By Clair Norman, Director of Marketing, Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation

September is right around the corner.  It is also Self-Care Awareness Month and a perfect reminder that taking care of ourselves first and foremost is essential.  Self-care is often neglected in our everyday lives. We all tend to put others’ needs before our own and it is crucial to remember, that we cannot fill another’s cup from our own empty vessel. More than that, we know the oxygen mask theory is in full effect in crisis moments. To fasten the mask to our own face and assure the flow of oxygen will prepare us to efficiently and effectively assist others in their profound moment of need.  In our everyday lives consistent self-care practices can support our work productivity, household functionality, family and social relationships and reveal opportunities for authentical clear communication.  Additionally, attention to our physical health can improve because we prioritize prevention practices.  Yet, we tend to view self-care less as essential and more as a luxury.

At the Cameron K. Gallagher (CKG) Foundation, our work focuses on erasing stigma around teen mental health while elevating mental health to match physical health through education and skill building programs. To this end focusing on self-care is a must and we love the month of September for two special reasons:

  1. The annual Dominion Payroll SpeakUp5k presented by Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU
  2. Self-Care Month

CKG SpeakUp 4K Virtual Postcard

Join us for the virtual SpeakUp5k on September 12, 2020 – the biggest celebration of teen mental health.  Click here to register and learn more.

On September 13,  the CKG Foundation launches our first 7-day Self-Care Challenge to promote our core principle of prioritizing mental health. While getting a massage or taking a walk are beautiful examples of taking time for our well-being, self-care can be much more expansive.


Ten Self-care ideas for Self-Care Month

  1. Take a few quiet moments each day and try this mindful breathing practice.
  2. Slow down. Try your morning coffee or tea a whole new way.
  3. Schedule a 15-minute mindful walk outside alone, without your phone.
  4. Connect with your favorite animal; a pet, the birds outside your window, or take a trip to the zoo.
  5. Take a field trip to your local farmer’s market. Select items for creating a healthy and nourishing meal.
  6. Prioritize exercise. Move your body for a minimum of 30 minutes at least 4 times this week.  Luxuriate in relaxing yoga poses. Run or walk briskly to elevate the heart rate.  Engage in a session of your favorite sport.
  7. Make a date to spend time with a friend. We are wired for connection.
  8. Select and write down a personal go-to expression for positive affirmation.
  9. Take a social media sabbatical.
  10. Say ‘no’.

Self-care is essential to mental wellness

In today’s busy and unpredictable world self-care is all too often shoved to the bottom of the priority list.  Truthfully, it belongs at the top.  It is far better to show up as a healthy, focused, well-nourished and well-rested individual than to muddle through our many responsibilities at a fraction of our potential.  Your friends, your family, your peers, your teammates and yes, your baristas will thank you for taking on the self-care challenge.

Here’s to prioritizing self-care for life! Happy September, Happy Life!

The Cameron K. Gallagher (CKG) Foundation is teen mental health organization dedicated to erasing stigma and providing education. The mission is to fulfill Cameron’s dream and legacy by being a positive force that works to cultivate awareness and understanding of teenage depression and anxiety. The group seeks to shepherd whispered conversations about teen mental health out of hiding to the light of hope by providing opportunity for open, supportive conversations. Through educational programs and community events like the SpeakUp5k, the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation is elevating mental health with physical health.

Cameron Gallagher was a 16-year-old who suffered with anxiety and depression. She designed the annual SpeakUp5k race as her expression of hope and to erase stigma associated with mental health. Cameron lost her life due to an undiagnosed heart condition just after she completed the 2014 Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach.