P.I.E.S is an acronym I learned my freshmen year of college in a group meeting prior to a service trip. It is a way to “check in” how feelings….PHYSICAL, INTELLECTUAL, EMOTIONAL, SPIRITUAL.
In our meetings, we began by going around and saying how we felt in each domain. I thought I would start a list (for myself and anyone else who can use a reminder every once in awhile, which, let’s face it, is all our us inevitably at some point) of ways to care for yourself with PIES so as to live to the fullest abilities.
- Get enough sleep
This is so crucial! Life falls apart in every other aspect when we are sleep-deprived
2. Stay hydrated!
Drink plenty of water! Flush those stress hormones right out!
3. Eat well- eat enough, eat a variety, get fruits, veggies, carbs and proteins!
Take a walk after dinner, go for a run, play a sport, whatever gets you moving!
5. Take vitamins and supplements- Vitamin C and D are VITAL for happiness and well-being. Melatonin can help you sleep if your body isn’t making enough. Fish oils are good for mood, sleep, skin, nails and just about everything else TBH 😉
6. Visit the doctor regularly-especially crucial for those with chronic conditions or family history but important for everyone too! Regular tune ups prevent bigger issues down the line 🙂
That goes for eyes, GP, gyno, dentist, and any specialists that care for you! These visits can help you identify if something is wrong, like if you are vitamin deficient, have a chronic condition, and to prevent issues from getting too escalated so you can treat it early or prevent issues from developing in the first place!
7. Follow doctor’s orders and take all necessary medications
It isn’t enough to just go, you have to take the advice and maybe that means adapting your lifestyle a bit. If you need medication or daily supplements, don’t be ashamed or feel too proud to take meds for depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, whatever it is!
8. Take care of your skin
You will look good and feel good when your skin is healthy! Moisturize, exfoliate, use sunscreen, wash your face nightly (especially if you used products, lotions, make up, etc during the day)
9. Wear the right shoes
You have no idea how quickly the wrong wardrobe can ruin a night and your mood! Whether for running, walking while out on the town, at the beach, etc, make sure you have the right footwear. Blisters can be a bitch!
10. Stretch- before and after exercise is a must, but daily stretching can boost your mood and keep your body healthy too!
After a long day, sometimes a hot shower is a great cure!
12. Get a massage- sore muscles are common with chronic stress, and sometimes you don’t know how much tension your back, shoulders, or neck hold until you work the knots out
13. Wash your hands
Keep things sanitary, keep prevent yourself from getting sick, and honestly, feeling grimy takes a toll emotionally too
14. Take time off when you are sick- don’t go to work or school if you are sick. Not only are you making other people susceptible, it will take a lot longer to feel 100% better if you keep running on empty
15. Treat injuries immediately
Ice your knees after a run, rest if you sprain an ankle, etc. Better to play it safe now and avoid serious injury that needs surgery or more intensive treatment later.
16. Put exercise into your daily routine
Aside from planned exercise mentioned above, like going to the gym or out for a run, incorporate exercise into your daily life. Take the stairs instead of the escalator. Park far from the store front or ditch the car altogether if possible. Bike to work. Walk on your lunch break.
17. Regular self-checks
Again, prevention is key. Monthly self breast exams can find lumps before they become large enough to need surgery. Males should do testicular screenings. There is now even screenings for colon cancer you can do at home. Look over your skin: notice any new moles, marks, etc.
18. Take care of your spine
Back pain….well….it’s a real pain! Flip your mattress monthly, get adjustments by a chiropractor if needed, keep a good posture
19. Take breaks from alcohol
Most of us drink. It can be social, or just nice after a long day. But it can also wrack havoc on your liver, other organs and waistline. Taking small breaks every once in awhile can allow your body to re-calibrate so to speak. Our bodies can often heal themselves when given the chance!
20. Take care of your mental health too
Whatever that means for you (ideas coming below too!). Mental health can manifest as headaches, nausea, sore muscles, chest pain, or any number of other physical symptoms
21. Wear safety gear: helmets, seat belts, knee pads
22. Take environmental precautions: pollution, noise, bright lights at night can affect sleep, breathing, and your overall health. Keep windows closed during peak pollen and pollution hours. Be sure to investigate any local bars, businesses, transportation before moving into a new place.
