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5 Self-Care Tips for Olim (and really everyone)

The need for self-care is an idea that has grown steadily in the past few years. Taking a break and caring for one’s needs, whether emotional, physical, or spiritual is important in all areas of life, including work, home, when caring for children, or anyone else. Especially in the era of Covid-19, health and wellness experts recommend taking time to care for ourselves. And like any adjustment, making Aliyah is an important time to develop a good routine and remember to stop and smell the roses, or the kalaniot, as the case may be. Throughout the ups and downs, the victories and challenges, find a way to recharge your batteries and refresh your soul, as you adjust to your new home.

            1. Make Yourself at Home

            Many olim feel that Israel is their home long before they arrive, but there may be times when that feeling is overcome by others. When you're yelled at by the bus driver (or anyone, really), when you need to ask someone to repeat themselves repeatedly, or when you get home with the wrong product from the grocery store, again, you may feel like a stranger in a strange land.  It’s times like these when it’s important to have that one place you feel at home. Whether a temporary rental or where you plan to stay, make your home feel like home as soon as possible. Set out the pictures, keepsakes, or even scents that make you feel at home. When you need that pick me up, come home and take the break you need from the world.

            One way you can always feel at home is by signing up with TCS Telecom for all your communication needs. Created by Anglos for Anglos, TCS has it all, from cellphones to internet, to TV, all under one roof. From the very first call to an English-speaking customer service representative to monthly bills in English, working with TCS is like a touch of home.

            2. Practice Self Care Daily

            Between the bureaucracy, the bills, the new work, and school routines, something usually gets lost in the shuffle. You may be staying up late translating notes from school, or skipping breakfast trying to figure out your commute. You may be so worn out at the end of the day, you barely get the time to speak with friends or read something you actually understand and enjoy. These are all pretty typical experiences in daily life no matter where one lives, but when you’re tackling a new language, culture, neighborhoods, or schools it’s even harder to keep these things in our schedule. Start small and find something you can add to your schedule every day, it might be a café latte, or the Israeli version, cafe hafuch. Try to pick a time every day or week to make a quick call, even for five minutes, to a friend locally or abroad. Just dialing the number can feel like an opportunity to connect, even if you don’t reach the other person right away. Or add a quick walk or other quick exercise routines to your schedule to take advantage of a host of benefits for body and mind.

            3. Take a Break and Find Answers

            It’s hard to take time for a break when there is so much to do. So many new issues and concerns. How do you convince the Vaad Bayit, the Israeli version of building management, to deal with the lack of sufficient lighting in common areas? How can you inspire your neighbors to keep these areas clean? How do you explain to your neighbor how to play music so you don’t hear it all day? These are all questions that may require some thought, diplomacy, and often someone to translate, but thinking about it all day is usually not going to help. Taking a break, on the other hand, working on a hobby, taking a walk, or even a shower, can often free up your thoughts and allow a solution to come to mind. If you still can’t find an answer, find a friend to join on the walk and talk out the issue. Whether or not you tackle the problem, you’ll be happier and more relaxed the next time you encounter it, and that can only help!

            4. Build Up Your Cheering Section

            It may be your oldest friend, a following on Facebook, or a nice new neighbor at home or work, but make sure you connect with those who help you stay positive and inspired. Turn to them in good times, and challenging ones, whether you need a heart to heart or just a quick pick me up. Sometimes, especially when you’re new in town, and your loved ones are many time zones away, those helpers aren’t always available when you need them. If that’s the case it’s time to build the cheerleader that’s always available, the one inside you. Save inspirational quotes in a journal or post them where you can see them when you get home, better yet post them on the door to inspire everyone. Choose a special quote, idea, or saying that inspires you and say it daily, and whenever you need an extra dose of support. Post pictures of special places, or people, real or imaginary, that remind you of the good in the world and in you, for when you need it.

            5. Prepare Your Care

            With so much going on it may take a little planning to make the time you need for yourself. You can start by making a list of the things you would enjoy, that would give you peace of mind, or a dose of inspiration. That may include something we’ve mentioned here, or something entirely different. This is all about your needs, so be creative. Try making a schedule daily, weekly or monthly, whatever works to enjoy the activities you’ve listed. Next, think about how to make up for the times when you just can’t keep up with the plan. When you miss your morning exercise class, you don’t necessarily have to miss a day of exercise. Plan to take a walk during lunch or after dinner. That way you’ll have an easy plan ready and waiting to get what you need. A good backup plan will help provide an alternative when you can’t stick to the usual routine and motivate you to keep up with something you can do.

If you’re still trying to decide what activities would work for you, write a list of the things you want to do, or want to learn to do. Maybe you want to start a new hobby or join a cooking class. Jot down some notes on how to make that happen, such as picking up supplies or checking for classes available locally or online. When you have some free time, move forward on your goals and you’ll be on your way to a new activity to add fun to your day.

            We hope you’ve found some helpful tips and ideas to boost your self-care plan and make it a part of life in your new home. What are some of your favorite ways to practice self-care? What have you brought with you on Aliyah and what have you discovered here?

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