly is yes, then fine. Add the people you’d allow to disturb your sleep to the VIP list in your contacts and shut out the rest.
What are some tiny habits you're creating for your own self-care routine? How are you making it extra good for yourself? Comment
and let’s all share our chingona self-care game plans.
Till next time, stay hydrated (haha, it’s #4) and that’s a burrito!!
Want more? Check out La Vida Más Chévere Podcast episode one: Self-Care You Can Do in Your PJs.