By the Hillsides Self-Care Committee
In our final installment in honor of Mental Health Month, here are some of the best tips culled from recent wellness tips written by Hillsides self-care committee or other Hillsides staffers. Don’t wait to try these out – start today and see if you feel more relaxed and in control.
Build some stretching into your day. It only takes a few minutes to remember to breathe and to stretch and to be mindfully aware of your self-care needs while you are taking care of others. Hillsides self-care committee recommends taking the “hourly challenge” and stop what you’re doing long enough to do one stretch every hour, on the hour. For inspiration on stretches to try, download this app: Office Yoga to De-Stress.
Remind yourself to live in the present. To do this, Ritch Greene, a licensed clinical social worker and Hillsides Wraparound program manager, adding something to your environment, such as:
- Wearing your watch upside-down
- Putting a quarter in your shoe
- Putting a smudge on one of the lenses of your glasses
- Carrying your phone in a different pocket
Whenever you notice (or feel) the unexpected addition to your environment, take it as your cue to notice your surroundings, become aware of your senses and bodily sensations, and bring your focus into the present, says Greene. If you get to the point where you’re going entire days without noticing the prompt, switch up the reminder.
Be mindful when eating. Satisfying hunger provides us a great opportunity to step back from the multi-tasking that characterizes most of our days and single task, with the focus on getting the very most out of our meals, says Marina Serobyan, Hillsides Education Center therapist. She offers seven strategies to bring thoughtfulness and intent into your eating habits:
- Pay attention to needing to eat versus wanting to eat.
- Bring awareness to the colors, textures, flavors, sounds, and aromas of the food.
- Set your fork or spoon down between bites.
- Place a brief focus on your breath between bites.
- Sit down for each and every meal or snack (no standing and eating).
- Plate the food no matter what it is. (No eating straight from the bag, box, jar, or other container consumption.)
- Chew very slowly with intention and attention.
These techniques will just take seconds or minutes from your day, but the pay off will last for hours and even for years. The better you treat yourself today, the better you’ll feel tomorrow and for the rest of your life.
Hillsides Self-Care Committee provides practical solutions for well-being and is part of the overall plan at Hillsides to foster an atmosphere of support that empowers all to seek balance and healthy living while serving the community. The committee consists of Kathy Baele, Tamara Bess, Bhavna Bhakta, Puja Chhabra, Catalina Garcia, Lupe Gonzalez, Vanessa Gonzalez, Ritch Greene, Melanie Horstmann, Iris Lopez, Kirsten Mohr, Jose Vasquez, and Samira Vishria.