23. Indulge: prohibiting yourself from certain foods leads to “cheat days” and sugar binges galore! While you shouldn’t subsist on dessert, have that cookies after dinner; eat that chocolate; add sugar to your tea once in awhile
Yogurt, green tea, fiber are great for your digestion and can help you feel less bloated, ill, and keep you “regular” 😉
25. Break those habits: whether it is smoking, overeating, addiction, they all affect your whole self, but physically especially. Getting your body in order bleeds into the rest of the self.
26. Read books! Get those brain muscles and juices flowing; whether it is fiction, mystery, romance, or nonfic.
27. Play brain games: download an app on your phone, do the newspaper sudoku or word searches. Keep your mind sharp!
28. Adult field trips!
Don’t stop exploring just because the structure of elementary school is gone! Go to museums, farms, factories. Learn about new places
What better way to learn about new places, people, and cultures then by going there yourself! Immerse yourself in a new language, culture, and environment
30. Listen to podcasts
31. Watch documentaries
32. Stay up to date on the news: newspaper, magazines, television, radio. Stay current on world events.
33. Learn a new language
34. Find scholarly articles about things that interest you! The learning doesn’t (or shouldn’t) stop after school. Even if you are still in school, read outside of required
35. Take a class: it could be on anything! Accounting, sales, psychology, painting, writing, interior design
36. Tutor children: often teaching others is the best way to learn!
37. Pick up a new useful hobby: knitting, crochet, trivia…..
38. Watch tutorials and how-to videos then try them out! Bake the cake, try the new fishtail hair, put together the table
39. Do mental math: it is soo easy to rely on our phones and calculators, but it’s remarkable how quickly you lose abilities when you don’t use them
40. Spend some time doing some mindless work too: trash tv, doodling with no real purpose….our minds need a break too!
41. Use paper maps and written directions occasionally
Just like with the calculator-at-our-fingertips, technology also means GPS in every car, on tablets, phones, etc. Keep your brain working sometimes too
42. Chew gum: studies have shown that chewing the same type of gum during studying and a test can help increase scores. Same rule applies for a job presentation, standardized testing, job training
43. Commit yourself to learning a new fact every day.
This is seriously so easy and even fun! Google “fun facts” “fun national holidays” (like national ice cream day or national take your pants on a walk day) or “today in history” You can learn so many little things…may help at a cocktail party too, who knows?!
44. Use a variety of vocabulary.
Just like the fact of the day, dictionary.com has a word of the day
45. Eat salmon: it’s great for the ol’ noggin
Forcing yourself to commit things to memory trains your brain to recall things quickly . Memorize the presidents, state capitals, countries in Africa….whatever floats yo boat!
47. Listen to classical music
Just like how music helps babies’ brains develop, classical music exercises the adult brain too
48. Take the “ink blot test”
Google it and use your brain to find meaning and images in all sorts of shapes
49. Write it down
Writing helps you remember things and keeps you organized. Make lists of things you need to do; things to get at the store; places you want to visit one day; even a bucket list!
50. Read poetry
The rhymes, vocabulary, artistic talent all sharpen your mind
51. See a therapist
52. Cry it out
53. Take58. days off
55. Take a hot shower or bubble bath
56. Self-soothe: paint your nails, apply lotion, give yourself a lil massage
58. Watch a funny movie
59. Draw/doodle. Sometimes thoughts and feelings come out best artistically and not through words
60. Reach out to loved ones, near, far, recently made friends, and those you haven’t spoken to in awhile
61. Make time for leisure and hobbies
It is all too easy to get caught up in work, school, raising a family, daily stresses. Make sure you have time to just chill and enjoy some activities
62. Walk away from toxic or stagnant relationships
If it does not serve you, let it go…EVEN if it had served you in the past
63. Take occasional social media breaks
64. Take alcohol and caffeine breaks
These substances really impact your emotions. So plan a little fast from one or both every month or two
65. Take care of your physical health
66. Use 5 senses to ground
5 things you can see, 4 you can feel, 3 you can hear, 2 you can smell and 1 you can taste
67. Play with clay, dough, putty, stress ball to de-stress
68. Use essential oils or other scented fragrances: lavender, eucalyptus, frankincense are good to start with for mental health
69. Take a vacation
See the world, take some time off work
70. Spend time in nature
Whether it is a trip to the beach, or just a walk to the park, getting outside in some fresh air, sunshine, and connecting with plants and animals an have some amazing benefits
Re-arranging furniture, getting some new wall decor, or reorganizing a closet can bring a breath or fresh air and some new perspective, allowing you to feel rejuvenated in your own home or office
