We're always looking for ways to care for ourselves. Sometimes it feels like life gets in the way, we're too busy, have others to care for or don't have the energy. Self-care is all about little steps. Here are my favourite ways to practice self-care:
1) Start the day right...
With 5 minutes for yourself. Take 10 deep breaths, stretch your body to wake up your muscles and get your circulation moving. Write down any dreams you remember, make a plan for the day ahead or set an intention for how you want to feel that day. Take this time for yourself before everyday tasks, work, social media or looking after others begins. Mornings can be hectic and it’s not always easy to find time especially if you have young children or work long or irregular hours. But setting your alarm just 5 minutes earlier and taking these steps can have a massively positive effect on your mood for the rest of the day. Try it!
Our bodies need water. Being hydrated keeps your mind alive, energy up and things like headaches and muscle tension at bay. Drink cold water, hot water, tea,
herbal tea, juice, or make smoothies. Drinking regularly also helps to keep appetite at bay allowing you to make healthier choices when it comes to mealtimes. If you’re a busy person, taking a reusable bottle of water with you when you’re on the go is a great way to make sure you’re never left feeling thirsty or dehydrated. So, take a sip, breath, relax and carry on with your day!
3) Appreciate and celebrate your successes
No matter how small, whatever you have achieved, be grateful to yourself and celebrate your success. Maybe you messaged a friend you’ve not seen in a while or reassured your child about a bad dream. It could be that you made a delicious meal for yourself or family, or maybe you completed a project you’ve been working on – or just took the first step towards it. Our lives are filled with tiny positives and when we take the time to acknowledge and appreciate them, we care for ourselves in the same way we would for those we love. Why not write down your successes at the end of each day and save them in a jar. Whenever you’re feeling low you can look through them and remember how amazing you are!
4) Practice positive self-talk
We all have that internal voice talking to us throughout the day. Sometimes our inner-
voice can dwell on the negatives. Negative self-talk is the voice that tells us we’re not good enough, berates us for getting something wrong, or criticises our decisions or actions. Turn negative self-talk into self-compassion. In each situation where you notice negative self-talk, imagine what you’d say to a loved one and now say it to yourself. Replace negatives with positives. Instead of “I didn’t drink enough water today – I failed my target of 8 glasses” try “I nourished my body with 2 glasses of water”. Replace” I got stressed out and gave myself a headache” with “I managed a stressful situation and gave myself compassion when I most needed it”. It takes time to replace negative thoughts but the more we’re able to turn them around to something positive, the more natural it becomes.
5) Forgive yourself
Didn’t manage to do any of these things today? Or yesterday? It’s okay. You’re human. Life is busy and balance is hard. Forgive yourself. Don’t let guilt about not achieving what you intended stop you from continuing. So you didn’t manage to get 5 minutes to yourself this morning – don’t worry. Recognise that you’d like to have it tomorrow and be compassionate about your limitations. Everyone has them and sometimes it’s just not possible to achieve everything. Forgive. Love. Move on and try again. Tell yourself it’s okay. Say out loud to yourself “It’s okay. I love you and I won’t let this stop me from being compassionate towards myself”.