In a 2013 study by Top 10 Colleges Online, 76 percent of workers said that money and work were leading causes of stress in their lives. Without responding to daily stress, people face the chance of developing increased symptoms of anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns. Self-care is one way to escape our daily stressors and take care of ourselves in a variety of ways. In her article, “An Introduction to Self-Care,” Sana Johnson-Quijada writes, “I explain that self-care is living consistently with the belief that they are a friend to ‘Me,’ or in other words, to themselves.” Just as people often strive to treat others with care and concern, so too should we always remember to be “friends to me” and treat ourselves with the same approach. Maintaining consistent self-care strategies helps us to keep balance in our lives and prevent burnout.
When you are a working adult living in the city, time is not always your friend. Day-to-day schedules are often fast-paced, non-stop, and limited in flexibility. While working and living in the city leaves many feeling like there is “never any time,” Chicago is a place where – no matter how busy your day may be – opportunities for finding ways to take care of yourself are nearly endless. The following are a list of possible self-care strategies available to all city-dwellers and even to those who may live outside city limits.
Physical Self-Care in Chicago
Taking care of your physical self will not only help you feel better, but will also build up your immune system especially with cold and flu season right around the corner. The following are just a few of the many healthy options that Chicago has to offer:
Healthy Food on Demand
Sometimes splurging on delivery when there’s not enough time to cook can lead to poor food choices and lots of unhealthy temptations. In Chicago, fulfill your desire for fast, delicious food by opting for healthy delivery options. My personal favorite is a company called Radish. Radish’s chefs prepare healthy fresh meals daily using local and organic ingredients and your food is delivered to you in 20 mins or less!
The best part about living in the city is that there are endless options when it comes to finding a Fitness Center or group fitness class to meet your scheduling and financial needs. Check out just a few of the options the city has to offer!
- ·Time Out magazine’s Top Gyms in Chicago
- Chicago Tribune/Red Eye’s list of top group fitness classes offered throughout the city including locations, descriptions and prices
Kayak down the Chicago River or along the shores of Lake Michigan
Working out does not have to take place in a gym or at a class; you can explore the city as you work out by venturing out on a single or double occupancy kayak! Kayak Chicago and Wateriders are two of the most popular companies offering tours, rentals, and a variety of activities. This kind of trip allows you to get in a great workout while seeing the city from an alternate perspective. These companies in particular offer Groupons on a consistent basis as well if you are looking to get in a fun workout and also save some money!
Rent a Divvy Bike
Divvy bikes can be found at locations all over the city and offer the opportunity to get in some physical self-care at any time of day. Renting a bike for the ride to work on a nice fall day can pump up endorphins to get your day going!
Emotional Self-Care in Chicago
If you feel you have found balance in your physical self-care routine, you may find that you need to step up your emotional self-care strategies as well. While being physically fit is a healthy approach to improving your mood, there are other strategies to include in order to be the best friend to “Me” that you can be!
The best part about living in Chicago is that no matter where you turn there is always a new place to explore or relax. Take time out to relax in a nearby park or lay out on one of the many beaches off Lake Michigan. A Movie in the Park or walk along the lake are two of many ways in which you can escape your daily stressors and improve your mood and mental health. And when you need an escape from the city, you can always count on the comforts of your living room or venture to a nearby town in the Midwest to take a break from city life! When all else fails and you’re looking for some quick tips to taking care of “Me,” University at Buffalo in New York offers some fantastic “Tips for Vitality and Serenity.”
One of the best ways to escape the hustle and bustle of the city is to set aside time to reflect on life and the goals you have for yourself. There are many options throughout the city for individual, group, family and couples therapy to help you develop and maintain the goals you have for yourself. Therapy offers a setting for you to feel comfortable and relaxed while working on improving “me!” Clarity Clinic is one of the largest and most recognized companies in Chicago offering psychiatric and therapeutic services. Visit our website at www.claritychi.com.
Kristen Okrzesik, MSW
Johnson-Quijada, S. (2012, March 16). An Introduction to Self-Care. Retrieved from https://participatorymedicine.org/journal/perspective/narratives/2012/03/16/an-introduction-to-self-care/
Self-Care Exercises and Activities. (2016, July 12). Retrieved from http://socialwork.buffalo.edu/resources/self-care-starter-kit/self-care-assessments-exercises/exercises-and-activities.html
Time Management Statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.keyorganization.com/time-management-statistics.php#multitasking