Self-care is a term that is often bandied about but what does it mean in practical terms. How can we really include self-care in our increasingly busy lifestyles? Is it even possible to do on a regular basis?
Self-care literally means a person’s ability to take care of the activities of daily living, such as feeding or dressing one’s self. However from a holistic viewpoint, self-care refers to how much we do for ourselves that nourishes our physical, mental and spiritual health.
If done on a regular basis, our lives are more enriched, purposeful and abundant.
Here are a few of my suggestions. Remember, if self care becomes routine just like a morning shower or breakfast, it becomes more achievable!
Make meditation or ‘time out’ a part of your day. I spend time every morning doing meditation. This may be 15 to 20 minutes if I have time, or as little as 5 minutes if I’m in a rush. This quiet time means that I start my day relaxed and clear in my mind. It is also the time when I get the best insights or ideas. Your brain needs some quiet time so you can think clearly and make the right decisions. When our brains are busy with a million things going on at once, we often can’t make the best decisions and new ideas are hard to come by.
Science has proven that regular mediation is great for our health as it improves concentration, reduces stress, increases self awareness, slows ageing and benefits our cardiovascular and immune systems. So have some quiet time just for you.
Exercise done on a regular basis is another important part of self-care. It doesn’t mean going to the gym if that’s not your thing, but just any form of movement that you enjoy. It could be yoga or dancing or a regular walk in nature. You may say that you are too busy and don’t have time but a simple walk at lunchtime will still be beneficial.
Being kind to yourself and show yourself abundance. Do something for yourself on a regular basis that makes you feel good. I have started buying myself flowers each week and getting them gift-wrapped. I love having fresh flowers in the house and having them gift-wrapped makes them feel more abundant. They don’t need to be expensive, it’s the simple gesture that counts. Another idea is to have a coffee in a cafe as opposed to one at home. Cafe-made coffee usually tastes so much better.
Practise self love. This can be really hard as few of us actively tell ourselves that we are loved. Louise Hay has a practise that she calls ‘Mirror work”. Each day when you look in the mirror, you tell yourself that you love YOU. The first time I tried this, I actually laughed as it felt so silly and uncomfortable. Now however, it feels great. Each morning before I get in the shower, I tell myself, out loud, that I love myself, I love and respect myself and I love and accept all aspects of myself. This can be quite daunting when you are looking at all your wrinkles and curves but it means that you love yourself for who and all that you are.
Other ways to show self-care is to look at what you put into your body. Eat healthily and buy healthy and life giving foods, cook nutritious meals and drink lots of water. Spend time with friends and do things you enjoy. Sharing a story or laughter is such an important part of our mental health.
Make yourself a priority because if you don’t no-one else will! We are all busy but how we treat ourselves often reflects how we want to be treated by others. Be an example to your children as they learn the most from you, especially when they are young.
Self care doesn’t need to be hard or take up too much time. Make it a part of every day and it will soon become the norm. Remember that you are a unique person. No one has your gifts or talents and you have something to offer to the world. So make sure that you are there abundantly for yourself so that you can then be there abundantly for others.
Ps. Let me know if you have any questions or comments.
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References: www.goodtherapy.org, www.eocinstitute.org.
Disclaimer: Please note that all information in this article is the opinion of the author and obtained through her research and knowledge and the above references. It is not meant to replace medical advice and a medical opinion should always be obtained for any health condition.