Driven by the desire to find a place of solace and to build positive, reciprocal relationships between generations, Stefanie Siegel founded Bailey's Cafe in 2002. Her work with young people and school reform have been integral in shaping her vision for the organization. Stefanie taught English in the New York City Public School System from 1987 to 2012. From 1991 to 2012, she taught at Paul Robeson High School in Bedford Stuyvesant/Crown Heights Brooklyn, where she also held the positions of Coordinator of Student Affairs/Senior Advisor and was a member of Robeson Unite, the student led group that organized to save the school from being phased out. Since leaving the New York City Department of Education, Stefanie devotes her time to expanding the reach and impact of Bailey's Cafe. Stefanie has degrees from Reed College, the University of Chicago, and the City University of New York.
Bailey’s Café, is a Brooklyn-based non profit, connecting generations through arts and service to make a better world. Our name is from a novel by Gloria Naylor, where the Café serves people who find themselves at the edge of the world and seek a place to heal and ground themselves. At our core, we believe that healthy, vibrant communities have spaces where people can go to find their personal relevance and sense of purpose, nurture their individual growth, and make connections with other people, including across generations. We create physical and virtual spaces in partnership with local leaders,artists, and inter-generational volunteers, through a focus on community building, service, and the arts.
It's a New Year and we all have our resolutions or maybe not. If you are more on the side of not, I encourage you to reconsider. Especially when it comes to self-care. We live in a fast-paced society. We spend a lot of time on social media. If you’re a parent, then you are giving a lot to your family too. So why take the time for self-care? Because your health depends on it. Not only your mental but your physical. And dare I say, spiritual!
So what is self-care?
Self-care is the act of caring for the self.
This is a pretty simple explanation. This might seem simple but in our current times connecting with others let alone ourselves in a meaningful way, can be daunting. So here at Bubbly Moon Naturals, I have decided to focus on 12 Self-Care Tips for the New Year and will focus on each one in more depth each 3rd day of the calendar month via our newsletter.
Tip #1: Breathe fresh air in an open space with little to no distractions.
Yes, Breathing in open space helps us to connect to our senses and the natural beauty of our world. This can be a perfect time to self-reflect, meditate or write a journal entry. Some people have an appreciation journal or just write one minute of reflection in their journals. You can even keep a digital one or audio version. Either way taking the time to breathe fresh air each day, away from your work space helps to restore your body's balance and recharge you for the rest of the work day.
Tip #2: Stretch and Self-Massage.
There has been much research on why and how stretching keeps muscle tissue healthy and why it is so beneficial to joint health. Additionally, many cultures practice morning stretching exercises to improve mobility, regulate stress levels and to ensure a better night sleep. We recommend learning more about the benefits of Tai Chi which has evolved to a simpler way of gentle active stretches. Taking the time to self-massage joints and muscles has shown to increase body mobility and to decrease pain. There are many classes available in local gyms such as the YMCA that offer gentle stretch and self-massage technique classes. I find that they are often the most popular among all age groups. Mainly because they offer a time that is not only based on stretching but a time to get to know one's body in by releasing built up tension and stress from sitting and standing too long.
Tip #3: Hydrate
Drink fresh water at least four 8-ounce glasses per day every three hours during your working day. You may want to include fresh fruit or mint to give your water an extra kick and to make you water more palatable. You may want to add an alarm on your phone to remind you to drink water too.
Tip #4: Read something positive everyday.
I can not stress the benefits of encouraging words. Just think about how have you felt when someone cheered you on or offered words of hope in trying times? Think of words of encouragement as your own personal mentor throughout your day to keep you centered and focused on the bigger picture.
Tip #5: Listen.
It's so easy to get distracted. There are many things vying for our attention. We have our own thoughts and then people speaking to us daily. In a recent conversation with friends I noticed that instead of letting each other finish their thoughts that one friend jumped into speak over the other, and then I repeated this pattern and all of us started doing it until one friend interjected and said, "What did you want to say?" She created a moment for listening. Listening to others can eliminate misunderstandings and break the habit of assuming. This is connected to self-care because taking care of ourselves is directly connected to how we listen.
Tip #6: Laugh.
Laughing has been shown to release endorphins and to be healing. It has been practiced even in yoga. Yes, there is laughing yoga! I even practiced it and was apprehensive at first but saw the benefits of it after just one time. You may want to just watch some cute babies or animals or attend a comedy show. But get that laughter in so you can release your natural endorphins.
Tip #7: Declutter.
Declutter your space. Whether it's a closet, wardrobe, garage or your office space. Review what you use most often and what you don't. We did some research and have been watching the following minimalists experts and admire their work; Marie Kondo, Dacy Gillespie and Blane Charles. They may have something to offer you on this crucial self-care journey.
Tip #8: Get a physical.
Schedule an annual physical exam. Yes, this can be challenging for many. Especially those who don't like to visit their doctors but getting an annual physical is key to understanding what we need to address health wise. You can always get a 2nd opinion if you aren't satisfied with the first. And if you admire the tenets of herbalism and homeopathic remedies visit a physician who has training in both Eastern & Western Medicine.
Tip #9: Socialize.
Spend time with family and friends in the amount of time that is comfortable for you. Maybe organize a learning experience such as a Soap Making Experience or Game Night or even an escape room adventure. Socializing with others helps to destress and learn more and creates lasting bonds between family and friends. Socializing in a meaningful way has been shown to decrease depression.
Tip #10: Volunteer.
Volunteering isn't just for the holidays. Volunteer time to a local cause that you are passionate about. You can volunteer at a local library, school, community garden or organize an event with fellow neighbors to give to a local shelter. There are a myriad of ways to volunteer. You'd be surprised how volunteering is linked to self-wellness.
Tip #11: Educate yourself.
Did you always want to learn to do something but never took the time to do it? With the myriad of online courses and continuing education opportunities there are so many opportunities to learn something new that can help you develop more confidence and provide you with a way to create meaning for yourself and is directly linked to feeling accomplished and contributing to the life you want to live.
Tip #12: Appreciate your life.
This seems simple but for some it may not be practiced as often as needed. Whether it is waking up in the morning and looking in the mirror to thank yourself or it is taking the time to write down how far you come or what kind things you have done for yourself and others. Taking the time to appreciate our experiences, achievements, lessons learned and who we are becoming are so important to self-care.
What are your thoughts on these 12 Self-Care Tips for the New Year? Send Marshalla an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts or resources that you incorporate into your own self-care for a chance to be featured and win a self-care product from our Bubbly Moon Naturals' line.
Bubbly Moon Naturals is happy to celebrate International Women's day with you.
To honor Women's History we will be featuring local women in our upcoming March newsletter.