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Self-care is not selfish

We are all so busy that self-care often goes on the back burner.  But if you don’t make self-care a priority then it won’t be long before you become frazzled and exhausted.  As the saying goes you can’t pour from an empty cup.  Taking care of yourself first enables you to have plenty of reserves to get things done and take care of other people.   So it’s far from being self-indulgent!

Self-care is not a one off thing you do now and then.  Its lots of small things you do throughout the day to nourish yourself and keep you at your best mentally, physically and emotionally.  Like any new habit it takes time to make self-care a priority.  To help keep self-care front of mind make a list of all the things that nourish you.  Then put at least one self-care activity in your diary each day.  Remember to include the small things like stroking the cat, watching the birds on the feeder, taking a moment to savour your lunch or having a bath.

Here are some other self-care ideas you might like to try:

  • Take regular mindful pauses throughout the day. Take time to check in with your thoughts feelings and sensations and be with your breath for a minute or so.  Notice how you are feeling and do something to top up your reserves if you need it.  Take a quick walk, stretch, listen to music, meditate or drink a glass of water.
  • Do tasks that you know will give you a sense of achievement. This could be as simple as sewing on a button you’ve been meaning to do or sorting out your filing.
  • When you have a tea or coffee take a moment to really savour the experience. Use all of your senses to bring yourself present.  Feel the warmth of the cup on your hands, the smell and taste of the drink.  You can bring this mindful attention to any routine activity such as brushing your teeth, having a shower, driving to work.  It’s a great way to give yourself a break from the mental chatter.
  • Learn to say yes. When we are busy we often turn down doing things that would be enjoyable because we don’t think we have enough time.  Perhaps taking time out might give you the boost you need to get more done.
  • Learn to say no. When someone asks you to do something remember to pause before responding.  Take time to check in with yourself to see if you have the capacity to help.
  • Be kind to yourself. Forgive yourself when things go wrong.  We all make mistakes.  And remember to notice the things you do well.
  • Move more. Research shows that sitting all day is not good for your health.  So find ways to weave micro movement practices into your day.  Set a reminder to get up and move every 60 minutes.  Do some stretches, take a short walk or dance to a favourite song!
  • Get outside. Being in the fresh air and nature has been shown to make us feel better.
  • Put yourself a sleep routine together so you can wind down before bedtime.

I hope these ideas will inspire you to weave more self-care into your day.

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