“Honestly, self-care is not fluffy – it’s something we should take seriously.” –Kris Carr
With so much to keep us busy day after day, how much time do we devote to our own self-care? Carving out time to work on hobbies, spend time in nature or go to the gym seems to fall to the bottom of the priority list. I was recently introduced to the concept of macro and micro self-care. Macro self-care is made up of the big things we do for ourselves. It can be a vacation, going to the gym for an hour a day, taking a day off work, or engaging in a hobby. These macro activities usually take a bit of time and may involve a significant amount of money and effort. While the macro self-care activities are extremely beneficial, because of the extended periods of time required to complete them, many people push them off and are not as faithful with them as they would like to be. Micro self-care activities are small practices that can be woven into the day. Most take less than a minute to complete and if they are repeated throughout the day, they can have a significant benefit. A micro activity would be stretching at work, taking 10 mindful breaths, savoring each bite of a meal or expressing gratitude to a friend.
Self-care of our physical body is critical for our wellbeing. Our bodies are the only vehicle we are given throughout this lifetime. It always amazes me how many people take better care of their car than they do their body. We feed our bodies processed junk foods, lead sedentary lives and deprive the body of rest. We abuse our bodies, using caffeine and other drugs to artificially stimulate the senses, yet we expect our bodies to perform optimally. There are three critical areas of self-care that our bodies need: physical movement, rest and nutrition. Here are some macro and micro ideas for each of these areas. Start by squeezing in a few micro activities. It won’t be long before you work up to the macro ones.
Macro: Going to the gym, developing a workout routine, going for a long walk
Micro: Taking breaks to stretch and move every hour, taking the steps instead of the elevator, parking at the far end of the parking lot
Macro: Getting 8 hours of sleep every night, meditation
Micro: Taking a 15-minute power nap, taking 10 deep breaths, taking a mental break
Macro: Eating a balanced diet, adding more plant based whole foods, cooking at home, avoiding fast food and processed foods.
Micro: prepare food with love, savor each bite, mindfully eat, eat with people, talk and laugh during the meal.
How different would you feel if you committed to taking care of your body with some of these macro and micro self-care activities for the next 30 days? Give it a try!