Self-care – taking some time for you is essential, not a luxury
Self-care can be many of the things seen in the pictures for this post. It is also important to remember self-care is very personal. It could include going out for a walk in nature, mediating, having some of your favourite healthy food to help nourish your body, it could include hitting the gym, reading a book, sitting and watching your favourite movie, playing with your dog, having alone time and maybe doing a few of those tasks you’ve been meaning to do to declutter your living space or mind. It’s not selfish to do this. Recently I had a self-care day where I started with a meditation, some cardio and then yoga. I then went on to teach a couple of 121 sessions, which bring me a lot of joy. I continued the day by doing some reading cuddled up with Gravy (my dog) to help inspire me and increase my learning of further projects.
Self-care is not something to do when you are mentally and physically struggling, past your limits or really stressed. Yes, it is a good idea to stop and do something to take care of you in these moments. But self-care is a practice to bring into your life, ideally daily. It doesn’t have to be anything big, or anything that takes a lot of time, it can be 5 minutes extra lying in bed before you get up, a few more minutes in the bath or shower, taking a slightly longer route walking home. These little practices help to slow you down physically and mentally. They help to give your mind a little rest. This can help with perspective and looking at our worries/stresses from another perspective. We worry partly because our brains have a negativity bias. This is not to say we don’t have real worries and concerns, but which worries really matter and which do we feel we could let go of a little sooner. One practice I read about, was setting a time to worry, i.e. Thursday at 11am for 30 minutes. When you recognise you are worrying, acknowledge it and leave it for your set time. How many worries do you think you would still remember by the time it got to your half hour at 11am on Thursday? This practice I have shared with students and clients that I support. It is a powerful practice which is quite simple, yet still powerful. Hence why I love it!
Yoga can be an amazing practice to help become aware of our thoughts, by slowing down, linking the breath to the movement and being able to observe ourselves mind and body from a calmer perspective.
When it comes to self-care, I have found some of the best things that work for me include doing something. Exercise and yoga are great, but also craft and creative outlets. Such as knitting and baking. I have got into baking and fallen in love with it since I went vegan a couple of years ago now. These are mindful activities for me, when I am baking I enjoying following a recipe, measuring out ingredients, mixing, baking, watching what happens, I usually have my music on and end up dancing round the kitchen, making a mess! This is when I know I am present, grounded and taking care of me. I also like the eating part and sharing treats with friends, family, students, neighbours, work colleagues etc, because a bit of cake can be just what someone needs to feel taken care of. Win, win! Why don’t you try a new activity or hobby that you never made time for before?
Self-care days look different for everyone. Just factor in some regular time and take care of you, Namaste