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12 Ways to Practice Self-Care (it's not selfish!)

I didn’t drive home for Christmas this year; 2017 was a remarkably challenging year, and when December 23 arrived and I was faced with a six-hour trek past Toronto, coupled with daunting weather watches and snow squalls, I just couldn’t do it. It wasn’t an easy choice; staying in Ottawa would mean disappointing family and disrupting some cherished traditions. But it would also mean a handful of desperately needed, sinfully antiquated, schedule-free days of rest. The lure of the latter won out, plain and simple.

If you’ve travelled by plane, you’re probably familiar with the inflight announcements: “In case of emergency,” the script reads “ . . . Oxygen masks will drop down in front of you. Please pull the mask down toward your face and place the mask over your mouth and nose. If you are travelling with a child, please attend to yourself first. . .”

This bears repeating: “If you are travelling with a child, please attend to yourself first.”

For what reason would we be instructed, even if travelling with a child, to attend to our own safety first? Is it because we’re on vacation and selfishness is the rule? Of course not. We help ourselves first because we’re no good to anyone else if we’re starving for oxygen ourselves. When we are breathing deeply, calm and clear-headed, however, the people we can help is immeasurable.

Here are 12 simple ways to practice self-care:

• Take naps

• Sip tea and stare out the window

• Cuddle your furry kid

• Sit by the fire and read a good book

• Go for a massage

• Do gentle or restorative yoga!

• Go for a nature walk

• Enjoy coffee with a friend who uplifts you

• Journal, colour, work on a puzzle, doodle, tap into your creative side

• Book a mini retreat

• Attend a stress-reduction or self-care workshop

• Sleep in

As it turns out, the driving conditions to Toronto that weekend were horrible. I know because I was relaxing on the couch, feet up fireside, shocked by the images of cars in ditches and wicked traffic being posted on social media. My family was glad I didn’t risk the roads, and I’m heading home in February to partake in a new ritual: An Olympic Family Get Together.

Make your health, happiness, and well-being a TOP priority this year. It’s the best way to be of service to you and anyone else. YOU DESERVE IT! And you will be a happier, healthier, and even more productive person for it.

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