Anxiety

How to Create a Self-Care Plan

What is a Self-Care Plan and Why You Should Create One

With a growing focus on mental health in the public sphere, you’ve likely encountered references to individuals creating a “self-care plan.” A self-care plan is a coping mechanism that keeps you from being overwhelmed by life’s sometimes chaotic nature. It’s also a proactive measure that you design. It’s filled with activities that bring you joy, reminders of your self-worth, as well as ways to tap into your support network. Below are three reasons why investing in a self-care plan ahead of time is essential:

1) A customized self-care plan is empowering. Take some time to look within first; you’ll know what things in life bring on stress and what things make it melt away. Through this self-reflection, you’ll have the foundations for developing your self-care plan and having it written down offers a safety net for the moments when you need it most.

2) Self-care plans help you respond, not react in moments of crisis. In terms of mindfulness, a self-care plan allows you to respond to situations versus simply reacting. Creating a plan ahead of time, therefore, empowers you to feel more in control of your life and avoid becoming overwhelmed by it. Likewise, you’ll be in a better position to know what type of outside help you might need and where to go for it.

3) Developing a plan helps keep you on track. A tangible, clearly laid-out strategy keeps you accountable and motivated to build new, positive routines. Knowing what you need to do when things get tough should also prevent you from making excuses and defaulting to old habits.

 

How to Create a Self-Care Plan Cloud 9 Acupuncture

How to Create Your Self-Plan

Now that you better understand the importance of creating a self-care plan, it’s time to bring your own to life. Remember: this is a course of action that you take everywhere and seeks to balance your physical and emotional needs. The plan can also include resources that you can rely on and reminders about your personal goals.

Build your self-care plan by following these steps:

Step 1: Write down an activity list that shows the different components of your life. To get you started, here are a few example areas to focus on:

  • Your day job
  • Your relationships: romantic, platonic, family, community
  • Your physical activity
  • Your internal thoughts

When this list is complete, you’ll want to add activities that you enjoy, bring happiness, and wellbeing to each space in your life. Sample activities include downloading a meditation app for your phone, meal prepping, keeping a gratitude journal, working with a therapist, or scheduling recurring acupuncture sessions.

Step 2: Write down the things that might get in your way. Afterward, devote some time to figuring out potential ways to address these barriers positively. An example would be if you’re in the habit of negative self-talk, take 5 minutes each morning to write down 3 good things about yourself. Over time these “shifts” in thinking and action will build to even larger life changes and you being well-suited to handle future stressful situations.

Step 3: Share your plan with your support network. Once your self-care plan is complete, send a copy to the people you trust most and are willing to help keep you accountable. You may also want to encourage these individuals to develop their own and share them with you.

Sticking to Your Self-Care Plan

For your self-care plan to be successful, you’ll need to commit to regularly acting on it. We know this is easier said than done, but we encourage you to be empathetic towards yourself and give yourself time to build new habits. Yes, there’ll likely be times where you slip back into past responses; this is okay and natural. When these moments do arise, be kind to yourself and use it as a chance to refocus.

Here are a few ways you can set yourself up for success when implementing a self-care plan:

  • Set daily reminders on your phone to do something that brings you joy
  • Meet up regularly with your accountability partner
  • Bring your plan to life through drawings, photo collages, or another visual medium
  • Schedule recurring appointments that contribute to your well-being, such as acupuncture or gym workouts
  • When you do falter, take a moment to reset with 5 deep breaths and visualizing your best self
  • Reward yourself when you’ve stuck to a part of your plan for a certain number of days, weeks, months, etc.

3 AcuPoints for Anxiety

One of the most wonderful things about being an acupuncturist is the ability to stimulate points on my own body when I need to. If I get a headache, or feel a cold coming on, I can always hop up on my table for a quick tune-up with some needles. Even when I’m not at the office, the magic of acupuncture can still work for me – as long as I know where the points are and what they do, I can press on them and get results. continue reading »

The One Hour Vacation

It’s time for a tune up!

 

In Chinese Medicine, we acknowledge that Summer brings the gifts of laughter, partnership, and joy. This is seen by our desire to vacation with loved ones, have fun and break loose, and have more get togethers with old and new friends.  In Summer, our Heart, Pericardium, Small Intestine and San Jiao are at their peak of functioning and at their most vulnerable.  If challenged, you may notice some issues with regulating your body temperature or fluids- hello edema! Swollen ankles, anyone?  If this is an issue for you, you can add 2 handfuls of watermelon to your diet daily or try Job’s Tears… and don’t forget your regular acupuncture treatment.

