The benefits of self-care have been well documented over the last few years. For us, it's importance runs much deeper than a visit to the hairdresser or having your nails done (although the impact of these activities should not be underestimated!)
In our experience self-care is positive energy that is actively directed towards ourselves, rising from within ourselves and therefore has no attachments or connections to anyone else. It is the ultimate self empowerment tool....the ultimate in Good Company and can greatly enhance other health and wellness actions.
How can we maximise the benefits of self-care?
Here are our top 5 tips to getting the most from a self-care routine:
1. Be present. Shaving legs in the shower whilst compiling a shopping list is not practicing self-care, that's called multitasking....and probably ends with a razor cut or two!
2. Dedicate time. Whether the practice is 10 minutes a day or an hour a week, it helps to create a healthy habit if it's regularly scheduled, so block out time in the diary and make it non negotiable.
3. Make it simple. It doesn't need to be a lavish affair. A simple cup of tea can be incredibly powerful if made and drunk mindfully.
4. Tune in. Feel how the body, mind and spirit respond to the nurturing energy and observe it's source. This will be different for every person and to give our experience of this may be misleading. The point is to tune in to the individual experience, without judgement.
5. Show Gratitude. Never underestimate the power of saying thank you. Keep a daily journal of gratitude and observe how it develops over time. It's also a bit of a game changer to have a record to look through on the days that are not so fabulous (we all have them!). That in itself can shift the clouds from the head.
So, we have mentioned how we get the most out of a self-care routine, but if you are still stuck for ideas of what to do in your 10 minutes a day, here are our top 5 choices:
1. Make a cup of tea. How many times have you made a cup of tea or coffee and not remembered drinking it.....or left it to go cold? It's an ancient ceremony in Asia for a reason....a form of moving meditation. As other thoughts come into the mind, we just gently move them away by coming back to focus on the tea making. Once made, we sit and enjoy it and observe how it feels in the body. This is a lovely practice before everyone else gets up on a morning, whilst there is stillness in the air.
2. Wash fruit before putting away in the fridge. Taking 10 minutes after shopping to wash produce before it goes into the fridge is self-care on more than one level. It's a moving meditation if done as per making tea, i.e. mindfully, but it also means that when snack attacks strike, there is something healthy and nutritious ready and waiting.....the ultimate fast food. (Adding to that positive vibe is the fact that any chemicals used in the fruit's production are washed off and not consumed and added to the liver's cleansing load. We buy organic to reduce this further. All that positive energy from 10 minutes spent washing!!)
3. Make a 'to do' list. Don't underestimate the positive energy created when crossing things of that list! We stick to a daily list, and show gratitude at the end of the day for what was achieved. This can be included as self-care because it can help to focus the mind on activities and tasks that are necessary, therefore helping lessen feelings of a 'scattered mind' or forgetfulness, which can often lead to negative self talk.
4. Get outside. The health and wellness benefits of going for a walk outside are also well documented and even 10 minutes can greatly impact our wellbeing. Forest bathing is one of our favourite self-care activities as the aroma of the trees is simply magnificent. We will explore this further in a future blog, but seriously....give it a try!
5. Sleep. Who doesn't feel fabulous after an early night? It's all about the preparation for us though. The self-care of a bedtime routine can have a phenomenal impact on all aspects of our being.
That's it, 5 ways to maximise self-care and 5 ways we love to practice.....how will you practice you?