72. Curl up with a warm beverage and a nice blanket
73. Take deep breaths
74. Take a few minutes at the end of the day to take inventory of what you learned, did, and felt throughout that day.
75. Stretch it out…muscles can hold a lot of tension. Release that tension and feel more relaxed.
76. Read holy texts
Whether it is the Bible, Torah, Qu’ran or another book of Scripture, delve into it. It can be amazing how the words seem to speak right to your heart when you need it most
- Go to services
Go to mass, church, temple, meditation, whatever it is for you!
- Find community
Bible study, Torah talk, youth group, Theology on Tap, prayer or meditation group. There are even online forums and prayer groups now and that can be a God-send when you are crazy busy (like me…oops!)
- Learn from scholars and history
There is more to read and learn than just scripture. There are saints, prophets, scholars, historians. Follow them too. Read, gain knowledge, research their lives, learn from them.
Goes without saying doesn’t it? However you do it, do it.
Even if it isn’t exactly part of your religion or spirituality, meditate on the holy texts, common prayers, or just be silent and allow your higher power to speak to you
- Go on retreats
- Make a pilgrimage
Could be to another country or to a local holy place
- Learn about other religions and spiritualities
- Attend services from another religion
- Church/temple/mosque/etc “shop”
Go around to different churches, find one that works for you: music you like, people you click with, groups you want to join. You can go to youth group at one place and weekly services at another even!
- Sing and dance to praise and worship
- Watch tv/movies/music/books with holy/spiritual themes
- Talk to a spiritual advisor
TBH I have not done this yet BUUUTTTTTT I really really want to! And I’ve heard great things! Having a mentor to guide you is invaluable, especially with spiritual life
- Speak about your spiritual life
This is can tough because spirituality is so intimate, and also because it is a big point of contention, right? But it can be so humbling and such a special occasion of learning to talk to others, to witness to your faith, even debating. I learned so much about my own faith life by talking to people of other faiths and of no faith at all
- Bring spirituality into your environment
Hang art, display statues or altars, wear jewelry or religious materials on your body. This is another way to simply witness and to have your faith with you always
- Find spiritual podcasts/radio stations/ etc
- Celebrate holidays and holy-days
Both the exciting, celebratory ones and the solemn, fasting days. Grow in humility, community, joy
- Ask for forgiveness and Forgive others
So tough. So so so so tough! Forgiveness is the hardest thing for me but it’s always a work in progress and is so important to lighten your heart
- Find new ways to grow in virtues….patience, humility, joy, forgiveness, kindness
96. Get involved at your place of worship
Can you be a part of the service? Is there a ministry or group you want to start? Are you good with kids? Do you have a gift others would benefit from like music, reading, speaking, art?
- Seek pastoral counseling
I am extremely biased, BUT everyone needs counseling at some point in their lives to deal with various changes and stressors. I have found the best counseling I have received has been with people who are open to discussing my faith and the importance of it to me and its implications in my mental health
98. Attend a healing service/ritual
Even if you are not afflicted yourself, take a family member or friend or just go to witness others’ healing and thanks
99. Learn about the life and death ceremonies of other cultures and faiths.
Ceremonies of initiation and death practices teach you so much about other people
100. Use tangible materials to aid in your spiritual life
Be it prayer beads, chakra rocks, prayer shawl, Rosary, water, drums: bring the spiritual into the tangible. It makes it more concrete and real and serves as a reminder to engage with your spiritual life