5 Self-Care Tips Guaranteed to Reduce Stress

Making time for self-care is very important. It allows you to unwind, destress, and refocus.

And most important, making time for self-care is vital for maintaining both your emotional and physical health. Sometimes it’s easier said than done. Between work, raising kids, maintaining your home, volunteering, or doing whatever it is you do each week, it’s very easy to forget about taking care of yourself.

Self-care isn’t a reward.

It’s something that needs to be worked into your weekly routine to ensure you stay healthy and happy.

So, today, we thought it would be fun to share 5 simple self-care tips that you can add into your routine every week. Enjoy…

Give Yourself a Night Off

We know you have responsibilities. Kids need to be fed. Pets need to be walked. Houses need to be cleaned. The list goes on and on.

But here’s a little secret. It’s okay to take a night off once a week. In fact, it’s important that you give yourself a break so you don’t go crazy!

Simply ask your partner to take over dinner duty one night a week.

If you don’t have help from a partner, order pizza once a week instead. Everybody wins on pizza night!

Do you have a dog that needs to be exercised? Hire a neighborhood kid to walk your pooch once a week or put your pup in doggy daycare for the day.

Are you tired of cleaning? Ask your kids to take over one of your chores, or rearrange your chore schedule.

There are endless ways you can give yourself one night off each week. All it takes is a little planning and creativity.

Have a Girls’ Night

There’s something therapeutic about a glass of wine, some dessert, and a night out with your best girlfriends.

We know people’s schedules are busy, but we also don’t think it’s unrealistic to set aside time for a girls’ night once a month.

All you need to do is pull out your calendar, call up your girlfriends, and pick a date that works best for everyone.

Then, each month, let one person be in charge of making the plans. This takes the stress off of one person having to coordinate everything.

Here’s are a few ideas for a fun girls’ night activity…

  • Have a movie night
  • Make dinner and dessert
  • Take an art class
  • Host a board game night
  • Go out for a spa day
  • Attend a yoga class
  • Enjoy a hike at a local park

Make Time for Exercise

Making time to exercise is so important…

Not only does weekly exercise keep your body strong and healthy, but it will also keep you feeling confident and looking good.

We’re not saying you have to go crazy and join a high-intensity boot camp training program.

Unless, you’re into that kind of thing…in that case, go for it, girl!

But, a daily walk, taking a yoga class, or going for a swim at your local indoor pool are all great ways to keep your body moving.

Not sure what exercise routine you’d like best? Here are a few fun low-impact workout options to choose from.

Check out our favorite low-impact workout activities. 

Make Your Goals and Dreams a Priority

How often have you had to put your goals or dreams on the back burner because you’ve had a responsibility to put someone else before yourself?

First of all, we applaud your selflessness.

It’s take a special person to be able to put someone else’s wants and needs before your own.

Second, we are here to tell you that now it’s your turn to make your dreams and goals a priority.

This doesn’t mean you have to give up your duties as a spouse, parent, or employee. But, it does mean that you need to give yourself permission to carve out time each week to accomplish the things you want to do.

For instance, if you’ve dreamed of running a marathon, now is the time to plan a few hours each week to go running.

Or perhaps you’ve dreamed of getting a job in a certain profession, but need to go back to school to earn a degree. Today is the day to start saving up for classes and put together a plan for going back to school.

You can make your dreams a reality as long as you start taking steps toward reaching your goals now.

Treat Yourself

Last, but certainly not least, we want you to know that it’s ok to treat yourself every once in a while.

Craving a dessert from your favorite bakery? Stop by after work and reward yourself for a great work day.

Excited that the pumpkin spice latte is now available in coffee shops across the country? You’ve waited all year for it, girl. Go get yourself a drink!

Tired of screaming kids, spending hours doing laundry, and putting in overtime at work? Use a vacation day, and take that 3-day weekend trip with your girlfriends.

I think you get the point.

Every once in a while, do something for YOU. You deserve it!

What is your favorite self-care tip? Share it with us in the comments below!

Inspirational Quotes for a Rainy Day


You may have noticed in our monthly newsletters that we always like to include an inspirational quote.

