25 Aug Why #SelfCareSunday should be every day
How often do you do something for you? How often do you stop, breathe and take care of yourself? How many times do you say to someone “Sorry, I can’t take that on right now as I am struggling to balance things at the moment”? Looking after yourself is one of the things in life that that we can control. If we have the balls to take on big work tasks, run a family, finish a degree or achieve major milestones, we can certainly take a day to check into a hypothetical (or real!) day spa and sign up for the works, can’t we?
Why do we skip the cucumbers on our eyes and opt for straining to keep them open? I’ve shared in a previous post how “being busy” has become a global epidemic. Busy people are often disengaged from the things that matter, their relationships aren’t as solid as they could be, they are irritable, stressed, overworked and fussing so much they fail to appreciate the good around them. As I have embarked on my Health Coaching journey and have started meeting people and evaluating their health and lifestyle, I am seeing more and more, how backed up people’s schedules are. They aren’t taking time out, they are filling their calendars with more things and as a result, sleep is poor, energy is low – they are crying out for help.
You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first. Self-care is activity that nurtures and refuels you at a deep level. Something inside of us shifts when we book in for a massage. We melt into that table like butter. What is that? Is it the touch of the masseuses hand? Or is it our mind loosening the reins on our emotional and mental state? For every minute you take to nourish aspects of yourself, be it your physical body, emotional or mental state of your spiritual side – you allow space for things to change. If you don’t take a minute, things continue to build up, cause you problems or stay unresolved. What I have started to see in my clients (and at times in myself), is that calendars are full of tasks, and there is little time to serve these aspects of yourself. Slowly, like the foundations of a poorly built house, cracks begin to form and we become less productive in the areas that really matter – like creativity, emotional regulation, relationships and connections, gratitude, maintaining a sense of calm and overall contentment.
Self-care means giving yourself permission to pause. Think about your weekly schedule. How much time do you allocate for yourself? Real “me time” – the kind that makes you feel good afterwards. If the answer is “not much,” #selfcaresundays are a good place to start. You may have noticed an instagram craze, with the popular tagline #selfcaresundays (or maybe you haven’t as you have been to flat out…) Every sunday, my feed is filled with a barrage of photos of baths, massage tables, face masks and books rested strategically on picnic rugs. Whole some may roll their eyes at these displays, I cheer for these people! Good on them for taking a minute, an hour or day to themselves! These short (or long times) are the ultimate recharge to balance out a hectic week.
Put yourself at the top of your to-do list. Our lives are so full during the week and #selfcaresundays are the ultimate remedy. You may be thinking, “Wahhh, I don’t have time to breathe with the amount of work I have to do, let alone slap on a face mask” or “Good luck doing any of that with screaming kids tugging at your legs.” I see your point and validate your concerns, but my point always comes back to this – What are your priorities? A happy parent is a good parent, a patient and calm person does better at their job and less stressed people live longer, healthier and happy lives. If you think that work, your kids, family and friends come before yourself, then you really need to understand how life works. You aren’t the best you when you are falling apart at the seams. Remember this important fact, when you say ‘yes’ to others, make sure that you are not saying ‘no’ to yourself.
The most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself. So, why not give #selfcaresunday a try this week? Whether it be for the whole day or just a small chunk of it. If you have kids, try getting up 30 minutes beforehand or staying up 30 minutes later. If you had appointments booked, friends and family to see or have planned lots of work tasks, try cancelling or shifting even one to make time for yourself. Start small and try and add in more time each week. Self-care tasks can come in many forms. From sleep, to massage, laughter, reading, journalling or even just sitting with a tea or coffee in the sunshine. The only rule is that it must serve you and fill you up inside. Self-care is not selfish, it’s a necessity to keep you sane, productive, happy and in-tune with your world.
Take a look at the attached document for a list of great self-care ideas.
Activity: Choose one area of yourself and brainstorm five self-care activities that might work for you. Feel free to continue this with other areas needing nourishment.
As I study full time and work full time, my weekends are often full. But every Sunday is #selfcaresunday. I modify this to work for me and my productivity. My husband and I don’t set an alarm and often spend mornings in bed chatting or reading (that’s where we are right now as I write this!). Throughout the day, I often balance study with regular breaks. I hike a mountain, go to restorative yoga, wash my hair and do things I love. I have evolved from a few years ago where I would do nothing but work, study and stress. While this may not seem achievable for you remember I didn’t get here overnight. Small changes each week is the goal. How can you make self-care sunday work for you? What might you add in to take care of yourself?
