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Mind, body, and spirit… these three elements combine to make us whole. At least, they should do if we take regular steps to take good care of them all. But you know as well as I do that self-care can quickly get pushed to the bottom of that never ending ‘to-do’ list that we all have.
That’s why I wanted to share with you my list of 12 self-care tips that you can pick up and use, even when time isn’t on your side. No matter how busy you are, I’m sure that you can make room for one or two of these in your day.
To help you create balance in your day, I’ve divided them into tips for the mind, body, and spirit – be sure to take different actions on different days...
1: TURN OFF YOUR DEVICES FOR 15-30 MINUTES
Disconnecting from technology allows us to reconnect with ourselves. Step away from your devices for at least 15-30 minutes each day and create a few quiet moments for yourself. Start small with a few minutes here and there if you need to and then build up to more solid blocks of time.
2: DIVE INTO A GOOD BOOK
Expand your mind and read something that you haven’t read before. Learn a new topic or delve deeper into something that you already love. Picking up an old favourite and refreshing your knowledge is also a wonderful use of time.
3: BE STILL
How many of us have forgotten how to do this? Yet doing it regularly - just pausing to appreciate being in the present moment - helps us to ground our emotions and feel gratitude for the small and most meaningful parts of our daily lives.
4: ENJOY A MINI MEDITATION
Even the shortest meditation can help to quiet your mind and help you feel so much calmer. Close your eyes and focus on your breath moving in and out of your body. As thoughts arise (and they always will) don’t challenge them but don’t engage with them either - think of them as clouds and let them pass by. Doing this for even a minute or two can make a world of difference to how you feel. Here are a few tips on how to make meditation your new wellness habit.
5: FOCUS ON YOUR BREATHING FOR 60 SECONDS
If you’re in a situation where meditating isn’t possible then simply focusing on your breath can help to combat negative emotions like stress, anger and anxiety. Be sure to breathe fully from your stomach. Try doing this at your desk or in any social situation that raises your anxiety levels.
6: RE-FUEL WITH A HEALTHY SNACK
Don’t wait until you’re so hungry that unhealthy food choices seem like the best idea! Regularly eat healthy foods during the day that nourish your body, reduce hunger and keep your blood sugar levels stable. I like to reach for fruit as often as possible and mid afternoon a small bowl of nuts like walnuts, almonds or cashews are also a great choice.
7: GO FOR A WALK
Even if you can only spare 10 minutes, you’ll be amazed how much better you’ll feel for the rest of the day if you can get outside and enjoy some fresh air. Throw some enthusiasm behind it with a good pace and a smile - and don’t worry what other people will think, most of them are too busy looking at their phones to even notice!
8: TAKE A NAP
We all know that sleep is essential to our wellbeing. And taking a nap has been proven to help us increase focus and productivity too. If you can manage 15 minutes - even on the weekend - it can make a huge difference to your health and productivity. Here are some tips to make sure that you nap well.
Take five minutes to write down everything that is bothering you today and then rip the paper up into little pieces and throw it away. You’d be surprised how good this feels (alternatively, if you’re at home, burn the pieces safely in a flameproof dish and return the ashes to the earth to symbolise letting go of your troubles.)
10: CREATE A CALMING RITUAL
I love daily rituals that help me to naturally build self care into my day. It can be as simple as enjoying a few quiet moments with your first drink of the morning or being the first one into the shower and enjoying an extra few minutes to yourself. Simple, unrushed moments especially at the beginning of your day can really help you to feel more calm and balanced for the rest of your day.
11: BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Show yourself some love and compassion. Turn down the volume on your inner critic and use kinder words when you speak to yourself. Treat yourself as you would a friend who was feeling the same way - you’ll be amazed how differently you choose your words. Remind yourself of your blessings, no matter how small and allow yourself the time you need to move forward.
12: POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS
If you’ve never used them before then you might feel a bit silly at first but they’ve always helped me and so I wanted to include them here. You can create your own, be sure to keep them positive and in the present tense - for example “I am welcoming love into my life’. Say them outloud when you can but in your head is just fine too. I like to choose one for the day or sometimes the week or month if I’m working on a particular issue.
Remember, Self-care is not a luxury
Lots of people, women especially put self-care to the bottom of the list. I’ve done it plenty of times myself! But, I’ve learnt that caring for myself helps me to grow and bring light into the world in a way that I can’t if I’m depleted and feeling low.
I hope that some of my suggestions inspire you, please choose the ones that speak to you the most. Their purpose is to bring more harmony and balance into your days - not add to your already busy workload - and so go for the easiest ones first!
If you’d like a little more support along the way then please keep in touch for regular tips and advice on creating more time for yourself. In the meantime I’ve created this printable self-care for the soul checklist – there’s 21 more ideas on it for you and you can tick off each one as you go, enjoy!...
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.