That’s because we believe words have the power to truly make an impact.

Whether you’re battling health issues, going through relationship struggles, or just plain having a crummy day, we’ve compiled our favorite inspirational quotes to pull you out of a dark mindset.

The Natural Breast Reconstruction team strongly believes in find the positivity in every situation. Our patients inspire us each day, so we want to share our favorite inspirational quotes with our readers. 

“The mind is everything. What you think you become.” ~Buddha

You are in control of your mindset. If you believe you can overcome an obstacle, you will succeed.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” ~Steve Jobs

How true is this? Life is so short, and why do we devote so much time to being what others would like us to be and doing what we think will please others. Life is a journey of finding who exactly we are—sans the opinions of others.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. ”~Maya Angelou

The Golden Rule: treat others as you would like to be treated. With so much temptation to take shortcuts and disregard the feeling of others, it takes a conscious decision to be kind to everyone you come across each day.

“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” ~Thomas Jefferson

A lot of anxiety, stress, and unhappiness that we feel each day is a byproduct of knowingly or unknowingly putting something off. Whatever we’re procrastinating, the healthiest thing to do is to do our best to confront it soon as possible.

“Fall seven times, stand up eight.” ~Japanese proverb

We left our favorite quote for the last. No matter what is knocking you down, just remember you can always get back up.

Follow our Facebook page for more inspiration.

Five Steps to Waiving a Grudge

GrudgesTo err is human, but did you know that to forgive is good for your health? Even though we’ve all been hurt by someone before—friends, peers, parents, or significant others—forgiving those who wronged us can lessen anxiety and stress, reduce the symptoms of depression, lower blood pressure, and boost self-esteem. Make the decision to let go of resentment with these simple steps, and you’re well on your way to both physical and emotional well-being:

Remember it’s a process. Forgiveness is an active engagement, and it takes emotional work to forge through. Make the commitment to yourself to stay with the process—and remind yourself that you deserve relief and comfort. Forgiveness, after all, is not about the other person. It’s about getting you to a better emotional place.

  • Reflect on the facts of the situation. In essence, meditate on what has happened, the role you played, and how the outcome has affected your life and state of mind. Try to recall what happened as objectively as possible.
  • Accept these facts. Know that what’s done is done, and you cannot undo the past. The only remainder of the situation left in your control is how you manage your role in the aftermath. Do not stoop to revenge. Do not obsess over what you should have done before. Put it in a box in your mind and seal the lid.
  • Say it out loud. When you are ready to let go of your hurt and bitterness, look in the mirror and tell your reflection that you forgive the person who offended you. It does not matter if you actually say it to the person so much as yourself. Their role in this circumstance is finished, even if they never apologize or you never confront them. You can only rely on yourself to make you feel better about it.
  • Don’t be the victim. Even if you are, you have to remove yourself from that mindset to end the cycle of hurt. Know that people and circumstances shape the person you become not by what’s done to you, but how you react to them. Relish this control you have over your mind. You have the power to transform your thoughts, and to push the painful and bitter ones away. You have the choice to let your life be defined by your compassion and understanding rather than your hurt.

What has helped you move past a grudge before?


Improving Your Self-Esteem after Mastectomy

breast reconstructionA mastectomy affects you not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. Many women feel like a vital part of them has been taken away, and their self-esteem suffers as a result. If these feelings aren’t resolved, they can lead to depression and other issues. It’s important that if they surface, you recognize them and know you can find help.

Focus on the positive.

While the surgery itself may not be a positive thing, focusing on being optimistic helps your self-esteem. You may decide on breast reconstruction and feel excited about having new breasts, or you may be heartened by the fact that you’re now a breast cancer survivor and can move forward with your life. Often, mastectomy patients find that the smallest things, such as a drive in the mountains or a sunrise, bring them joy.

Allow yourself to grieve.

You’ve had a loss, and it’s likely to provoke the same feelings of grief as losing a loved one. You may feel denial or anger, which is perfectly normal. Allow yourself to experience those feelings instead of minimizing them or holding them inside. If you feel the need for a grief counselor, ask your doctor or religious professional for a referral. A hospice bereavement counselor may also be a good choice.

