It’s rare to speak to someone in this day and age who isn’t busy; over-consumed with the hustle and bustle of every-day life. Our intense existence can lead us to feel like we are running around chasing our tails, often getting nowhere. Except stressed, and burnt out. This is where self care comes in.
Monday is spent grieving over the fact that it’s Monday, Tuesday isn’t much better, Wednesday….meh, Thursday *squeezes out a smile* and Friday gives us that little glimpse of happiness in our souls because we can all breathe a sigh of relief and take comfort in knowing the next two days solely belong to ourselves.
But do they?
It’s easy to get caught up in cleaning, shopping, visiting family, looking after children, if you have them, and trying to squeeze in everything that can’t be done Monday to Friday.
And then it’s Monday morning, again.
This is where self care comes in
When do you get time for You? Just you. Time for you to switch off and give your brain, and body, a rest. Time for you to say “Thank You” to that awesome creation that allows you to function? It gives you so much but what do you give it in return?
I’ll save the bit about talking positively to ourselves for another blog but I want to explore a few options that allow you to show gratitude to yourself. Because, you deserve it.
It doesn’t have to be pricey by the way. It’s super easy to feel relaxed without the guilt instilling price tag of a day spa.
So how can you improve your self care?
1. Do A Yoga.
For this, you don’t even have to go to a yoga studio. I actually have a real hunch about the price of a yoga class (I’ll also save that for another day), and so, more often than not I’ll find a decent yoga channel on YouTube. In the search function I’ll enter “45 minute vinyasa flow” and save myself at least £10. This is the type of yoga I prefer but you can find everything on there. If it’s late at night and you need to chill out then maybe go for a 60 minute Yin class for the ultimate way to soothe those tense muscles.
Even if you’re new to yoga you can find something on YouTube. Yoga with Adrienne is my favourite channel and her content can be followed by practitioners of all levels.
So, put on some loose pants (even pyjama bottoms will do), lock yourself in a quiet room, light a candle and give yourself 45 minutes to just breathe and move. This is just one of the ways you can improve your own self care.
When I went to my first meditation class I was a little freaked out. I was sat in a room with people I didn’t know, with my eyes closed and at points, in complete silence. Awkward. However, believe me, it’s addictive.
Once you get over that first class and, the often uncontrollable, desire to keep opening your eyes to see if anyone is watching you, you get to enjoy the beautiful, buoyant feeling that washes over you.
I tried my first mediation class at The Buddhist Centre in Manchester City centre and it was around £4. It was like a little haven in a mist of chaos and the warm welcome you get each time makes you want to go back for more. If you make a quick Google search I’m sure you’ll be able to find your nearest Buddhist centre or even a guided meditation group.
Of course, you don’t need to step out of your house to meditate. Headspace is a superb, free app you can get on your phone and this offers bite-sized guided meditation sessions for free.
It’s advisable to stick with meditation and form your opinion after you’ve practised consistently for maybe a month. You won’t lose anything from trying it out. It’s free.
If someone asked me to explain meditation I would describe it as a gift of peace and tranquillity that allows me to escape the fullness of everyday life.
3. Practise Gratitude
Gratitude is the feeling of being grateful. No matter how low we are, we can always find something or someone to be grateful for.
Write down a list of five things you are grateful for each day, for seven days. By the end of the week you should have a list of 35 things you appreciate in your life. That’s a hell-of-a-lot of gratitude.
When you wake-up in the morning, read your gratitude list. Make sure it’s the first thing you do. Forget checking your social media and read your little list of happiness.
This costs nothing yet it can bring so much satisfaction and fulfilment into our lives. Just knowing that you have things to be thankful for can give you that motivation you need to carry on.
4. Bath And Bed
Ok, it can be a hot shower too. But it’s the actual act of washing away the day, cleansing the skin and letting the warmth of the water soothe you.
With your phone on silent and all social media forgotten about, aim to be in bed and dozing off for 10pm (earlier if possible) every night for seven days straight. Weekend included.
Make a physical note of how you feel each day after, hopefully, having some good quality sleep. Maybe you have more energy, aren’t as hungry, have improved mental clarity? Whatever it is, write it down and keep it somewhere you can easily pull out when your sleeping pattern is a bit skew-whiff. Remind yourself of how good you felt when you were sleeping for longer.
If you’ve never been a great sleeper then try reading Matthew Walker’s “Why We Sleep”. It should give you some food for thought and can help you explore other ways to get forty-winks.
Sometimes it’s not as easy as going to bed and falling fast asleep. This is where the meditation can come in handy and you can combine a short meditation session with your early night. See if it helps you drift away quicker.
So there you have your 4 tips on self-care. They are super basic but can often be overlooked. Looking after yourself doesn’t have to cost a small fortune and it’s the little things in life that give us pleasure.