Self-Care September

I don’t know about you, but I have really let my self-care routines slide. I haven’t been exercising, meditating or eating right. So, now I just feel “blah.” And that is not living my #BestLife.

Will you join me in rededicating ourselves to self-care? I think we need it now, more than ever. After all, self-care is not selfish. It restores us so we can fulfill our responsibilities and care for others. And self-care is an investment. If we take a little time to take care of ourselves each day, we can hope to reap the dividends of good health, which may prevent us from getting sick during the pandemic and in the future.

Let’s make this month Self-Care September.

Here are some self-care ideas. Some of these days have interactive features; entirely optional of course!

Want to track your progress? Print out this Self Care September Tracker. Color a leaf for each activity you complete in September. You don’t have to do them in order and you can do more than one on day.

Tuesday, September 1 – Print the self-care tracker and commit to taking care of yourself in September. Earn your first leaf!

Wednesday – September 2 – Take the stairs instead of the elevator (when safe to do so).

Thursday, September 3 – Re-commit to pandemic preventative measures recommended by the CDC , the EPA, Harvard Medical School, and other sources.

  • Stay home if you are sick and avoid being around sick people.
  • Increase your time spent outdoors breathing fresh air. For example, if you are reading, studying or talking on the phone, do this outside when possible. However, stay far away from other people, even outdoors.
  • Increase indoor air quality (indoor air pollution can carry viruses):
    • Ventilate your home 15 minutes 0r more, twice a day by opening windows and screen doors (except when outdoor air quality is poor).
    • Put your HVAC system fan on “on” to run continuously.
    • Run your bathroom fan frequently or continuously.
    • Keep the toilet lid closed. This reduces microbes and bacteria from spreading into the air.
    • In apartments, run all faucets (sinks and bathtubs) for a minimum of 30 seconds each day, if not used, to keep the u-bends from becoming dry.
    • Replace your HVAC system air filter with an upgraded quality air filter with the highest efficiency your system can accommodate.
    • Invest in stand-alone True HEPA air purifiers for the main living area and bedrooms of your home and order a generous supply of air filters. At minimum, use an air purifier in the sick room. When used properly, air purifiers can help remove contaminants from indoor air, including viruses.
    • Vacuum carpeting at least once a week, preferably with a vacuum that has a HEPA filter. Keep clutter to a minimum. Wash bedding every two weeks (or every week, if needed) and replace pillows regularly.
    • Reduce or eliminate indoor plants (source of mold and allergens).
    • If you smoke, smoke outdoors.
    • Reduce or stop burning incense and candles indoors, especially paraffin, slow burning or fragranced candles. Wax melts are better than candles but may still contain harmful chemicals. If you want fragrance in your home, use a few drops of essential oil. If you choose to use candles indoors, reduce soot and other contaminants by choosing unscented beeswax candles or soy candles made in the U.S.A. Make sure the wicks do not contain metal and are made of paper or cotton; trim to 1/4 inch or less with scissors. Avoid using jarred candles indoors.
    • Do not use air fragrance sprays (including Febreze) or other air scenting products. Air freshening products do not freshen the air; actually they make indoor air quality worse. These products are a primary source of VOCs and contribute to poor indoor air quality. Use a True HEPA air purifier, instead.
    • Remediate mold problems in the home. Have the HVAC ducts cleaned, if necessary.
    • When you turn the heat on, begin using a humidifier in the bedroom to keep nasal passages from drying out. Use distilled water in humidifiers.
  • Observe social distancing:
    • Home is the safest environment you have. Reduce your time spent indoors in public spaces. Take a list when you go shopping and leave kids at home.
    • Shop at off-peak times and days or get your food and Rx medication delivered whenever possible.
    • Maintain six feet social distance or more from others not in your household.
    • Avoid all in-person gatherings, even outdoor ones, including religious services and family celebrations. Choose online alternatives.
  • Use barriers:
    • Wear a snugly fitting, washable multi layer masks made out of tight-woven 100% cotton that is at least 150 GSM. Wear the mask only one time before washing. Do not wear masks with air valves or made out of knit (stretchy) fabric. Change a face mask for a fresh one whenever it becomes damp with respiration. This may involve a few mask changes each day.
    • Face shields may offer increased protection for eyes, which can be a route for infection. They must extend below the chin to be effective and must be cleaned and disinfected after each use.
  • Reduce your susceptibility to illness:
    • Avoid touching your face, especially your nose, mouth and eyes.
    • Wash your hands after returning home. Use hand sanitizer out of home when you can’t wash your hands.
    • Have children sanitize and wash their hands after using public playground equipment.
    • Sanitize high contact surfaces daily. To sanitize doorknobs, first preclean with soap/cleaner and water. Then spray with Lysol disinfectant spray or other disinfectant for a few seconds. Allow to air dry for 3 minutes.
    • Leave your shoes by the front door.
    • Manage stress by obtaining adequate sleep, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly, engaging in past-times, and engaging socially with people in safe ways.
    • Taking Vitamin C supplements (90 mg to 2500 mg maximum) and Vitamin D supplements (600 mg to 1000 mg) boosts your immune system, reducing your susceptibility to illness.
    • Get a flu shot.

Friday, September 4 – Apples are in season. Try a kind you have never tried before. Have you tried Jazz, Honeycrisp, Cortland, Empire or Jonagold?

Saturday, September 5 – Plan some fun breaks in routine – put some silly celebrations on your calendar.

Check back next week for more September self-care ideas.

About Mary Fletcher Jones

Mary Fletcher Jones is a mom, teacher, and blogger. Her blogs include Autumn in Virginia, Cool Yule Blog and You Can't Make This Stuff Up, among others. She is also the creator of "Living Well With Autism," an online resource for caregivers of children, teens, and adults with autism and related special needs.
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