Late Summer brings the gift of harvest time, all of our hard work is paying off and especially for farmers and gardeners we can see the ripe fruit and vegetables in abundance to eat. We get a feeling of “life is good and easy” because there is plenty of food and a general sense of putting our feet up to relax. The gifts of Late Summer are empathy, sympathy, mothering oneself/tending to oneself versus how we take care of others. There is a lot of digesting life, making life a part of us- the way we go on vacation to a new land, consume the culture, the food, the energy of a beautiful and interesting place as we try to take it back home with us as part of our new life experience. In Late Summer, our Stomach and Spleen are at their peak of functioning and at their most vulnerable. If this is a difficult time for your body, you may notice more loose stools or irregular digestion, stomach bloating or cramps, or gas. Try fresh mint in your diet, add to smoothies or salads, or as a cup of tea.

If you’re finding Summer or Late Summer a difficult time, emotional or physically, don’t suffer alone. It’s time for a tune up. Schedule your appointment with one of our wonderful acupuncturists, available in White Marsh or Timonium, Monday thru Saturday as early as 7am, as late as 7pm.

 

Acupuncture is the perfect one hour vacation, with benefit to your mind and body.

 

Seven Ways to Set and Achieve Your Goals

No matter what you’re trying to accomplish, setting goals is one way to help you get there. Often, when people have no goals, they lack motivation, focus and direction.  Setting goals also provides a benchmark to determine whether or not you are succeeding. But how do you set goals if you’ve never done so before? Or what if you have set goals in the past, but you didn’t achieve them? Do you just give up and tell yourself that goal setting doesn’t work? That’s one option, but let’s put things into perspective. continue reading »

9 Benefits of Aromatherapy

Essential oils are used for myriad reasons. They’re the natural compounds extracted from plants and are known for being fragrant. While some people choose to massage them into the skin others use diffusers to inhale the aroma. Regardless of the method, people turn to essential oils to unlock the many benefits of aromatherapy.

aromatherapy essential oils

As a form of self-care and holistic wellness, aromatherapy is used for physical and emotional purposes. It’s an alternative to more traditional treatments and many people find joy in creating their own unique blends. Aromatherapy is perfect for in-home wellness or combined with other services, like a massage or acupuncture.

1. Great for Stress

Aromatherapy is an excellent way to reduce your stress. That’s because essential oils have proven to alleviate stress symptoms, including fatigue and restlessness. Lemon and thyme oil are both great options for stress and nervousness.

2. Get an Energy Boost

People who live busy lives are often faced with the possibility of burning out physically and mentally. However, not having the energy doesn’t stop us from having responsibilities. Aromatherapy is a great way to get an energy boost in the middle of your day. Some people even have a diffuser in their office for a midday boost. Try some wild orange, bergamot, grapefruit, or pine.

3. Help for Headaches

Anyone who has ever had a headache knows how debilitating they can be. If you’d prefer not to rely on traditional medicines, you can mix your essential oil with a carrier oil and gently rub them into your scalp and temples to relieve the pain. Mix lavender, rosemary, or chamomile oil with a carrier like almond or avocado oil.

4. Sleep Better

If you’re having trouble winding down and getting to sleep at the end of the day, try placing a diffuser on your nightstand or using essential oils in the bath. If you experience insomnia, anxiety, or restlessness, use ylang-ylang, neroli, or cedarwood.

5. Improve Digestion

Not all essential oils are safe for consumption but of the ones that are, they can be beneficial for conditions like nausea and help facilitate digestion. Add a couple drops to a cup of water, take them in a capsule, or cook with them. Ginger is an excellent essential oil for nausea and indigestion. Fennel essential oil works well to remedy upset stomach, bloating, and heartburn.

6. Mood Enhancement

Don’t forget that you can create your own essential oil blends with your favorite oils. This is a great way to enhance your mood by combining your favorite smells. Inhaling essential oils is known for inducing a sense of calm, relaxation, and positivity.

7. Breathe Better

Speaking of inhaling, there are some essential oils that contain antiseptic properties that help get rid of bacteria and mold, clearing the air and helping you breathe better. If you’ve noticed that you’ve been sneezing and coughing more often at home because of the change in weather, try diffusing some eucalyptus, oregano, or geranium.

8. Improve Complexion

If you experience acne or other frequent blemishes, you might think that putting oil on your skin would be counterproductive. However, there are essential oils that contain the right amount of qualities that help calm irritated skin and even brighten and even out the complexion. Mix the essential oil with a carrier to create your own moisturizing blend. Tea tree oil contains anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. Rose essential oil counteracts dryness. Carrot seed oil is an antioxidant for skin renewal.

9. Great for Pain and Inflammation

For athletes, people who have active lifestyles, and older people who often experience aching joints, inflammation, swelling, and sore muscles, essential oils can be a great addition to your pain management regimen. Massage some peppermint, sandalwood, cypress, or clove oil into the affected areas for relief from your symptoms.

If you are interested in learning more about essential oils contact Cloud 9’s owner, Laura Parks, with your aromatherapy questions today.