We live in busy times. Even if we might not feel it, life can be stressful! It’s not just work or family that can heap the pressure on our shoulders either, as studies have found other elements such as social media and cultural expectations can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety and low moods too. Perhaps its the constant striving to keep up? The constant feeling that we should be doing something, if not more than we are already doing? Perhaps it’s the fact that we have forgotten how to sit down and relax? When we’re stressed, and on the go at 100 miles an hour all day every day, its so easy to dismiss ideas of self care and decide to plow on instead. But if you don’t care for you,who is going to do it? If you can’t place importance upon yourself, how can you expect anyone else to do the same? Self care is NOT selfish. It is about realising you are human too. You cannot pour from an empty cup, and so you need to nurture and cherish yourself before you can even think about taking on everything else life is throwing your way. For better meant health and better physical health, self care is all about you. And you are the most important person in the world. Here are three little ways to practise self care today.
The usual mantra of the busy and stressed is that they just do not have time for self care. Whether to them self care is taking a walk, going for a massage or pounding it out at the gym. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap not having enough time, or- more correctly- not prioritising ourselves. So make a schedule. Write down all the things that you want to do this week that will make you happy, and then slot them into your usual schedule. So it might mean a visit to the gym after work when you least fancy it, but you know that once you’ve been you’ll feel amazing- so do it! Remember that self care is all about what makes you happy, what you like to do and what calms your soul. So if it’s something as simple as giving your favourite person a hug, then you can slot that into your day more than once if you want to (and that person is willing, of course!). The point is that if you really want to do this, you will make the time and it will soon become part of your daily routine.
Recognise the difference between recreational self care and transformative self care
So yes, there are two types of self care. Recreational self care is probably the first, and most easy, place to to start. And there is nothing wrong with it either- as we keep saying, if it makes you happy then do it. So going to the gym, having a spa day or taking a bubble bath is known as recreational self care. Usually because you need to spend money on doing it. Transformative self care is thought to be powerful enough to provide you with feelings of calm, self love and happiness without you spending a penny, but it isn’t as easy to practise for many.
Transformative self care practises include: investing in silence- spending a dedicated amount of time each day in pure silence, to reflect and to unplug from the world around you; investing in true friendships- having the courage to sever ties with those who do not benefit you, or you them, and forging stronger relationships with others with whom you have an affinity; investing in your body- ditching all the foods and drinks that do not make your heart sing; investing in the strength to ask for help- often the hardest of all, but accepting where you are struggling and seeking out assistance from those who can lift the load.
Transformative self care is not easy for many, but once you are ready you will be glad you took the plunge.
Learn to love your body
This is not easy. As we grow up in a world of seemingly perfect models, actors and celebrities, we are constantly told we are not good enough, pretty enough or slim enough… it’s all rubbish! Before you can truly practise self care and really appreciate yourself, you need to learn to love your body for what it is. It is AMAZING! And beautiful, and strong and capable. And YOU are the one who can nourish and care for it every single day. Why wouldn’t you want to do that?
Small daily rituals can help you to nurture and grow this love. Taking time for daily stretches when you wake up. Ten minutes of meditation before the buzz of the day begins. Choosing the right foods that are going to fill your body with lightness and love. All of these things are going to help, but until you look into the mirror you are never going to truly know how beautiful you are. So do it.
Take some time every single day to really look in the mirror and mentally list all of the things that you like. Ignore the things you don’t like. Or, at least view them in terms of things that can you can change, if you must. Really look at yourself. And as you do, tell yourself ‘I love you.’ Yes, you might feel silly. You don’t need to say it out loud! Just give yourself some acknowledgment and love. Every day.