Perhaps you know the feeling too. It's 8pm on a Sunday evening, and the bath that you had scheduled in (postponed from last weekend) feels like too much effort...again. Or maybe it wasn't a bath, it was time to read the unopened book on your bedside table that you got for Christmas. Or practice your knitting skills. Or go to the yin yoga class your friends are all raving about. Self Care
The point is, another day over and you have yet to do something for yourself.
In fact, let me ask you this: When was the last time you put yourself first, even for just a moment? Or how about the last time you chose to care for yourself?
I work with clients who find themselves asking, is this it? Is this all there is? They know that they can feel happier and better in themselves but don't know how. And what that looks like exactly varies from person to person, but an essential part of the therapy process is addressing how they look after or prioritise themselves. Do they rush around meeting everyone else's needs before addressing their own wellbeing. Without prioritising yourself as number one, you’ll wind up exhausted, fighting against an ever growing to-do list, never getting to do the things that light you up! It's no wonder you start to think "is this it? I thought I'd be happier".
So what if we were to flip the to-do list and put yourself at the top?
I'm sure your well rehearsed at blocking out the air-stewardess as she announces: "please fit your own mask before assisting others". But it really is true; this message can make a significant difference in not only the way you feel, but your productivity and motivation. You can’t effectively look after the people you love most without first looking after yourself.
And sure it takes commitment, but flipping the to-do list and making yourself a priority is the best thing you can do for your happiness and wellbeing, as well as your friends and families.
Ready to begin, but need some help? Here are eight simple tips to help you fit self-care into your busy day:
1. Say Yes
Is there something that you've been wanting to do for a while but feel you can't because of life commitments, family or work. Well say YES. Sign up to the dance classes. Go for drinks with your friends. Whatever it is, say yes to the things that light you up and have a little trust that the rest will sort itself out.
2. Say No
Give yourself permission to say no to people and to the things you don't want to do. Many of us fear saying no. We're afraid of the possible consequences, of letting someone down or looking boring. But once you do it a few times, you'll realise it's not so bad at all and wonder why it's taken you so long. (For specific tools and advice contact me now!)
3. Block of Time in Your Calendar
One of the biggest obstacles to committing to self care is the amount of things we have to get through in our day. Whether this is making breakfast, taking the kids to school, getting to work, answering emails, tidying the house, doing the laundry, cooking dinner - when is self care meant to fit in? And this will be different for everyone. Personally I find the morning works best for me, before I can be interrupted by emails and to-do lists. But I know for a lot of people, the evening is a great time to switch of and put a mental close on the day. Make it non-negotiable, uninterrupted you time.
4. Let Go of One Thing on Your List
Every day, find one thing from your to-do list that you can cross off. Is it essential? Does it really need to be on your list? Can you get it done today and tick it off forever. My sister has a great saying which I've taken on: if you can do it in five minutes, do it now!
5. Listen to Your Body
There isn't a one method fits all approach to self care (read this brilliant piece by Sarah Starr to find out more) , nor is there just one routine that will work for you. This will change and fluctuate depending on your mood, your hormones and as you age. When it is my time of the month, all I can think of is chocolate, chocolate, chocolate, so I treat myself to really good chocolate bars or puddings because I know that I will feel better for it. If it's been particularly stressful, your self care may look different to the week before. Our bodies are infinitely wise, so listen and trust. And feel comfortable to experiment!
The benefits of exercise on our wellbeing are vast as the ocean. You don't need to run 10k a day, it might be some gentle stretching in the morning, yoga or swimming. Or maybe set up a tennis group that plays once a week. Again there is no right way to exercise, listen to your body and have fun with it.
Of course I couldn't have a list without meditation! From regulating blood pressure to helping you create a truly fulfilling life, meditation can transform your world for better. There are so many ways to meditate, from mindful walking, group classes, workshops and apps, whatever approach you choose, you can be certain to reap some positive reward.
8. Ask for Help
If you're feeling overwhelmed with work, chores our family responsibilities, don't be afraid to ask for help. You'll be surprised to find how willing people are to support you and your wellbeing. They know you deserve a break and it's about time you learnt that too!
So what are you waiting for! Do something today that is just for YOU 🙂
Love as always,
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