Self-Care Tips & Resources

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation…” -Audre Lord 

Self-Care, which is the action of taking care of yourself to achieve better physical and emotional health, can help you cope with moments of stress and uncertainty.

Self-care is different for everyone. Here are a few suggestions and self-care resources at BU to help you prioritize your wellbeing.

What it Really Means to Take Care of Yourself.  Psychology Today

Ask yourself how are you feeling?

Stress and uncertainty can create many emotions. Research shows that acknowledging and labeling emotions, also referred to as affect labeling, can help reduce stress and anxiety. Labeling an emotion helps shut off the brain’s alarm bells that are signaling anxiety. Read more about affect labeling here:

The Importance of Naming Your Emotions    NY Times

How Noticing Emotions at Work can Build Trust  Greater Good Science Center

Sleep Hygiene

Healthy sleep habits can help with getting a good night’s sleep. Sleep impacts our mood, memory, and energy. Lack of sleep or disrupted sleep can result in reduced productivity. Get your sleep back on track by trying the following tips.

  • Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends.
  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.
  • Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smart phones, from the bedroom.
  • Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.

For more helpful information about sleep visit BU’s Center for Anxiety Related Disorders video for tips on sleep, self-compassion, and thinking flexibly.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of purposefully bringing one’s awareness into the present moment. Mindfulness enhances wellbeing, strengthens focus and improves physical health. The following are examples of ways to incorporate mindfulness into daily living.

  1. Journaling: Write an intention when you wake in the morning.
  2. Slow down and pay attention to your breath. Notice how it feels to inhale and exhale.
  3. Take 60 seconds to visualize three things you are grateful for.
  4. Scan your body from the top of your head down to your toes and check in on how you are feeling physically today.

From FSAO – Self-Compassion Resources

To learn more about breath practices and other meditation tools for managing stress download the Headspace App. It is free to all BU Faculty and Staff.  Join here.  Also see a FSAO guided meditation and Mindfulness at BMC.

Get Moving

Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever.  Exercise reduces the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine and stimulates the production of endorphins, the body’s natural mood booster.

Register for employee wellness exercise offerings through Employee Wellness  and check out Fit Rec’s Move From Anywhere video library.  Or try out a virtual Tai Chi or yoga class from Marsh Chapel. Even short bits of exercise are useful such as this 7-minute total body work out.

Find Your Flow

In the field of positive psychology, the term flow state is likened to being in the zone.  It is the result of a person being fully absorbed in what they’re doing with a feeling of immense focus. It involves intense focus, creative engagement, and the intentional loss of awareness of time. It can occur when you do something you really enjoy. It is commonly associated with the creative arts such as painting, drawing, or writing. However, it can also occur while engaging in a sport, such as skiing, tennis, soccer, dancing, or running. Research suggests that there is an increase in activity of dopamine (a brain chemical involved in pleasure and motivation) when people are experiencing flow. It is most important to find an activity that you enjoy and schedule a time each day to flow.  It will be beneficial to your mood and concentration.

Psychology Today Flow: The Process of Engagement and How to Achieve Flow

Establish small goals

Self-care routines take time to develop. It can help to start small and think big.  Try simple habits such as getting up earlier, exercising each morning before you start your day, listening to inspiring podcasts in your car or meeting a colleague for a lunchtime walk.  When creating new behavioral habits, support and accountability can help. Share your goals. Write them down and track them using these free worksheets.

6 Powerful Ways to Build New Habits.  How strengthening your habits can strengthen your brain

Additional Information and Resources

Wellness Videos  FSAO

Nutrition  BU Employee Wellness

Healthy Eating  HelpGuide