Self-Care 101 in Costa Rica: Less is More
Why are we here in Costa Rica? There are a variety of answers but they all sift down to us individually caring about what we see as the quality of our lives and our family’s lives. We appreciate the clean environment, the always fresh food, time in nature and a little more freedom. This is self-care, we are choosing a lifestyle that supports our wellbeing.
Self-care has been a media subject lately as celebrities stretch the limit of self-care into self-indulgence. But why is the concept of self-care important? Because if we don’t take care of ourselves we can not take care of others.
Self-care is anything you do consciously to help maintain your physical, mental or emotional health. Things like exercise, time spent on a hobby, and using relaxation techniques to manage stress and anxiety, hiking to clear the mind and physically work our bodies are all good examples of self-care strategies. Self-care will help you feel healthy, relaxed and ready for whatever life throws at you. Wellbeing maintenance is part of self-care, doctors, dentists and counseling are very important but we’re talking about something lighter, something everyday that adds to our happiness and all-around wellbeing. Saying yes to self-care is about managing stress, making sure you have time to be quiet each day, time to be social in your week, and time spent with family and friends. So where do you begin?
Learn to say No to being overly busy, overworked, feeling stretched with time and commitments. Keep from becoming burned out.
Watch your media indulgence – keep track of your time watch or reading news, and being on social media sites.
Set aside time and commit to yourself, learn to observe when this is what you need. This is not a grandiose plan but rather, just a realistic commitment to do things for yourself like getting up earlier, meditating each morning, looking for a class (in anything that interests you) and take it once a week, going for a hike with a friend every Thursday morning, etc.
Learn to say Yes, to things that bring you joy, laughter, happiness. Actively plan time to do what you love by yourself, with family and with friends frequently.
Then set self care-strategies such as:
EXERCISE YOUR BODY
Do whatever you enjoy, but get moving – surfing, swimming, hiking, workout, practice, yoga, qigong, etc.
Indulge in a fresh, colorful, local diet.
GET A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP
Make it regular.
Aim for just the right amount of 7-8 hours each night, not over 9 hours.
Have quiet time for yourself, it’s important to be able to just think – day dream, visualize, this can simply include a long soak in the tub, or any hobby or activity that puts you in a state of Flow, where you and engage and time just disappears as you are engrossed in the activity.
Spend social time with people you love, family and friends.
Self-care is taking care of your self so you can be alert, aware, and actively engaged in the lives of others, in our work, our children, our families and our friends. Happy and healthier we can give ourselves and others the best of who we are.
Written by Lura Shopteau of Bienestar Yoga in Uvita, Costa Rica