Self-Care A-Z Guide GoNoodle Style!
Parents and teachers! You work so incredibly hard to make the lives of the kiddos you care about better in every way. Every day you pour your hearts and souls into everything you do, and often you put your needs on the back burner and place the needs of others ahead of your own. We see you moms, working two jobs to make ends meet! We see you dads, coaching your little one’s soccer team and putting in the extra time to show all the kiddos on your team love and support. We see you teachers, up late every night, grading papers and buying supplies with your own money. ~ Tracy Coats
We’re all familiar with this advice when we fly: “be sure to put your oxygen mask on first, before assisting children.” This is a perfect metaphor for our needs as a caregiver. Namely that we must take care of ourselves and fill our souls up so we can continue giving back to the people we love! So, in that spirit, we’ve put together this GoNoodle style self-care guide. Think of it as a road map, encouraging you to always make time for yourself. When you need a little pick-me-up or you’re feeling a little burned out, spell out a word, your first name, your kiddo’s name, any word that comes to mind— and incorporate the corresponding alphabetic tips into your week.
Modeling self-care is a great way to show your students and kids that they too need to incorporate self-care into their daily routine. Giving our bodies good food to eat, plenty of water, and rest are just some of the ways that we show ourselves love. In this season of gratitude, show yourself some gratitude for the amazing human being you are, and the amazing ways you serve others.
“Self-care is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation.”
Audre Lorde, feminist and civil-rights leader
A - Aromatherapy! Discover how scents and essential oils can help you calm yourself, improve your sleep, and improve your overall well-being. Aromatherapy has been practiced for centuries. Oil scents activate certain parts of your brain and can actually stimulate the creation of the feel-good chemical serotonin! This diffuser kit is affordable and is a great starter set with multiple essential oils for you to choose from.
B - Breathe! Breathing is a very important tool in managing stress and anxiety. Here are some breathing techniques you can use everyday to help you achieve a sense of calm, no matter where you are. Or you can always do Bear Breath or Bunny Breath to help you breathe your way through your day!
C - Chocolate is healthy for you! Dark chocolate has essential vitamins and minerals that your body needs, lowers blood pressure, and makes you feel good— so eat a little bit of chocolate each day.
D - Delivery -- Sometimes, just having someone else bring you food can feel like a load off your plate, right? So treat yourself and order food from your favorite restaurant and have it delivered. You worked hard today!
E - Exercise Nothing makes you feel better than moving your body. Exercise doesn’t have to be something you dread either! Dance around your house to your favorite songs, take a barre class, or walk around the block. Get those arms and legs moving and see what a difference a little movement can make. Bad mood be gone!
F - Facials can make you feel like a million bucks but they don’t have to cost a million bucks! Here are some inexpensive ways to get a glowing complexion. This facial steamer opens up those pores and releases toxins. This yummy facial scrub will let that inner beauty shine through! Pro tip: men love facials too!
G - Is gift giving or the act of giving gifts your love language? Through that thoughtful gesture, you might derive great pleasure in picking out something special for your loved ones. Give yourself or someone else a gift and revel in that feeling of demonstrating your love for others!
H - Hydrate your body! Water aids in digestion, makes your skin look gorgeous, and helps with low energy and depression. To help develop healthy habits around drinking water regularly, try out one of these hydration apps! And don’t forget—you can also enjoy additional water intake through high water content foods like cucumbers, celery, and watermelon.
I - Invest in yourself—it always pays the best interest. YOU are your most important commodity. When you demonstrate to others that you are worth investing in, they are more likely to have confidence in you. So treat yourself like the king or queen you are, pursue your interests, and dream big!J - Jokes and the power of laughter should never be underestimated. Humor can lighten up a room or diffuse a fight. In a bad mood or feeling blue? Turn on your favorite comedy and let the healing effect of humor soothe your soul.
K - Knitting is a hobby that we can seriously get into! You can do it while chilling on the couch, watching your favorite show. You can take it with you to an appointment or on a plane. You are challenged mentally and creatively and you can even sell or gift your beautiful creations! Check out this cute starter kit and send us pics of that adorable sweater you’re knitting this fall!
L - Lifelong learning is the self-pursuit of knowledge leading to personal growth. Being curious and interested in a variety of topics can be so enriching. Challenge yourself and try your hand at something new! Make a list of things you would like to learn more about and start from there. Find someone who may want to do it with you and identify how you would like to get involved. Lifelong learning can lead to improved interpersonal skills and self-confidence!
