7 SELF CARE PRACTICES
When things get a little tough and life feels challenging, there are certain things we can do to help us cope with life's stresses with a little more ease.
Now, we all know the usual things we ‘should’ be doing to look after ourselves -
eating healthily, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly -
but here I want to share a few simple practices that you might not have thought of.
Ones that go beyond advising you to do yoga, drink enough water and avoid those extra two glasses of wine.
I believe these practices are vital in helping to create a healthy and balanced mind and body, and in turn helping you to live better!
It is worth mentioning that I’m not a doctor, and as Buddha said
“believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reasons and your own common sense”.
So, with that in mind, here they are...
WRITE IT DOWN
AND GET IT OUT!
Journaling is one of my favourite ways to process. And it’s the cheapest form of therapy! We are multifaceted beings with many emotions. And as a society we have been taught that it's generally not socially acceptable to express some of the more difficult and complicated emotions we may experience.
Journaling is a fantastic way to honour all sides of ourselves and our experience of life.
Giving those less accepted sides a bit of time and space to express, and to be seen and heard by the most important person in your life, you! Until you give those sides of yourself the attention they need, any unresolved emotions will stay bubbling under the surface and ultimately can begin to affect your health and wellbeing as well as your relationships! Journaling helps us to get to know ourselves on a deeper level. Being reflective cultivates a deeper sense of awareness and can be a fantastic self-development tool.
Keep an open mind and a sense of acceptance, compassion and allowance with whatever comes up for you when journaling. See if you can let go of judgement about what’s right and wrong, let yourself write freely and just get it out. Write like no one is watching and no one ever
going to read it!
Questions that may be helpful when journaling, to guide yourself to enquire a little deeper could be…
How am I really feeling about this situation and why?
Do these emotions feel familiar and when have I felt like this before?
What's the other side to this story?
Am I being empathetic to myself and others?
How can I better accept and look after the parts of myself that may be wounded?
If a friend was feeling this way, what advice would I give them?
How can I move forward in a more authentic, compassionate and empowering way?
CULTIVATE AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
You're human! Give yourself the time and space you need to feel down or have a little moan from time to time. Life is a journey of ebbs and flows. But, one of the greatest tools I use when I’m feeling down and I’m ready to refocus my energy is to practice gratitude. Practicing gratitude is an amazing way to help you to refocus on what’s truly important and what you’re truly grateful for, doing this will help to change your perspective and even make you feel happier, more abundant and more content.
Whether you’re thinking about it on your way into work, or writing it down, see if you can list 5 or even 10 things you’re really grateful for, big or small. Think about what those things bring to your life and what your life would be like without them! Energy flows where attention goes so try focusing on what’s good. See if you can really cultivate a feeling of gratitude inside of yourself when you do this. This is not to say you should dismiss any hard or difficult feelings and just sweep it all under the rug, simply when we focus on what we do have instead of what we don’t have life will begin to feel a lot more peachy.
The more you practice gratitude, the more you are rewiring your brain to an attitude of gratitude. And I truly believe gratitude helps to bring happiness and a beautiful sense of abundance, contentment and peace.
SPEND TIME FOCUSING ON YOUR DREAMS!
How are you ever going to achieve your goals and dreams if you don’t know what they are! Now I’ve been called a dreamer, and I’m so glad that I am! When I dream I like to go "ideal ideal". What’s your best possible situation and most idyllic version of your life and then scale back to realistic from there. They’re your dreams after all, why would you start off limiting yourself?
Once you’re clear about what you want, start imagining your life as if it's already like that, How do you feel? How do you act? And then where can you begin to take actions in your life towards your goals and dreams? Better to have died trying than not to have tried at all I always think. Remember, you can also fail at what you don’t want to do so better to go for what you do want. When focusing on your dreams it's good to have an awareness of what’s really important to you, what your values are, and to know what you may need to give up or cultivate to achieve your dreams.
HAVE BETTER BOUNDARIES!
