Thank you to Jane from Blend Wellness for this week's blog post.
Are you feeling a bit overwhelmed with the uncertainty of life at the moment? When it seems like the main constant to the day is the 1pm update to find out what your life will look like for the next week?
I certainly was, even as we headed back into level 2 here in Northland - jobs to be caught up on, appointments to be rebooked for every member of the family, that constant niggling feeling of 'Have I done enough?' Could I have encouraged the kids to be more active while they were at home, instead of all that screen time? How can I help the older teen feel less stressed about his upcoming exams? How long will I have to queue at the dump to get rid of all the garden rubbish that I finally got around to clearing up?
None of them big issues, but all taking up space in my head and encouraging those less than healthy choices that disguise themselves as being kind to myself but aren't really. You know the kind of thing - the post-dinner relaxing treat with a spot of Netflix that turns into staying up too late and eating the entire family-sized chocolate bar to myself.
So Jane's advice came at a great time for me.
And I hope it will help you too. If 5 hacks is too much to focus on (sometimes even things with the best intentions can add to your stress levels) just pick one to start with and focus on that for a few days.
Self-care is quite the buzz word right now … in a time that has turned out to be quite stressful with lockdowns and uncertain futures, the one thing we do have control over is how we look after ourselves. The idea of putting your own oxygen mask on first is super important because it helps us to show up in the world in a more positive mindset to be there for those that depend on us.
That said, in this busy day and age it’s sometimes quite tricky to put ourselves first, so here are some of my hacks to fitting in your self-care on the daily.
1. Changing your mindset to really believe you deserve to put yourself first. You are enough, right now. The other thing to consider is that self-care doesn’t have to be an extravagant pamper session, it can be as simple as having a few minutes for a quiet cuppa first thing in the morning before the rest of the house gets up.
2. Do the “hard stuff” first which means often the small daily rituals or practices we do make the biggest difference over time. Choosing to have a healthy breakfast = choosing to nourish your body. Choosing to exercise or move your body daily is an act of self-care.
3. Make a joyful list. Make a list of all the things that bring you joy and add fun to your life. This adulting thing is hard enough! It can be simple things like feeling the cool grass under your feet, feeling warm sunshine on your face or playing your favorite upbeat song. Now you have your list, put it somewhere that you’ll see it daily, schedule some things into your calendar. I used to schedule “watch cute cat videos on You Tube for 5 minutes during my lunch break”!
4. Build in a buffer. Life is busy so making sure you have an extra 10 minutes between meetings or allowing yourself to arrive at school 10 minutes early gives you that breathing space to chill and engage your parasympathetic nervous system by literally doing some deep belly breaths. This makes such a big impact on my day so I don’t arrive home feeling flustered and irritable.
5. Habit Stack. What habits to you already do automatically? Get up in the morning, brush your teeth, make the coffee … what new habit can you stack onto that?
Drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning is a good self-care habit to have. So for the above example - while the coffee is brewing, drink a big glass of water. Then sit outside in the sun while you have your morning brew and there you’ve had a moment of peace, outside soaking up some Vitamin D. Could you also take a minute to write in your gratitude journal? 3 awesome habits right there, all done and dusted in a short time.
When deciding on your self-care habits think about
What brings you joy.
How you can move your body.
How you can be outside in nature.
How can you nourish your body and mind.
Here are some examples:
· Go for a walk
· Go barefoot on the sand at the beach
· Dance like no-one is watching
· Sing like no-one can hear you
· Write in a journal
· Say affirmations while doing sun salutations
· Reflect on your day and write down all the things you’ve achieved
· Meal prep some healthy snacks
· Do something creative
· Have a bath with magnesium salts and essential oils of course!
Jane McClurg is a degree qualified naturopath, medical herbalist and massage therapist. She is passionate about empowering busy women to thrive naturally. She works online or in her Auckland clinic. Book a free Discovery Call today www.blendwellness.co.nz
Thank you Jane! My favourite at the moment is Build in a Buffer. I aim to get to appointments etc a little earlier than necessary (which I find helps lower my stress levels anyway) and pick a 5 minute meditation on Insight Timer to focus on deep breathing.
Please do share with us any of your own tips. You never know who might be grateful of them.