Self-care is overlooked so many times as we navigate busy lives; rushing to work and rushing home, continually watching the clock. We never seem to have enough hours in the day to do everything we have to do, so self-care slides all the way down the list, if it makes the list at all.
These are few of the things I feel are essential to add to any self-care routine.
Please don’t use this list to go into self-judgement or guilt about things you haven’t been doing. The beauty of life is that tomorrow is a brand new day. Add something to your day that you have not done before.
Be gentle with yourself
We are not machines. We are not able to perform to our highest ability 100% of the time. It’s OK to have days when you are not firing on all cylinders. Those are the days when it’s more important than ever to remind yourself about self-care. There will be times when you just have to call it a day and stop. Some days keeping your family and/or yourself safe, fed and watered is all you can do and that’s OK.
Please stop putting yourself down and start lifting yourself up. You are not perfect, but none of us are. You are work in progress. Stop thinking about all the things you don’t like about yourself and start focusing on everything you do like about yourself. Think for a minute would you use those words when talking to your best friend? Would you be so unkind and blunt? And let me say this in case you’ve forgotten – you are enough!
Check in with yourself
Many times we just keep on going until the slightest thing triggers us and we explode and regret our outbursts immediately. All emotions are valid. Life is not just love and light; at times it’s anger and frustration, sadness and despair. I will say this again: all emotions are valid. Reacting or overreacting due to those emotions – that is what isn’t good. When a negative emotion comes over you, acknowledge it and then do your best to find ways to channel it appropriately. Check in with yourself often to see if there are things you need to change or if you need support with anything.
Ask for help
If/when life is overwhelming, reach out and ask for help. Many of us think that being strong means to keep going even when there is no more steam left. Being strong is knowing when to ask for help and support.
We all look in the mirror to make sure we look presentable as we step out into the world every day. How many of us check how/where we are energetically as we step into the world? It’s difficult to function when we are all over the place and it’s so easy to get impacted and become overwhelmed.
Spend time with your tribe
This quote by Aristotle (I used to read things like that before baby brain, haha) often comes into my awareness.
“Man is by nature a social animal; an individual who is unsocial naturally and not accidentally is either beneath our notice or more than human. Society is something that precedes the individual. Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god. ”|Aristotle
We are all interconnected in ways that we are only beginning to understand. Look for your tribe but be careful not to overdo it, as when it comes to people to have in your life quality is definitely more important than quantity. Spend time with your family and friends.
We live in a technological era, so let’s use that technology when face-to-face, “in person” time (which is preferable) is not possible. Schedule some time to catch up with your family and friends.
Keep your body active
Find time to keep your body moving but not by overworking. Go for a walk, join a fitness class, start dancing. Put that song you love on and dance like nobody is watching. Do some gardening. Fuel your body with yummy, nutritious food as much as you can.
Keep your mind active
You know that saying “use it or lose it”? Keep your mind active, but not by worrying about everyone and everything or things that are out of your control. Keep you mind engaged by reading a book, learning something new (new language, new hobby, how to meditate etc.) or writing.
Quiet time/”you time”
Finding time when you can stop and breath is challenging sometimes with all the juggling of work and family life. I hear you. That’s why it is so important to prioritise some quiet time for yourself. Do something that makes sense to you during this quiet time. Breathing techniques, meditation, prayer, journalling, sitting in the garden watching leaves moving in the wind, having a nice bubble bath, etc. You know what I mean.
If you only have 5 minutes use those minutes. Don’t wait until you have the 30 minutes you think you need. You might not have enough time for a bubble bath but you have enough time to do some breathing and ground yourself.
Whether you are baking yummy cookies, painting or even trying a new recipe, creating something will remind you to be mindful and make you feel productive. If you are stuck for ideas find a nice mandala on the internet , print it off and get colouring in. Yes, it’s as simple as this.
Acceptance and love – It’s OK not to have it all figured out!
In fact, if anyone is telling you they have it all figured out keep your distance! They are either lying to themselves or their self-awareness is non-existent.
It’s OK to have times when you don’t know which direction to take. It’s OK to feel confused and frustrated at times because the goals you had in mind don’t float your boat anymore. Life happens organically and as we grow and change so do our goals and what we manifest in our life.
Accepting and loving yourself is again a work in progress but much needed and something you can work towards every day. Acceptance doesn’t mean complacency. It means knowing in your heart that you are not perfect but you are worthy of love. The first sign of self-love is self-care.