Talk it out before, during, and after.

Whether you feel relief that the cancer is gone, grief over losing a part of your body, or hesitation in allowing your partner to see you right after your mastectomy, talk it out with someone you trust. Many women confide in their partners first, while others may turn to a family member, fellow breast cancer survivor, or therapist.

Find someone you feel comfortable with, and don’t be afraid to express yourself. The more you bring out in the open, the better you’ll feel.

Consider breast reconstruction as soon as possible.

Many patients look at natural breast reconstruction as their chance to finally have the breasts they’ve always wanted. They become very involved in learning what the surgery entails and what their options are. In fact, reconstruction often improves our patients’ self-esteem because their new breasts signal a new beginning, which is exciting and empowering.

In fact, our happiest patients are those who choose to have reconstruction at the same time as mastectomy, which reduces self-esteem issues.

Treat yourself.

This is the time to celebrate the amazing, unique woman you are. Be kind to yourself, and treat yourself to what you desire as often as you can. Travel, go shopping, and pursue those dreams.

If you’re a survivor, what advice can you give?

5 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

mental healthYour mental health is a vital part of your overall health, yet we often ignore it. When you feel mentally alive, your physical health improves as well. Follow these five tips to improve your mental health and increase your happiness.

1. Address negative beliefs.

Most of us hold negative beliefs, and they have a detrimental effect on our mental and physical health. We choose to hold these beliefs for whatever reason, and some may be valid while others are outdated or simply incorrect. Negative beliefs lead to a negative attitude, which saps your energy and alienates family members, caregivers, and friends.

To change a negative belief, you must identify it. Ask a trusted friend for help with this. Once you have determined which are your negative beliefs, ask yourself three things: where they came from, whether they are true, and whether you still want to hold onto them. Letting go of negative beliefs can be difficult but tremendously freeing, and it must be your decision to move forward without them. No one can force you to release a negative belief.

2. Replace the negative with a positive.

Whenever a negative thought creeps into your mind, focus on the positive of the situation instead. The negative thought will float off, and you’ll be happier, more relaxed, and able to deal with the situation as a whole. This is not to say you don’t need to deal with negative thoughts or situations—sometimes you do—but often negative thoughts are holdovers from those negative beliefs you’re trying to lose.

For example, if you’ve lost 10 pounds and have a negative thought about your ability to continue losing, remind yourself that you’ve already lost 10. Tell yourself how good you feel, and encourage yourself to keep going. If you let a negative thought stay in your mind, you’ll fall into it and have a difficult time climbing out of it. Concentrate on the positive, and don’t dig yourself a negative hole.

3. Reduce stress.

Stress causes not only physical problems, but also mental blocks and issues. Reducing stress is one of the fastest ways to boost your mental health. One quick way to feel better is to take three deep breaths: inhale through your nose, close your eyes and hold it for two seconds, and then exhale through your mouth. Exhale as fully as you can, and feel the stress melt.

Several other ways to decrease stress include exercise, meditation, massage, and aromatherapy. Sometimes walking away and being alone for 5–10 minutes or listening to your favorite music is all you need to reduce anxiety. Experiment to find your best stress relief.

4. Take a break from your life.

A change of scenery is always good for your mental health. Take a week-long vacation at least once a year. You’re doing yourself and your family a disservice if you accrue vacation time and never use it. Find the time to do something for you. Get away and explore new places, or take a week off to work on a hobby you never seem to have time to enjoy. You’ll return refreshed, relaxed, and happier.

5. Exercise your mind as you do your body.

We move through each day doing what we must, but we don’t stimulate our minds as often or as deeply as we should. Your mind craves challenge and creativity, and you feel alive and alert when you give your mind a new job. Take a class, learn a new hobby, go to a symphony or museum, or do the crossword in the newspaper. Try something new and excite your brain, as well as improve your memory.

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and the more you take care of your mind and exercise it, the happier you’ll be. If you do it consistently, the benefits last long into old age.

What’s your favorite way to take care of your mental health?