Have you set your intentions for this year yet? I did, and this year is a year of extreme self-care for me. But what is self-care? Is it just a bath with rose petals and Epsom salts at the end of the week? For me self-care, or self-love in other words, lies much deeper than this. It is all about the inner and the outer wellbeing. So what are the ways that we can take care of ourselves in a much deeper way compared to 2018, you’d ask? Here are the top 5 for me.
1. Nourishing the Body
The food plays such an important role in our lives and when this area is out of balance it also throws our bodies as well as our minds out of balance. Everyone nowadays seems to know that sugar is bad for them. Internet is now filled with sugar free recipes and different diets to try. Is this a path that you are going to choose for yourself this year, reducing the sugar intake? Or maybe you feel like you want to add more fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet. Whatever you are going to chose make sure that you are not overwhelming yourself with all the changes otherwise it will be hard for you to stick to the new habits. As with everything in life, I try to have all of the areas of my life balanced, no exception when it comes to my diet too.
So if you will decide that this area is on the top of your priority list too, what can you change in your current eating habits to feel much more healthier this year? My motto when it comes to a healthy eating is having a plant based and unprocessed food diet and adding free range and grass fed protein sources and wild caught fish, based on my cravings. I have learned to listen to my body and eating became really intuitive practice to me. Maybe that is something that you would like to try this year too, intuitive eating, perhaps?
2. Moving the Body
Exercise is important and it doesn’t really matter in which way you will choose to move your body as far as you do it. Everyday stress makes our muscles tense and blocks the energy flow in our bodies. Allowing yourself to move in a way that feels comfortable will help your body to release the tension that it has been holding onto. It is not only going to lift your mood up, but it will also tone your body up, boosting the confidence in yourself.
The challenge when it comes to exercise is most of the times linked to not having enough motivation. It is very important to set your WHY before you begin any new habit or routine. If your WHY is not strong enough, you most likely won’t have enough courage to stick to your new exercising routine. But if had enough of self pitying and negative self talk and are ready to look into the mirror and see yourself in a new light, that might be the only motivation that you need. Telling yourself that you are doing this, because your health is your number one priority is very powerful. Knowing that by you waking up every morning and spending ten minutes doing body weight exercises or a simple yoga flow is going to bring you closer to an optimal wellbeing and health goal that each of us are craving for, will make you feel excited taking care of yourself in this way.
3. Rest and Sleep
Not getting enough sleep also affects other areas of our lives. From mood, productivity to metabolism and hormonal health. So many of us are wired to constantly be doing or working on something. Our brains even when its time to wind down and fall a sleep are still trying to process the TO DO LIST that we must complete the following day. The light from all the digital devices tricks us into believing that it is still daylight, stopping our brain from secreting the necessary hormones required for sleeping and relaxation.
Insomnia is at its highest rates and we are running ourselves into a whole of overall body depletion instead of having the time in the evenings to slow down and switch off. Diming the lights, switching the electronic devices and having a warming and relaxing bath would not only help you fall asleep much quicker, but would also help to restore the vital functions of your internal organs.
4. Time to Tune Out
We are surrounded by so much information that our brains get exhausted trying to process it all. From TV, to social media, work tasks and daily duties at home. We are also trying to be a ‘good friend’ and pushing ourselves to catch up with all the friends and family members over the weekend, the time that we could be spending resting after the busy week at work, leaving ourselves even more exhausted, pressing the snooze button on our alarm clocks each Monday morning.
But when will we have the time to stop and switch off from all the outside noise? This year giving yourself a permission to switch your phone off for a day (Sunday would be ideal for this) as well as other electronic devices will give you a breathing space and the recovery that not only your body, but also your brain needs. The world will still be functioning the same way it did before, but you will be more in tune with yourself, your body will feel rested and less stressed.
I think the fear of missing out has been imprinted in us due the digital age addictions and everything being within the hand’s reach. However at the same time we have never been this disconnected from our bodies, nature, the Devine and ourselves. Giving yourself permission to do nothing for a day would not only awaken your true senses for life and unexplored areas that you might have not even thought about before, but it will return you back to yourself.
5. Time to Tune In + Meditation
Once you given yourself the space just to be, hence step 4, you will be in a much better place for you start practicing mindfulness or meditation. Being in this place of calmness and peace would lead you to the deeper understandings and realisations, sometimes even healing. The issues that you might cared for before will diminish themselves or simply won’t be as important anymore.
Taking this time to tune in will teach you patience, surrendering, how to listen and acknowledge the signs from your body as well as the Universe. This step needs practice and the best results are achieved when practiced daily, which will also teach you consistency on building powerful habits.
This step could simply be taking few deep breaths few times a day. Or closing your eyes and noticing how your body is feeling. Is it holding any tension? Where is this tension coming from? Do you need to take few deep breaths into this area? We tend to overcomplicate things, but firstly start with the simplest practice there is – BREATHING. This is going to be a foundation for all the other meditation practices that you might to take on in the future.
All of the self-care practices that I have listed seem based on a common sense, but how many of us do still feel out of balanced not knowing how or not having enough time to add an extra powerful self-care practice. START WITH THE BASICS. I believe that you have to simplify your life as much as possible. If you want to build new habits this year, start small, this way you will be able to stick to your new daily routines. It is not about what you do once a week to fill your self-love cup, it is about what you do consistently everyday.