M - Meditation and mindfulness benefits include lowering stress, improving focus, and reducing brain chatter. This helpful article on meditation for beginners walks you through posture, body awareness, and breathing. Tap into your inner voice and find healing through meditation.
N - NOTHING -- that’s right! Let’s normalize doing NOTHING. You don’t have to always be in a state of constant motion. Sit on the couch, watch TV, read a book, and allow yourself to revel in the fact that it’s okay to do NOTHING.
O - Organization can be exhilarating! Are you feeling like other parts of your life are out of control? Take control of what you can and get organized! There are actual physical and psychological impacts to being disorganized, so take back your life and start small. Tackle that drawer first before you start in the garage. Is it just us or does looking at drawer organizers instantly make us feel better?
P - Play - Go outside, play a game, run around and find joy in being a kid again! Ask your niece if she wants to have a tea party, invite friends over for cards, or make a blanket fort with your kiddos. Don’t think about work or cleaning, be in the moment and play with abandon. Your soul will be happier and lighter for it!
Q - Quotes can impact your mood! Find quotes that inspire you, write them on post-it notes, and hang them on your mirror. As you’re getting ready for the day, read these and be inspired. Put them on your computer, the fridge, or carry one in your wallet so that you can always find that little extra “umph” you need to get you over that next hill.
R - Relax - the definition of relaxation is make or become less tense or anxious. Dedicate some time in your day to relax, and put some relaxation time on your calendar! Like meditation, you can focus on your breath and release physical tension in your body. Relaxing is about calming your mind, so write down everything that is bothering you (we call it a “brain dump”), and leave those things on that piece of paper during your focused relaxation time. You’ll feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle the task at hand if you give your body a chance to relax and reenergize.
S - Smile - We‘ve always heard that smiling uses fewer muscles than frowning and that is true—but what smiling really does is release neuropeptides in our bodies that actually improve our mood and help us feel better! Smiles are infectious. We double dog dare you to not smile if someone smiles at you. See?! You couldn’t do it, could you?!
T - Tea is like a warm hug for your insides—and has some key health benefits! Tea can help prevent or delay cardiovascular disease. Tea contains antioxidants and may help with weight loss. Tea comes in a wide variety of flavors and is available with or without caffeine, so there’s bound to be a tea out there you’ll love! Relax with a cup today!
U - Unfollow anyone on social media that isn’t serving your higher self. There is no need to follow someone who is negative. Get that out of your life today.
V - Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to an organization or community you are passionate about while filling your soul at the same time! Do not feel obligated to volunteer unless it’s something that moves you. You are allowed to say no to things. You can use this handy site to find volunteer opportunities in your community. Can’t figure out where you want to put your efforts or dollars? Make a list of things you want to influence or organizations you may be interested in and do the research before you commit. That way you can find the perfect match for your passion!
W - Walking is likely the most underrated form of exercise out there. Walking improves fitness, is easier on your body than running, and it’s free! One Stanford University study found that walking increased creative output by 60%! And walking in nature was found to reduce negative thoughts. So get out there and walk, park your car in the back of the parking lot to add steps, take the stairs, and get moving to improve your day.
X - Xcell at your xcellence! (X is the hardest letter so we’re getting creative!) What are you good at? Do you know? Make a list of the all things you are xcellent at and rank them in order of preference. Do any of your innate skills rise to the top or really pique your interest? Hone in on some of those gifts and really work at them in pursuit of xcellence! When you are proud of your accomplishments or skills, it seeps into every aspect of your life and enriches everything you do. Go for the gold and focus on your own unique talents!
Y - Yoga might not be for everyone, but have you given it a try? YouTube has some good yoga videos you can try out for free for a variety of levels. Stretching feels good, can increase your flexibility, and decrease muscle tension. Here is a 20-minute yoga video for beginners. Give it a try!
Z - Zzzzs - who doesn’t love to get a good night's sleep? We can all agree that when we sleep restfully we are sharper, more focused and happier. Poor sleep habits can really impact your day-to-day, so here are some handy tips that can help you break some of the bad sleep habits you may have developed over the years. Turn off your devices and make your room cooler if possible. Treat yourself to this silky sleep mask and you should be having sweet dreams in no time!