I just love the term “self-caring”. It's my new favourite. Practice saying it! “I am just doing some self-caring. I will be there in 20!” What a great thing to say to your friends, your parents or your kids and what a great model for everyone else to be inspired by. Care enough about yourself to make time and room for self care.
But what is self care and why is everyone talking about it?
With the onslaught of the various difficulties that most people have been facing since the beginning of the global pandemic, it has become more apparent that we need to do something more and also more often to look after ourselves, not only our physical health, but also our emotional and mental health. That is exactly what self care is: caring for and nurturing our body, our mind and our soul. You can find many people from mental health advocates to celebrities who are not afraid to claim that self care is a priority and that this has helped them to become better role models from Michelle Obama to Oprah Winfrey to Serena Williams and even Snoop Dogg.
You might be forgiven for having thought that self care was indulgent or even selfish, but now we are starting to realise that self care is a necessary part of life and a necessary part of wellness. If we want to give to others, we have to have something to give, otherwise we can become dangerously low ourselves, which doesn't put us in an optimal place to be our best selves. When we neglect ourselves, we can't be fully present in ourselves nor in our acts of service and caring for others.
We may also sometimes feel guilty taking time for ourselves, this is especially so for mums, when there is so much to be done at home or at work and for the family. But our everyday has to have some self caring if we want to feel balanced, less stressed and mentally well.
Self care means prioritising ourselves. Like they say on the plane, put your own oxygen mask on first. Prioritising self caring is the way to maximise your potential as a human and bring that potential to all areas of your life and to others as well. Regularly engaging in self care helps us feel grounded and centred and it allows us to show up fully for the things and the people that we care about.
Self care is like an insurance system for your health. The more regularly you do it and the more priority you give it, the healthier and more resilient you will be in periods of high stress.
Self caring is the difference between surviving, which most of us can do, and thriving, which all of us should be doing. But ask yourself. Are you surviving or thriving? Surviving is what gets us through and maybe that is what we all have to do some of the time, but for long periods of time, living in survival mode is what leads to burn out, overwhelm, anxiety, stress and disease.
Self caring can be an integrated part of your lifestyle, as in sleeping enough, not using devices before bedtime or first thing when you wake up, or exercising enough, it could also be ensuring that you are eating the right foods or making a practice of saying no to things that don't give you joy (as Marie Kondo says) and asserting your boundaries more or it could be looking for ways to cut down the stress in your life and becoming more organised. Another way of doing self care is to make it part of your daily routine every day by choosing activities that might take 5 minutes or an hour (or more) and then constantly changing them according to the time you have available or your mood. So below, I am offering a few examples but there are so many more. So choose yours and start scheduling self caring into your daily routine. You are worth it.
Got just 5 minutes?
Notice your emotions & how you feel in the moment.
Deep breathing e.g. inhale to 4, exhale to 8.
Breathing with a mantra eg. breathe in ‘peace’ breathe out ‘stress’.
Forgive yourself for whatever you didn’t get done or you didn’t do that well today.
Use you favourite mist & repeat the affirmation.
Repeat the affirmations at the bottom of this article.
Listen to your favourite music.
Do a 5 minute meditation.
Tune into your favourite crystal by holding it in your non-dominant hand. Program it with an intention by just saying that intention out loud (e.g. "I attract peace into my life").
Sing your favourite song.
Self massage with body oil after a shower.
Eat an apple mindfully: visualise the apple nourishing your body, feeling every bite, appreciating its delicious taste and only doing that.
Got 15 minutes?
Meditation: a compassion meditation is a good choice (e.g. loving kindness).
A mindful shower: while you wash yourself be grateful for each part of your body and what it does for you. As the water goes down the drain thank the water for taking away what do don’t need anymore.
DIY face exfoliation with almond meal & ground oatmeal & geranium essential oil.
DIY face mask with green clay with yoghurt & lavender essential oil
Got 30 minutes?
Unplug from all technology.
Take a walk.
Get outside into the garden, down to the park or out in nature.
Reach out to a friend to chat.
Got an hour?
Do some yoga.
Go for a bike ride.
Take a long walk.
Do something creative: paint, draw, make.
Cook a new nutritious recipe for dinner.
After lockdown, go to the gym or get a massage.
Affirmations for self care
My commitment to self care, helps me become a better person, towards myself & others.
I set healthy boundaries for myself and take the time that I need to do self caring.
I choose to let go of self-criticism
I am open to & I deserve all the good things coming into my life.
I deeply & completely love and accept myself.
I accept myself as I am now.
I choose to forgive myself and others.
The sky is the limit for self caring. See what you can come up with and then schedule it in to your day to make it happen. You will thank yourself for it (and so will others around you)!