Tennee | April 25, 2018
“You can’t pour from an empty vessel,
take time to fill yourself with acts of self care”.
This evening as I forced my aching bones into a bath tub filled with epsom salt and essential oils, my mind drifted to earlier days before endless tasks involving raising kids, cooking, cleaning, driving and working. There was a time before children when I prioritized my need for quiet and and took to writing and contemplation and reading. These days when I forget to practice self care, I “pay the piper” physically, and I doubt I am alone in this.
In this day and age, self care tends to be captured on Instagram and social media and displayed in the cliche form of luxuries such as spa treatments and vacations. But what if the bones of self care are less grandiose than that and more simplistic yet meaningful?
What does it mean to care for yourself?
Everyone is going to equate caring for themselves uniquely. We all have different needs and caring for yourself means you first identify your needs and then find ways to meet them. There are different ways to do this.
In the world of nutrition, self care might look like:
- Eating right to feed your body, not your cravings.
- Getting enough sleep (8+ hours a night)
- Exercising your body daily
- Quieting the mind with a daily practice
It sounds so simple and yet I cannot tell you how many people I talk to that fail to accomplish these basic tenets of self care. The excuses are many, but how many times have you told yourself: “I don’t have enough time” or” I am too busy” or “I’ll try it...later.”
What I find is that my personal versions of self care change, sometimes daily, and if I don’t take time to check in with myself and evaluate where my needs are, I loose touch with my body and my mind...that is until I neglect myself to the point where I am forced to take inventory.
6 Key Self Care Hacks to Nourish your Body, Mind, and Spirit
1. First and Foremost: Create a self care routine.
A routine will enable a action to become ingrained into your reality. This is not something to occasionally make time for, but rather its an essential foundational piece of your day. In my house all my kids have some form of self care routine established. For example my teenage son is committed to taking a bath nightly. This is an absolute priority for him for at the end of a long day it helps him find respite in a world of constant stimuli.
Find something healthy that promotes peace and calm and STICK with it. Set a goal if you need to and write it on the calendar to do so, but prioritize your self care time, like you would an appointment. The first step is often the hardest one, but if you stick with it, your life will reflect the difference it makes.
2. Begin your day with a ritual check in - without electronics!
Start your morning without your phone. Have a cup of tea or coffee without anyone or anything else asking for your energy. Take time at the start of the day to write out your thoughts and goals for the day. Yes this may require waking up before everyone else, but I guarantee it will be worth it. If you are a goal setter and a planner like me, you may enjoy working in a book highly recommended by productivity guru Tim Ferris called a “Productivity Planner.” Based on the Pomodoro Technique, this little book helps the mind organize and plan productivity in a very simple and concise manner.
3. Find a way to calm your mind
If you have ever sat a Vipassana meditation or any meditation retreat that takes place over a course of days, you can attest to the blissful inner calm that results. Taking time each day to quiet the mind is a must if you give to others and studies show that this pays off in all aspects of your life. If you don’t have experience with meditation, you can start with something as easy as listening to Tara Brachs “2010 Smile Meditation” first thing in the morning. This is a guaranteed method designed to nourish your inner Buddha.
4. Take time to laugh
Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, conflict and pain. Watch a funny movie, listen to a humorous podcast or practice laughter yoga. Anything that stimulates laughter will boost your immune function and reduces the stress hormone cortisol in your body.
5. Count your blessings
Can you wake up in the morning and name five things you are thankful for? Even if only for the fact that you have a body. Take inventory on your life and give thanks. Gratitude upgrades your hormones from oxytocin to cortisol and feeds your neurotransmitters including dopamine and serotonin.
6. Take time to give back
There are many ways to give back. Seva is a sanskrit word that means selfless service. Find your personal form of Seva. It can take any form and may be as simple as a smile. Giving to others in any way shape or form is a beautiful way to live and give back to life.
For some, self care is a priority, for others it is the last thing on your “to do” list. I challenge you to find new ways to practice self care and see if it makes your day brighter and lighter.
Wishing you a radiant reality!
Thanks for reading my blog.
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