The first two words to tell yourself or anybody else in your life who may be struggling on their journey of self care.
As we often base our self worth on the opinions from others, our social status and the amount in our bank accounts, taking care of ourselves is as important as breathing!
Taking care of you, putting those words into action could look something like this:
Sunday – a day of restoration & positive action
In my teen years Sundays were either spent hungover or eating junk food in between writing a last minute essay due in Monday morning. There’s nothing worse than a day spent recovering from self inflicted sickness or over indulging in food, as it often sets the tone for the week ahead. As we know Monday’s can be a struggle, being prepared for it helps to ease the discomfort.
On Sundays, take some time to reflect on your week just gone and the weekend you have just had.
1. Did you do anything that made you feel well? This could be something as simple as watching a favourite movie, trying something new to eat, cooking a healthy meal. To feel well doesn’t have to always include meditation or yoga; after all meditation and yoga doesn’t suit everybody.
2. Have you set some intentions for the week ahead? We may enjoy our jobs, school or being a parent at home perhaps but those roles shouldn’t consume us so that we forget we are our own person outside of work.
3. What did you feel thankful for on this day? Sundays are good days to reflect on the week gone by, the positive events that occurred and the even unpleasant experiences that have taught you a lesson.
Wake up earlier
Or go to bed earlier than usual; for those who don’t sleep well (me being one of them) getting up earlier may not sound ideal but if you work long days, have a busy family or start work early in the mornings, then getting up 30 minutes earlier than your normal routine is a good way to give yourself that moment of peace you need to take care of yourself.
Being a mother and working as a teacher, means every minute is devoted to either my own child or someobody else’s child. The moments of peace I get are early in the mornings, this is the time where I get myself together; either through sitting simply in silence, no television, no noise. Sometimes I use a guided meditation video on YouTube, sometimes I write & sometimes I watch a few recorded episodes of Friends!
Waking up earlier extends your day, it gives you some ME time amongst the chaos of the day.
Help to heal
Self-care involves the care you take of others too. Leaving this world better than we found it is truly nourishing for the soul. Finding an interest close to your heart is a sure way of not only finding your path in life but also doing good for others who may need your care.
When you support others it helps to reflect on who you are as a person, what care you have been neglecting in providing to yourself. As we see ourselves everyday, live with ourselves everyday we forget our wonderful qualities, by healing others you will be reminded of why you are here.
Things you could do;
- Do a day of volunteering
- Clear out your old clothes, household items you no longer need – give it away to someone who would appreciate and need it more than you
- Write somebody who you know is struggling a letter full of kind words
- Get involved in humanitarian work
We have the time for the things that matter, sometimes we become so self consumed with our own thoughts we forget the world needs us.
Stop living inside your head!
Easier said than done? Yes, it is. But we as humans spend far too much time living inside our head and not enough time living in the present moment. Meditation isn’t for everyone, some don’t see how sitting silently can help to calm their thoughts. As I’ve said in my last post, meditation isn’t about silencing the mind, it’s about listening to your thoughts, hearing what they are so that you can begin to work on them one by one.
Here are some alternative ways to meditate:
- Use the time you spend in the shower as a moment of rejuvenation. Envision the struggles and suffering being stripped away, ready for the day ahead or after a hard day before sleeping. If you like to use affirmations, simply remind yourself “I am in control of how I feel, tomorrow isn’t promised, today I will live presently & appreciate the simple pleasures”
- Before you get out of bed, lay there. If you like to use guided meditation you can find a thousand on YouTube. Get yourself some earphones and listen to it for 10 minutes before you get out of bed
- Focus on your breathing, if the silence is too much jus focus on your inhalation and exhalation. Listen to the sound of your breath, feel the movement of your hand on your heart. Being aware of your breathing brings you back into the present moment
Our thoughts are always just thoughts, just like our feelings. Let them come when they need to but do not sit there allowing them to consume you. As soon as you feel yourself being chewed up by your mind, do something to alert yourself to stop; stand up if you are sitting down, walk, focus on your breathing, hold on to a special item of Jewellery you may be wearing (bracelet or necklace) you could even tell yourself to stop!
You may look a little crazy talking to yourself but who really cares, this journey is about you and your wellbeing, it’s you and your mind forever, not you and a bunch of strangers.
Its ok to have a day of wallowing. Whatever you feel like, if today you don’t want to do anything, then don’t. Just simply being is a task in itself. So if you want a day, two days or a week of nothingness then please do it if your life allows you to.
Watch a favourite film, eat your favourite food, sleep, have a hot soak, read a book.
Have your down time, but don’t unpack and live there. Life is waiting for you.
Take it easy.