“Self care” can cover so, so many things, so that sometimes just fitting it in can seem like a marathon of a task. But actually, if we get in to the habit of putting a few simple steps into place daily, we will find our Self Care Ritual becomes both easy & enjoyable!
So, what are my recommendations for self care? Well, how’s about I tell you MY way of doing it…
MY SELF CARE START TO THE DAY
1. Belly Breathing – before actually getting out of bed. This is so powerful. As I am just “coming to” in the morning, I roll to lie on my back, direct my thoughts to my breathing and do just 1 or 2 minutes of abdominal breathing. It is such a great way to start feeling energised and refreshed for the day ahead.
2. Step-by-Step Gratitude. This is adapted from Rhonda Byrne in her wonderful book “The Secret”. My own version is that when I get up in the morning, as my first foot touches the floor I name (out loud) one thing I am truly grateful for; as my other foot touches down I name another; as I walk into the bathroom I name a third. That’s my 3 gratitude journal entries done without the need for a pen & paper – it is such a game changer for a positive start to my day.
3. Diffuser ON. I choose which essential oils I want according to the mood I feel I need to create – something citrus-y for vitality, geranium for balance, or maybe rosemary for focus. Whichever I choose, those gorgeous scents fill the air & really can switch my mood (and they encourage me to breathe mindfully too).
4. DON’T go to my Phone! This is really important. I stopped having my phone in my bedroom at night a long time ago, but it took much longer to break the habit of looking at it as soon as I came downstairs. But nowadays it’s an absolute: no phone until breakfast is done and the kids are all out at school. It may sound simple (though I confess it wasn’t simple to achieve it) but it is so powerful.
5. Hot water & lemon. There are many advantages to making this the first thing that goes into your digestive system in the morning, but for me it’s also about mindset. If the very beginning of my day includes consuming something that is nourishing me and specifically good for my health, I am oh so much more likely to continue that way for the rest of the day.
AND THE REST OF MY DAY…
My personal choice is that these 5 steps have to happen in order. Then the following 3 will happen at some point during my day: exactly when will vary each day of the week, depending on my other commitments.
6. A truly mindful coffee (or a herbal tea if I’m being “good”!) Instead of grabbing that #onecoffeeaday on the hoof, I try to take ten minutes to stop and pause, and to really enjoy it. It enforces a break from my pc, or my sessions or whatever I may be racing at (& that pause is so great for my mental health), and it also means I enjoy the coffee so much more – and that in turn helps me to stick to just one-a-day!
7. 20 minutes of reading – either a novel or a personal development book. If it’s a novel it’s usually for pure escapism, if it’s personal development…you guessed it, it’s for personal development!
8. Between 10 & 20 minutes of meditation. This is another true game changer for me: discovering meditation very literally changed my life. It really does only need to be 10 minutes a day, and whenever I slot in those few moments of utter peace I feel I can get off the merry-go-round of life, just for a little. As a note, I am not perfect(!) so there are days that I don’t manage to fit it in…and on those days I feel the difference and I truly feel so much less “in control”.
This list isn’t exhaustive, and it certainly doesn’t provide a “one size fits all”. These are simple strategies that work for ME: some will resonate with you also, others may not. What matters most is that you take the time to consider what will work best for you, and then you carve out the time to make it happen. Taking that step to find the time is undoubtedly the first step towards #selfcare – and surely one of the most important.