Take Care of You

Self-care has been the theme of 2019. Everyone is talking about it – it’s all over Instagram and Facebook (#selfcaresunday) and there’s an emphasis in today’s Millennial-driven culture (of which I am a part!) to take care of yourself. This is not a bad thing! We need to be reminded to slow down, take care of ourselves, and relax. We cannot pour from an empty cup.

Self-care is also being talked about more in the world of equine assisted activities and therapies. Most of us in this world are not therapists or mental health professionals but we do put ourselves through a lot of stress in this work. We handle high-stress situations, deal with unpredictable events, large animals, and have little control over what happens throughout our day. All of those factors can create stress in our daily lives.

I attended a PATH workshop a few months ago where self-care was actually a discussion. This was the first time I have heard self-care talked about for PATH professionals and I was impressed. We often forget how stressful our jobs can be and we put ourselves on the back burner to take care of our clients, staff, horses, and volunteers. We think we don’t have time or permission for self-care.

Well, I’m here to give you permission. I also want to give you some easy ideas for self-care. It doesn’t have to look like what you see on Instagram or whatever new bath soak Target is selling. Here’s some of my favorite, quick self-care tips:

  1. Breathe with your horse – take five minutes in your horse’s stall and just put your hands on your horse. Relax your breathing to match theirs. Feel the horse breathe underneath your hands. Soak in five minutes of peace with your horse. You probably do this with your clients – you deserve to try it!
  2. Drink your favorite drink – make a hot coffee, grab a tea, drink some water. Sitting with something I enjoy (mmm lattes) for a few minutes and doing something for myself completely refreshes me for the rest of the day.
  3. Practice gratitude – write down five things you are grateful for today. This is a classic self-care technique but that’s because it works. It takes minimal time and it’s a good way to recenter yourself.
  4. Move – move! We think we are active all the time if we are teaching, but sometimes we’re spending the day on our computers or standing still with a client. Get up, shake your body, go for a walk. Change up your scenery.
  5. Talk it out – Call a friend. Talk to your coworker, your significant other, your horse. Vocalize what is stressing you out that day and you will instantly feel better.

This is a timely post for me because I am going to be taking some self-care time away from the blog. My husband and I recently welcomed a new little member into our family so I will be focusing on how to be a new mom and working a little self-care into my day when I can! I would love to know what you do for self-care so leave a comment below. I need all the ideas I can get!

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