SELF-CARE: SIMPLE WAYS TO NURTURE YOURSELF
Self-care is something that we so often hear about, but so seldom make the time for. We know that it is something that we should put into practice. Even when urged on by the famous hashtag #selfcaresunday, we often never actually get round to it. That’s a nice idea, I should try that, we think. But it stays as something that we will get round to at a future date, like so much of what we hope for. The duties of our everyday life take over. We put the needs of others before our own needs and we forget to take care of our self. Our intentions may be noble and kind, but this behaviour is not good for our physical or emotional health. If we put ourselves in second place, we send out a message that second place is all that we deserve. When, in reality, our self is all that we have. We should not put ourselves and our needs on the back burner all the time. We will spend every day for the rest of our life with our self, so it makes sense to nurture that relationship. Every human being deserves a great deal. But we cannot rely on people and things that are external to us to give us what we deserve. We have to learn to love our self, and to take good care of ourselves with compassion and kindness.
Ways to Practice Self-Care
Have a digital detox and meditate
Self-care is self-love. To love yourself, you have to know yourself. A lot of the time, we don’t make much time to be on our own or to learn about who we are and what we value. We fill our life with distractions. Our smart phone with its 24/7 connection to the internet can suck us in like a black hole. Hours disappear as we surf the web. The nature of mobile phones and social media can be addictive. Every swipe and like releases dopamine, hitting the reward centre of our brains. It can become compulsive. So put your phone down, find some time to be by yourself and get comfortable with being alone. Meditation is one of the best things you can do to centre yourself. So unplug your devices, focus on your breathing and meditate. From personal experience, meditation clears your mind like nothing else. It gives you calm, focus and clarity, and leaves a feeling of peace that goes with you throughout your day.
Take a moment to think about what lights you up and brings you joy
Take out a piece of paper and a pen and make a list of nice things that you can do for yourself and that you enjoy doing. Fill yourself up with what fuels you. Live your best life, and watch as you inspire those around you to lead their best life too. The things on your list don’t have to be epic. You don’t need to book yourself into an expensive and exotic yoga retreat, nice as that may be. Instead, you can list little ways to be good to yourself. Such as treating yourself to your favourite herbal tea or hot chocolate. Lighting a candle and cosying up under a blanket with a good book. Or having a hot bath with magnesium-rich Epsom salts that flood your body with relaxation. Like a ripple effect, being kind to yourself creates waves of kindness. These waves will radiate out from you and touch the world around you.
Consider what causes you pain and address it through creativity or talking therapies
Do you have issues in your life that cause you stress or pain? We all do. Do you take time to think through it and work on it, or do you mask how you feel? What do you do to mask your pain? Some people turn to alcohol, for example. But this is a plaster that you stick over a wound. You need to confront your issues head-on and constructively. Sometimes journaling, writing a letter or talking to someone can help. This may not be the most glamorous self-care suggestion, but even so, it is a valid one. Sometimes we may need to talk. Issues dealt with will strengthen and empower us. Being proactive and dealing with issues frees us of any heaviness that we may carry around with us. Being creative can be a tool of catharsis too. If we write or paint, we can turn any darkness in our life into light. It can help us to deal better with things that challenge us. If we learn and create and grow from our hurts, rather than get stuck in them, this is a positive and brave act of self-care.
Channel your inner child and create a vision board
This is a lovely thing to do on a rainy afternoon. Put the kettle on and enjoy listening to some uplifting music. Flick through magazines and cut out pictures and quotes that inspire you. Cutting and sticking is like child’s play. The act of playing frees up inhibitions. Loosening the binds of what we believe being an adult must look like is good for us. The innocence and freedom of childhood is liberating, bold and imaginative. Harnessing a little bit of our inner big kid is good for us. Permit yourself to relax, have fun and focus your mind on what you want to create. Create a life vision board. Your life is like a garden. So think about what seeds you want to plant and water them daily with affirmations and effort. Taking time to visualise what you want from life can crystallise your thoughts. Doing this can help you to go out and actively create the life that you want.
We may believe that we don’t have the time to take care of ourselves, but we must make the time. I encourage you to take out your diary now. See when you have those precious slots of free time in your week and schedule in some time just for you. You may believe that you don’t deserve it, that self-care is for divas, or that that you are being selfish. But it is not selfish to make some time for you. In taking care of yourself first, you will fill yourself up and have so much more to give. Your cup will overflow. And when you operate from overflow, your positivity cannot fail to spill out and cover those around you too.
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