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Self-care is a term that is growing in popularity for good reason. As modern life gets busier and more stressful, it is important to set aside time to care for yourself in order to prevent mental, emotional and physical exhaustion.

However, if your idea of self-care comes from social media, you may think it has to involve some sort of spa treatment. Spa treatments are nice for some, but if you’re on a budget or if you simply don’t care for that sort of thing, there are a lot of other ways to practice self-care.

Exercise

Exercise can sometimes feel like a chore but it is actually a great way to invest in yourself and relieve stress. Choose a form of exercise you enjoy, even if it’s simply going for a walk.

Music

Blast your favorite artist, album or soundtrack and break out your best dance moves. Our lives are often filled with background noise that we barely notice. However, taking the time to really listen to music you enjoy can lift your mood.

Aromatherapy

Light a candle, burn incense or diffuse your favorite essential oil. But don’t simply light a candle and walk away. Instead, sit and breathe deeply to reap the benefits of aromatherapy. A soothing scent can give you a feeling of calm and relaxation.

Unplug

Turn your phone on airplane mode (or completely off) and close your laptop. Give yourself the freedom to be unreachable for an hour or two. Really need a break from your phone and the constant pings of texts, emails and social media notifications? Try unplugging for an entire weekend and you’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

Take a nap

Afternoon naps feel super indulgent. Close your blinds, change into something comfy and cuddle up for a refreshing siesta. Just be sure to set an alarm so you don’t oversleep since this can cause grogginess.

Read a book

Because getting sucked into a good book is a great way to distract your mind from life’s everyday drama, reading is a perfect way to practice self-care. So, if you have a new book you’ve been wanting to try or an old favorite that is calling your name, set aside an hour or two of “self-care time” and read. Your local library is great resource for free books. Most libraries even offer downloadable electronic books and audiobooks if reading a physical book isn’t your thing.

Indulge in your favorite treat

Even if you are dieting or trying to eat healthy, it is important to be gracious to yourself and allow the occasional treat. Whether that means a glass of wine, an ice cream cone or a slice of pizza, self-care time is the perfect opportunity to treat yourself. Make sure to enjoy your favorite treat without feelings of guilt since caring for your mental wellbeing is just as important as your physical health. Therefore, an occasional treat (enjoyed in moderation) as a form of self-care is an important part of a healthy lifestyle.

Get back outside

Even if it’s just 10 minutes, getting back outside is so refreshing and rejuvenating – when it doesn’t involve chores that is. Take a walk, have a picnic, do your Pilates… make an effort to leave distractions behind and pay attention to your surroundings. You’ll enjoy a significantly lower stress level.

Watch a movie

Just like reading a book, having a movie night is a great way to practice self-care. Throw on your comfiest clothes, bring out the snacks and watch an old favorite or something new. A movie night is a great opportunity to escape from life’s everyday stresses.

Practice deep breathing or meditation

Even just 5 minutes of clearing your mind and focusing on your breathing can be beneficial. Meditation can help you feel calm, focus and peaceful. No need to feel intimidated by meditation if you’re new to the practice. There are numerous apps and other online resources to help you get started.

Self-care doesn’t have to involve expensive spa treatments or extravagant vacations. All it requires is a focus on caring for yourself in a way that is unique to you. And self-care isn’t just for weekends. Practice self-care regularly, even daily, to reap the benefits of reduced stress.

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Winter is the Perfect Time for Garden Planning

When you live somewhere that receives snow during the winter, it’s easy to get cabin fever and be eager for spring gardening. Fortunately, you can help drive away those winter blues by planning your garden even if there’s snow on the ground or it’s a blizzard outside. Winter garden planning now gives you a head start on this year’s garden and can help you see beyond the snow and cold and into the green and thriving.

Find Inspiration for Your Winter Garden Planning

Flipping through gardening catalogs and checking your favorite gardening websites is a great way to find inspiration for your warm-weather gardening. Visit any indoor gardening shows your area offers or indoor gardens open year-round for additional inspiration. Once you have some interesting ideas that have you seeing green gardens instead of snowy fields, it’s time to focus on pertinent details from last year’s garden.

Evaluating the Garden’s Success

Even experienced gardeners have issues with their vegetables and flowers occasionally. It’s important to take any gardening missteps or miscalculations as a chance to learn and not view them as failures. Think back to last year’s garden and evaluate what worked well and what needed some more help. If some of your bulbs failed to come up, try to figure out why before planting more. If you found yourself with an oversupply of certain vegetables no one ate, re-examine your selections. When your favorite new plant just didn’t thrive as you hoped, consider relocating it to a better environment.

Find Potential Beneath the Snow

Hopefully, you don’t have to go outside in the snow and cold to view your garden plot but if you do, take notes on size and layout of your usual plot. When there’s nothing growing, you have a better picture of the space and structure of your gardens. Try to remember how your various flowers and vegetables grew in their spots and whether they had enough sunlight, water and shade. Make sure you match your plants to the right type of soil and shade locations to avoid the frustration of struggling or dying flowers and vegetables.

Flower Gardens

If colorful flowerbeds represent your garden of choice, think back to last year’s color combinations and consider if they worked together. Consider rearranging the color palette for greater visual appeal and incorporate plants that provide color year-round.  Having flowers that bloom during different times of the year helps the garden stay vibrant through the changing weather and helps avoid changing out perennials halfway through the season.

When you start planning your garden despite the snow in the air and on the ground, you give yourself ample time to get everything right while daydreaming of warmer days. A little winter garden planning is a great to beat those cold season blues!


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