So, as we’re approaching the end of the year I hear a lot of people commenting on how their lives are getting a bit crazy as they try to fit everything in. Self-care is a bit of a buzz phrase at the moment, but it’s because it is important, especially when things start heating up at work, the social calendar is suddenly filling and the to-do list gets longer. During this time it’s really important to think about self-care, which people talk about but then say they don’t have time to include in their lifestyles.
So, what is self-care?
Self-care is an individual thing and will look differently for each person. For some, it will be saying ‘no’ to additional things that press on their time when they are already inundated. For others it will be taking time having therapies and for others it will be adding evenings or weekends off to their diary, getting out in the fresh air, spending time with loved ones or settling down to a good book. It is unique to you, but it is anything that nourishes you, reduces your stress and stops you feeling overwhelmed.
How does my self-care look?
My self-care varies, depending on what is going on and revelations I receive as time goes on. Previously, I decided I would only work 3 evenings a week and would take off a weekend at least once a month. I no longer work Sundays, as this is my family time. I have said ‘no’ to many things that didn’t enrich my life – in previous years I would have a cold approaching every Christmas, as I had overdone my duties – one year I had a burst eardrum and another sinusitis, as my body desperately tried to tell me ease off things. I’ve now learnt my lesson and plan things in advance and reduce non-necessities to ensure my body is a little more forgiving.
Each morning I meditate, as I find it sets me up for the day, and I have also incorporated 10minutes of yoga 2-3 times a week to help my body cope with the physicality of my occupation. An a-ha moment for me recently was that I’ve worked evenings without giving myself a week off for too long. So, next year, I’ll be incorporating taking a week off in the evenings on a regular basis – this will get pencilled in my diary so I don’t make the same mistake again. It’s going for regular therapies and making sure I give my body food at regular times throughout the day, rather than expecting it to run on empty and then filling it with sugar quick energy release fixes. In the run up to Christmas my self-care involves being organised with cards and presents and only writing one blog post this month, so I can focus on seeing all my clients before I take a break.
I know for others self-care is not starting work until 11 once a week so they can attend their favourite pilates or yoga group. For others, it’s getting to the gym a few times a week, going for a run or making nutritional lifestyle choices. It’s about setting good boundaries and not having to agree to everybody’s request. This is about your self-care and for some that’s taking the dog for a walk, getting out in nature on the weekend or sitting with family or friends and being social. It’s time out, downing tools and having fun, it’s anything that feels nourishing rather than a drain. It’s about joining a choir, signing up for a meditation, going dancing or doing an art course just for the fun of it.
Think you don’t have time?
We all get 24hours a day and yes, a lot of that time is taken up with working, sleeping and eating, but think about getting savvy with your time. Find things you enjoy that will nourish your body, release stress and give you enjoyment in life. If you say ‘no’ to things that don’t work for you it gives you more time to incorporate self-care and build a lifestyle which is more like you would prefer. If you’re needing help with this, a great book is ‘the Art of Extreme Self-Care’ by Cheryl Richardson which helps challenge you to accept help from other people, say no on a regular basis and begin looking after yourself more.
So, when the pace starts heating up over the next few weeks, just remember to stop, pause and breathe
Louise is an holistic therapist who owns Therapy Centre, Bristol BS14 9HB, a clinic offering a range of holistic and beauty therapies. Louise offers reflexology, aromatherapy, holistic massage, Indian head massage, reiki, baby massage and story massage. She is a mum of two boys and when she is not working she enjoys getting outdoors with her family. For further information about Louise, visit louise-morgan.co.uk.