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How good are you at taking care of yourself? I would love for the answer to be great; but for too many of us finding time to take care of ourselves is something that we mean to do but have trouble getting around to. And when we do, it’s often accompanied with the feeling that we should really be doing something else!
But, cultivating practices that help us take care of ourselves is essential and not only helps us on our path to being the best version of ourselves, but it also helps us to create more light that we can share and use to support others.
So, with that in mind I’ve made a list of 7 things that will help you to take better care of yourself. Find the one that resonates with you the most and take a few baby steps to make it part of your day…
GO EASY ON YOURSELF
What do I mean by this? So many of us are guilty of self-blame or putting ourselves down. The next time you catch yourself doing this, stop. No one is perfect, so practise some positive inner talk instead. Replacing negative self-talk with positive does takes some effort and practice. But, with time you will notice a big difference and it’ll help you feel so much better.
BUILD SELF-CARE ROUTINES INTO YOUR DAY
It’s so easy to get up in the morning with the best of intentions. But, those intentions can easily get lost in favour of ‘more important things’. The trick here is to remember that you’re important too. Taking good care of yourself is essential not a luxury and so schedule time each day to do just that – even if it’s only 15 minutes.
Now, I’m mindful of this myself. I know that if my yoga practice isn’t done before midday then the chances of it happening decrease because other things in my day takeover. But, it’s important to me and so, I schedule it in my planner for mid-morning and that way I’m always sure to hit the mat.
If there was is one point here that’s more important than any other, I think this would be it because it completely changes how you feel about yourself and sets you on the path to lasting change. You can resolve to do all of the self-care routines you like each day, but if you don’t schedule them in ahead of time, you’ll struggle to get around to them.
FOCUS ON NOW
Mindfulness is practised by many people around the world. It takes a little practice but once you get used to it, you’ll find it easier to remain in the present. If you feel yourself starting to worry about something in the future, bring your mind back to the present – I find focusing on my breath for a minute or two helps me to do this. The same applies if you find yourself ruminating over the past, find a touch point like your breath and bring yourself back into the present moment.
LEARN TO SAY NO
If you always say yes to things you don’t want to do or have no time for, then try saying no occasionally. It saves you a lot of stress and worry – plus it feels good to prioritise what’s most important to you. The easiest way to do this is to stop replying with an instant yes when asked. Try answering with ‘Let me think on that and I’ll get back to you’ this at least gives you some breathing space to consider your answer instead of saying yes and immediately regretting or it.
SPEND MORE TIME OUTDOORS
There’s nothing quite like getting some fresh air. And, while it’s lovely to spend time in nature wandering around woodlands and parks, if time or location doesn’t allow for that then a walk around the block or to your local shops works well too.
LEARN TO RELAX
Try paying more attention to how you react to things throughout your day. We all feel anxious at some point, but it affects some of us more than others. If you struggle to relax, find short pauses in your day to practise deep breathing and relaxation techniques. They are so easy to do and can be used anywhere, especially when anxiety strikes or you find yourself in a stressful situation.
MAKE YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH A PRIORITY
I’ve shared a few things here that help to improve your mental health but I can’t leave without also mentioning your body, because we all know what a huge effect it has on how we feel about ourselves. I’ve never been an advocate of diets but I do believe in taking steps to keep my body as healthy as possible. I’ve been doing this lately by cutting sugar from my diet but how you choose to do it is completely up to you; maybe you need to reduce processed food in your diet, eat more meat free meals, exercise more or swap those sugary drinks for water? Start with what feels right for you and do it in manageable steps because then you’re much more likely to stick to it.
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.