It is important to know what types of activities restore and rejuvenate you. People are unique, and everyone relaxes in different ways. For some, relaxation is found through a PT session, for others a night out with friends or an evening spent with a good book and hot tea might be restorative. Once you know what would be helpful to you, you can figure out if those activities can fit into your schedule, even in a modified way. For example if your ultimate self-care is a day spent hiking with the family dog, ask yourself, “Is that a feasible option?” For most of us, a day or even a few hours of hiking won’t fit into our schedule, so we just give up. But self-care is important, so let’s keep trying.
A helpful solution-finding tool we like to use in FOCUS is the SNAP model of problem-solving. SNAP is an easy way to clearly define a problem and then generate a variety of possible solutions. Let's work through SNAP using the hiking example from above.
State the problem: I don’t get to exercise outside often enough.
The first step in SNAP is State the problem. The key is to state the problem simply and clearly. While it can feel good to vent about problems, it doesn’t always help to solve the problem.
The second step is to Name the goal. Simplify the goal into one clear sentence, as this will guide you in creating possible solutions.
Name the goal: Find an outdoor activity that relaxes me.
The third step in this process is to list All the possible solutions. There are no wrong answers here. Just list all the ideas you can possibly think of.
All possible solutions:
- Fly to Yellowstone and hike for several days.
- Drive two hours to my local mountain and hike.
- Take a long walk at my local park.
- Invite a friend for a walk at the local park.
- Take a walk by myself in my neighborhood.
Once you have a nice long list of at least 5 options you can move on to the final step.
Step four: Pick the best option and try it out.
In this step, you will go through your options and consider the strengths and weaknesses of each one. Once you whittle it down to two or three, think about any barriers that might get in the way. Choose the solution with the fewest or easiest barriers to overcome.
Pick the best solution: Take a walk in my neighborhood.
Set a date and plan ahead so that you can enjoy your chosen activity without distraction. Set up a playdate with a neighbor or pre-register your kids at a local drop-in program so that you will have no distractions.This will give you enough time for a long walk. Also make sure to gather any supplies you might need ahead of time, so there is nothing to slow you down on the day of your planned relaxation activity.
Finally, however you manage to sneak some self-care into your week or month, have fun, enjoy, and treat yourself well.