I have always been into self-care in some form or another but these past 15 months have shown me that I didn’t do it enough but only when I was stressed out or in the process of burning out. Now that outside is progressively reopening, I want to take the lessons that I have learnt about practicing self-care with me into the new normal. I really don’t want to go back to normal as normal was not good for me. This change of pace in life has been a huge adjustment from working in the office, not making enough time for my passion projects and myself to working from home, switching off and putting my self-care first, embracing my new role as a content creator through blogging, inspiring others with my fitness journey, tips and guides through Instagram and now creating for Pinterest. Everyone has different areas and aspects in their lives that they want to improve. For me, it’s working on the fear of failure when it comes to starting something new and accepting that I can be bad at something but work hard and practice continuously to get better at it. It’s okay for me to take my time to work at something but one thing I don’t want to do is waste my time. In the same breath, everyone looks at self-care differently and there is no right or wrong way of doing it. For some people, it is taking a bath with light candles and a book. For others, it is training or working out, or staring at the ceiling, lying in bed doing absolutely nothing, or eating a meal with wine and watching Netflix. Honestly, whatever it takes to make you feel energised to be whatever 100% looks like to you. It doesn’t have to be the same as everyone else, find something that is unique to you. Here are 4 simple ways that I practice self-care.
Treat yourself well and be as healthy as you can be. Taking care of our bodies both inside and outside is the most simple and largest approach to practicing self-care. We only have one body in this lifetime and honouring it by keeping it healthy and treating it well to continue performing its best will benefit you and others. You don’t have to adrenaline rushing or vigorous exercise to treat your body well but by choosing something that you enjoy and by doing it often, you will feel more healthier, more productive, more happier and you’ll have more energy to do the other things that you love. For me, I love to powerlift but I also love to take daily walks, go swimming, cycle, or play a couple of rounds of volleyball. Eating healthier is another aspect to physical self-care, add more fruits and veggies into your diet to get your vitamins and minerals, drink more water to flush out toxins and keep yourself hydrated. Make a habit of getting six to eight hours of sleep a night. Create an evening routine that prepares your body for a good night’s rest.
Align your behaviour with your values. Being in touch with our emotions, thoughts, actions, desires and working through them is a big part of self-awareness which cultivates into emotional self-care. Your emotional side to self-care is similar to bank account. Every day that you check in with yourself whether that is through journalling, meditations, being more mindful about your triggers, your thinking patterns, your behaviours towards yourself and others, you are investing into your long-term well-being account. Each day that you don’t manage your emotions, learn to reduce your stress, objectively evaluate yourself and openly develop an understanding of who you are, you are withdrawing from your well-being account. The aim is to keep this balance positive as you are spending more time with knowing yourself. I like to do a gratitude session and read meditations, first thing in the mornings, that encourage me to self-reflect about the previous day and start the new day on a fresh note. It helps me stay focused on what my intentions are for this year and to make sure that I’m staying true to myself. If you don’t feel like journalling or meditating, learn to express your emotions through cooking, painting, writing etc.
Creativity is intelligence having fun. Do something every day that nourishes, challenges and expands your mind. The mind was formed to be used so use it well. When we got into this season of lockdowns, I remember one of the recommendations being pushed out there was to learn a new skill so that our brains don’t feel idle. At that time, we really thought that it was going to be over in two weeks (I’m still shocked at this) but learning a new skill, whether it is a new language, assembling furniture, reading a book, listening to a podcast, watching a documentary etc. are ways to continue stimulating the mind and having fun with intelligence. I’ve been trying to get back into reading books for fun for a few years now and I feel like being in an academic environment for so long had ruined that. I like to read a mixture of self-help and personal development books as well as some fantasy and mythology books, I’ll share some of my favourites in the upcoming weeks. Being creative with my mind and learning a lot of new skills in the last year and a half has opened the door to new interests and opportunities. Find something that will creatively make learning fun for you.
Engage all the five senses. Sight. Smell. Touch. Taste. Sound. When you think about self care as a whole, it engages all the five senses but the pleasure that it brings is not highlighted enough. Whenever I buy a gift box for myself or others, I always make sure that the items inside incorporate our five senses to bring our minds to the present moment and help lower our stress levels. Most of my self care time is carved out throughout the day, especially in the mornings and evenings, and I like to engage with at least two or three of my five senses. The self-care that we see around us is often sensory but sight is the one that pushed forward. To practice self care through the sensory method means to be present and observe how all the five senses are being used to bring you pleasure and care. Burning a scented candle, smelling your favourite beauty scents or cooking your favourite meal incorporates the sense of smell; listening to soothing music or a podcast incorporates the sense of sound; getting a massage, walking barefoot in your house, in the grass or on a beach, a hug from a friend or significant other, the brush of silky pillows or pyjamas incorporates the sense of touch. Slowing down when you’re eating and savouring the flavours of your food, trying new dishes or paying attention to the temperature and texture of food incorporates the sense of taste. Lastly, sight is all around us but we tend to have our eyes fixated on multiple screens. Unplugging from social media to watch a movie or a documentary, read a book or go for a walk to admire the beauty of nature incorporate the sense of sight. Don’t miss the world around you because your eyes are fixed on a screen.
There you have it, four different ways with multiple examples to schedule your pleasure into your day to treat yourself well. It’s not a selfish act and don’t let anyone tell you that it is self-indulgent. It’s so important to carve out time during your day, everyday, to honour your well-being and invest in yourself so you can be the healthier version of you as well as being able to take care of your friends, family and community. By using these four simple ways to practice self care, you are setting priorities, setting boundaries and finding your purpose. You are energising yourself to engage with the world around you at 100%. You are learning to slow down and rediscover yourself. If there is one thing that this season has taught me, it is to enjoy life to its fullest width.
Until next time,