Pressed for time? Overwhelmed by responsibility? Tired & exhausted? Feeling low on energy, on the go and have ‘just one more thing to do’ before you get into bed? Do you listen to the messages that your body gives you?
With today’s fast-paced lifestyle it can be a real challenge to be committed wholeheartedly to creating time each day to nurture your-self. This might come across as selfish but too much stress and over-giving to others creates a build up of toxic emotions, stress and dis-ease in our bodies.
Making a choice each day to give back to yourself (even in small ways) benefits everyone around you. It takes time and patience to create new patterns of self-care, and keep your commitment to yourself, and the critical part – taking action. There will always be more emails to attend to, more washing to do, more work to be done. STOP for a moment in time each day to value, acknowledge, respect and love yourself.
Here are 3 simple steps to get you started on a path of self-nurturing that will start and end your day with positive light.
1. Morning meditation. Before you jump out of bed in the morning, take 5 minutes to breathe deeply and connect with your positive desire for the day. You can take this time to repeat a positive affirmation or see yourself happily accomplishing your top goal for the day. Put a smile on your face as you do this. You may need to set your alarm 5 minutes earlier so you don’t skip this important start to your day.
2. Gratitude list. Keep a small notebook and pen beside your bed. Every night, write a list of the 10 best things that happened throughout your day. Or 10 things you are grateful for that day.
3. Nighttime meditation. When you lay your head on your pillow, take 5 minutes to breathe deeply (with a smile on your face) and thank each part of your body for doing its job for the day. Start with your toes and end with your head.
Self-nurturing time will increase your health & well-being and your productivity. Valuing yourself and your time is a wise investment in your own future. After you have made a habit of these three daily steps, start increasing your commitment to 30 minutes a day for self-care. Then increase this time frame to at least one hour per day. Allocate more time as you need.
Here are some ways that you can add more self-nurturing to your daily and weekly regimen:
• Tune into how you feel about doing certain tasks. Do you feel good about it or are you doing things over and over again out of obligation and feeling powerless? What can you change here?
• Journal – What do you need on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level? Once you decide what you need then HOW will you get that? What ACTION will you COMMIT to taking?
• Journal – What or who adds to your anxiety levels? How can you manage this better? Do you need to implement new boundaries or get some help with a professional practitioner? Do you need to express yourself?
• Take time each week to plan your week. Schedule in time for checking emails, messages, Facebook. Time management can make all the difference to free up valuable self-care time.
• Enjoy friendship/family time. Go to the movies, sit at the beach, enjoy a home-cooked meal. Talking and connecting can be very rewarding and can help you to move through any situations that might be challenging.
• Allow others to help you! Often we feel that we need to take on all the responsibility and this creates more stress and less solutions to our challenges. Discuss with willing family members, friends or community members how you can create healthy changes. Learn to ask for help and to receive. Find ways to support others in exchange for their help so it is a win-win for all.
• Delegate less important tasks. Hire a cleaner, set up a family house-cleaning roster (with simple jobs/tasks for children that they can do unassisted). Take some of the pressure off. Empower your children and family members and verbally edify them for their help.
• When you are going through increased times of stress also increase the time that you rest and self–nurture yourself.
• Take day naps when you can. Go and sit by some water or a location in nature that brings you peace, be still and breathe in the fresh air. Go for a walk and practice gratitude whilst walking.
• Take a bath, read a book, make a cup of tea or your favorite drink and just sit with no distractions for at least 15mins.
• Express yourself in creative ways, draw, paint, sing, write.
• Exercise- Yoga, Tai Chi, swimming, etc.
• Have a relaxing massage or some other form of treatment as often as you can afford to fit it in, something that you love and is just your self-nurturing time.
• Keep a notebook beside your bed. Each evening write down the amount of ‘time’ you committed to self-care each day and what you did i.e.- took a 20min nap and read a book for 20mins. Review each week to see where you could implement more time and gain insight as to why you don’t make time for yourself.