Working with a Health Coach is a way of identifying when and where you can practice more self-care. A good health coach will assist you with timetabling and accountability of high-serving activities. Engaging in ongoing reflections about how you feel and what you can do to improve the quality of your life is an excellent way to open up doors to improving other areas of your health and wellness.
Self-care isn’t limited to days off. If you want to take your life to the next level, you can work in acts of self-care everyday. Listen, I am not holier than thou when it comes to this stuff. I have to check myself every week. A chaotic and stressful life means that I feel strange when things are quiet. Another useful strategy that works is to balance out a busy day with down time every day. Whether it be in the morning before your day begins, or at night. I have found that having self-care time everyday and not just on Sundays has been highly beneficial. As a rule, I try not to bring work home with me, nights are only for me and my husband. We watch TV together, walk the block or read in bed. I try to minimise screen time and avoid social media. This time at the end of a busy day helps me to recharge, connect with my husband and wind down so that I can ensure a restful and deep sleep. Likewise, I find starting my day off with time to myself helps to focus me. I get up at the crack of dawn every morning to journal and set my goals for the day with a cup of coffee in hand for about 20 minutes. Following this, I head to the gym or yoga and then my work day starts after that. Can you think of any ways that you could adjust your weekday to ensure even half an hour of time to yourself? Again, maybe just start with one day and work your way up. You need to make this achievable.
True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake. It is making the choice to build up a life you don’t need to regularly escape from. Since commencing my studies to become a Health Coach, the curriculum has a strong emphasis on making sure all clients have adequate self-care practices. A lot of the time, without self-care, people find it hard to achieve their health and wellness goals. You will find it hard to lose weight if you are miserable, exhausted and highly strung. Chronic stress leads to a number of illnesses or amplifies the symptoms. Your sex and hunger hormones are affected by high cortisol levels. Everything is interconnected. So this is an area that must be tackled in order to flow on to other major actions. It has a positive ripple effect on your personal and professional success.
Keep in mind that your self-care needs are constantly changing and you will fair well to notice these things. The areas of your life that need balance will shift and the ways you want to fill those needs will change as well. How self-care looks in your life may change drastically from one period to the next, but it’s important that the routine – and the consistent effort of caring for yourself – is always present. Using #selfcaresundays is an excellent way to establish some kid of routine. What you do on these days can change. Take note of how you feel and what works and doesn’t. Be responsive to your needs and not your plans.
Here are some ways to stay consistent:
- Take time each week to check in with yourself and identify which areas need support.
- Choose the activities you will engage in on a weekly basis (using the list to help you)
- Schedule time in your calendar for each item.
- Enlist the support of friends and family for those items that require extra accountability.
- Trust and empower the people you care for to take care of themselves so that you can take care of yourself.
- Make it easier for yourself by making your environment conducive to your activities (clean, tidy, relaxing, quiet etc).
- Be present during self-care rituals (don’t think about the next task, what happened earlier that day or feel guilty)
- Start small and build on practices (start with half an hour and build from there)
- Be strong! Stick to the plan. Likewise, don’t be bummed if you can’t, reflect and improve next time.
IIN teaches it’s health coaches that the final piece in creating effective self-care rituals is establishing a positive attitude and a determined mind-set. Through realising and sharing with others that your self-care rituals are essential, you are more accountable to yourself. Make it your ultimate goal to allow yourself the time and space to practice self-care without negative emotions weighing you down. Your energy and enthusiasm for life will shine and you will begin to attract the people and things in your life that you most desire. This should be something you look forward to each time.
We all deserve to feel happy, healthy and present with our lives. We just have to make the choices that ensure we achieve this.
If you are interested in the help of a Health Coach, I am currently conducting FREE 50 minute health history consultations to build my skills and experience ahead of my certification. These can be done in person or via phone/internet. These sessions can lead into a coaching relationship in the future.
Please reach out if you are interested, via my contact page,via email firstname.lastname@example.org or book online at the below link.