Delete people! I mean, not literally. But stop focusing your time and energy on people and on things that don’t support you in becoming your best self. It's a waste of your precious life force that could be spent on other more important things. If you have limited time and energy (which we do!) how are you going to spend that?
Of course, we all have responsibilities, and sometimes we all have to do things we don't really want to do. Sometimes we may even find ourselves in a situation that requires us to do a lot of things we don't really want to do to change. But I'm talking about continuously making choices that take you away from what you really want to do, by filling your time with lots of things that aren't in alignment with who you are and how you want to live your life. To get what you want, you have to get good at saying no to all the things you don't want. When we fill up our life doing things we don't really want to do, or hang out with people that we don't really want to hang out with (or who potentially don't really want to hang out with us) we are taking away the space and possibility for better more aligned things to come in. Learn how to say no to things that aren't helping you, including relationships. Sometimes we need to reevaluate whats important to us.
Limit your time on social media, go through your feed and delete and unfollow all the things that are not helping you. Follow people online and in real life that inspire you, that build you up, that make you feel good and help to support you in your life and on your journey. And the same goes for friends and lovers. Be careful - in a good way - with who and what you spend your time and energy on, it will affect you. This is about developing healthy boundaries for yourself and in your relationships and getting good at saying no when you're offered things that don't work for you
LET YOURSELF PROPERLY REST
There is a time to be productive, and there is a time to properly rest! We are a proactive, be more, do more, work harder, be productive, achieve, achieve, achieve society. And although there is value in that at times, it can also be really draining! A lot of people experience burnout, anxiety, depression and adrenal fatigue from overdoing and not giving themselves enough time to rest, relax and recover. Can you be kind to yourself and really tune into what you need, physically, mentally and emotionally and work towards finding that important balance of doing and not doing. Can you allow yourself to just be at times, maybe that’s doing something you love if you’re an active relaxer, maybe its doing nothing. Take the pressure off yourself and give yourself permission to take proper rest and recovery time. The only person that can give you this is yourself!
DO WHAT YOU LOVE!
Give yourself some you time filling up your own cup. What do you love to do and what makes you feel good? Maybe you take yourself on a little date or spend time on your passions. If you don’t know what you like, learn or try something new that you think you might like. When we do something we love not only does it bring us a sense of joy, it also brings us a deeper sense of connection, purpose, inspiration and even more energy. It's helpful to let go of a need to achieve anything when we’re taking this time for ourselves, don’t make it feel like work or something you have to do, can you just do what you love for the sake of doing and experiencing it as it is. Sometimes you need to put yourself first, you can’t give from an empty cup.
Now we can't control everything. Sometimes we find ourselves in less than ideal situations. Not everything is always a product of our own doing. We are part of a bigger picture and other people and situations can of course affect us. That being said, after a certain age you are responsible for you! And no one else can get you to where you want to go or make you who you want to be.
I believe that as multifaceted beings we all have many different sides to ourselves, and we can play into many different energies, roles or archetypes. We can all be the nurturing care giver type, the lover, the explorer type or the hero (along with others), and we can also all play the victim. We cant always control what life throws at us or where life takes us, but we can control how we deal with those situations and how we choose to act and react.
Coming to terms with our victim side can be triggering for many, including myself! But putting the blame outside of ourselves for things that we have a part to play in keeps us small, it keeps us disempowered. When we consciously take responsibility for ourselves and where we are at in our lives, it can be extremely empowering and transformative! The beauty of accepting responsibility is that you are also accepting the responsibility to change yourself, your life and your circumstances. Where in your life are you not taking full responsibility where you know deep down you could? Where are you potentially being reactive and blaming, instead of being proactive and taking responsibility?
As always be kind to yourself, those shadow sides are valid and can teach us things too.
When we learn to connect inwards and become more aware of what energy or archetype we are playing into, cultivating that awareness means we can begin to make more conscious and empowering choices with what energies we want to cultivate and ultimately how we show up in our lives.