The way to sustain self-care in our lives is often to start with something small and when that feels integrated try introducing one new thing at a time. Imagine you were building your own tool-kit of things that you can do for yourself. And remember self-care doesn't only need to happen when we feel tired, unwell or burnt out. It can happen every day to maintain well-being and to help us thrive in all aspects of life. Here are some tips for self-care to help you along your way:
Where possible take some time to disconnect from technology and social media. Perhaps wait an hour (or whatever is possible) in the morning before you ‘switch on’, disconnect for an hour before you go to bed and/or build in a little period throughout the day to disconnect online so you can connect more with yourself and your environment.
Whether it is at home or work, create a bit of space for yourself. You might write some thoughts down in a journal, read a book or take a walk in nature. This can have a replenishing impact on our energy and can also help us to refocus and prioritise when we return to work and other tasks.
If you find yourself stressed or overwhelmed at times during the day bring your awareness to your breath to connect with the present moment. Simply follow your breath in and out of your body (for as long as feels good). Every time you drift into thought return to your breath.
Connect with your body
Take time during the day to connect with your body. With eyes open or closed, notice the sensations around your body. This tends to make us feel more embodied rather than being completely in our thoughts. The more we connect with the experience of being in our body the more we can learn to support it whether it is through stretching, movement, rest or replenishing our body with food and water.
If you find you are sitting for long periods, set a reminder to move every now and then. It might be some stretching (chair yoga), gentle movement, a small walk or something more active. This helps to keep the body agile and mobile and can reduce the accumulation of tension.
Take time to do nothing
Take a break for a few minutes without the intention of doing anything in particular. You might sit for a few minutes, walk around without a particular direction or simply come away from what you are doing. This is often when new discoveries and insights are made.
Rest and sleep are essential to help us function efficiently. If you have difficulty sleeping (and many people do), you might find creating a sleep routine and various mindfulness techniques helpful. If you don’t feel that you’re getting enough sleep, try to build in some periods of rest throughout the day. Take it easy on yourself.
Take some time to be still. Sit or lie down and invite yourself to slow down and breathe more fully. This switches us from ‘doing mode’ to ‘being mode’. This is not always easy but like anything usually the more we practice, the more it becomes familiar and the more we benefit.
Try new things
Mixing up routines can be energising as well as giving us a different perspective on ourselves and the world around us. You might try a different route to work, a new activity, or travelling somewhere new. Do things that you enjoy and are FUN.
Eat healthy and mindfully
Often we eat our meals while multitasking, which can reduce the impact of nourishing meal. Take time to enjoy and digest your meals. Make sure you eat enough to sustain your energy throughout the day and try to integrate a balanced diet.
Do a mini-declutter
Recycle a few things from your home that you don’t need/ use regularly. De-cluttering our physical space can also help to declutter our mind.
Take time to connect with things/ people that you are grateful for in your life. This is a great practise particularly at the beginning of the day as it can start us off with a positive reference.
Take a moment at the end of the day to acknowledge things that have gone well or aspects of the day you have enjoyed. Perhaps jot it down and collect it for future reference.
It’s ok to put yourself first from time to time
Do things just because they make you happy. Nurture your soul. Sometimes we need to prioritise ourselves to give more to other aspects of our lives.
Ask for help
We all need help from time to time. Part of self-care is asking for support, delegating and letting other people help us. Sometimes it makes us feel vulnerable but ultimately it can be very strengthening.
By Clive Fogelman
Clive is hosting a workshop for our Wellbeing Festival Online on Friday 22nd May 10:45 - 12:00 about Yoga for Self Care - you can book here; https://bit.ly/WellbeingFestivalOnline
For more information on Clive visit www.helloyoga.co.uk and see his videos on Movement for Modern Life - https://movementformodernlife.com/yoga-teacher/clivefogelman