7 Self Care Ideas You Can Start Today
By Mardi Rogers
What does self care mean to you?
Do you make it part of your life? And if not, why not?
Self care hasn’t been something that’s been on many of our radars through life, in fact in western culture it can even be seen as indulgent or selfish to take time for ourselves.
But if you’ve ever known anyone who does take time out, and spends time doing things they love, I’m sure you’ve probably found that not only are they healthier and happier, but they’re much more pleasant to be around. And usually their families are too.
And it makes sense, doesn’t it? In our stressed out, information loaded lives it can be a struggle to make time for the small things that bring us joy, but it’s becoming more apparent that we are harming ourselves if we don’t.
So with that in mind I invite you to start a self-care practice that you love – and (here’s the tricky part) MAKE IT A PRIORITY.
Of course that doesn’t mean get stressed because it’s yet another thing to add to your to do list, but it does mean that you are just as important to spend your time on as are all the other people or things you take care of.
An act of loving kindness
Self care is an act of loving kindness towards yourself, and making yourself a priority because you matter too. And so does your fulfilment in life – and your health.
And the beauty of it is you are not just benefiting yourself – but also those close to you – and you can make it as small or elaborate as you like!
Just don’t leave it to the ‘last thing’ that you’ll fit in if you have time. Make the leap to maybe even schedule things in your calendar just for you.
Following are 7 ideas from me, and others that have attended my groups – and feel free to let me know yours so I can add extras to the list.
Take a bath
So simple, yet so relaxing. Even better with maybe some candles and Epson salts to sooth. With our water restrictions sometimes this isn’t an option – so feel the appreciation when you do have a luxurious soak in the tub.
Go for a walk because you enjoy it – not because you ‘have to’ exercise
How often have you gone walking to get your ‘steps’ in for the day and realised that you haven’t even looked around? I do this all the time and I live within walking distance to a beautiful beach but take it for granted and forget to really see it. Take your time, smell, listen, look and hear all that surrounds you. Make your walks a sensory experience you enjoy.
Listen to your favourite music or watch a good film or documentary
Music and film are arts that can take us to different places. Find what uplifts you and relish the time spent rather than thinking you ‘should’ be doing something more productive. I love a good You Tube or Gaia TV documentary, or listening to stories of inspiring people, or sometimes just dancing around my living room to my favourite music can be just what I need to get out of my own fixed perspective and see life from another way – that is less stressful.
Do nothing (but sit and contemplate doing nothing)
Have you ever tried to do nothing? Not meditate, not read, not do anything. Part of my homework for yoga teacher training was to do nothing for 15mins a few times a week. It sounds kind of easy – especially for someone like me who enjoys a good lazy morning, but I soon realised that my ‘lazy’ times usually included doing something. Maybe reading, calling my family, checking facebook etc. I invite you to see what happens when you sit and do nothing. What happens in your body – do you have an urge to check your phone, go to the fridge, or do something. The stronger that urge is shows us how wound up we are. It might not be 15 minutes for you, but try just doing nothing every now and then, and teach your body what it’s like to be truly still.
Make a date with yourself – find your me time
So often we feel funny spending time on our own, but what if you were to treat yourself. Just you. It could be a nice meal at a cafe you’ve always wanted to visit, or maybe it’s an ice cream and a walk on the beach – or maybe it’s both. While this can be awkward when you first do it, it can become a special treat that you can look forward to.
A little while ago I began carving out a date day – ‘Me Monday’ which I stick to most weeks (doesn’t always happen but it makes them sweeter when they do). I (usually) leave the WiFi off, and ignore emails etc. And pretty much mark myself as N/A to everything -unless it’s something for self care. This is my free day where I might spend extra time on my yoga mat for enjoyment, read an interesting book, have something yummy for lunch – and just be free. I understand a full day isn’t an option for many people – but could you block out a Tuesday afternoon, or some other time, and make your ‘me time’ special?
Write yourself a thank you note
When was the last time you told yourself how great you are? So often our internal dialogue veers towards the critical – but we all do more good than bad. And we rarely take the time to acknowledge ourselves for the good we’ve done. So write a note – Dear (me), thank you for……. You might even like to go so far as to buy a lovely card and post it to yourself.
Have some fun
What lights you up? Having fun is good for the body and soul but so often we grow up and loose our sense of fun. Re-discover your child like enthusiasm – maybe you love tinkering on a musical instrument that’s been buried at the back of your cupboard, or painting and drawing cats, doing craft and getting out the glue gun, baking cookies or taking photos of bugs in the garden. What delights you? Go do it!
Self care is something that can change how we cope with the world. Please let me know if you have any favourites you’d like to add to the list 🙂