Life can seem busy. It’s easy to feel like we’re always caught running and doing something, but sustaining a busy lifestyle isn’t always in our best interests. Usually, the first thing to get pushed aside is the time for self-care. Neglecting our physical or emotional health leads to feeling overwhelmed, stressed and anxious.
If you have issues with insomnia, headaches, and feel like you’re always dragging then your body might be sending you a message. It might be time to consider some simple shifts in your habits to boost your health.
There isn’t a quick fix or magic pill to solve the problem. When you are at the point you can’t fit everything in; it’s a red flag moment. You are being signaled to slow down and take a look at how you can care for yourself. We all need to ‘switch off’ and have ‘me time’ every once in a while.
There are a few things we can do to encourage our bodies and minds to switch off and rest. These don’t have to cost money. They do require time and a smidge of self-discipline and self-love. We need to nurture and nourish, so the mind and body unwind.
Most people should be getting 7–8 hours of sleep a night. We need the kinds of mornings where we wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. Sleep is rejuvenating. Even being able to take a 90-minute nap can be revitalizing to the soul. However, you can’t sleep when your mind is racing. Here are some ideas that help me get a good night’s sleep.
- Turn off the computer, tablets, and phones by 8.30pm. The screens emit a blue light tricking your brain into thinking it’s daytime.
- Get the T.V. and cell phone out of the bedroom. You don’t need either in the room to sleep.
- Have a glass of hot water, chamomile tea or turmeric milk an hour before bedtime.
- Have a warm bath. Add some lavender essential oil for relaxation.
- Make sure your bedroom linen smells and feels fresh.
- Eat dinner at least 2 hours before bedtime.
- Get to sleep before 11 pm. The earlier, the better.
- Make sure the bedroom is cool and dark.
A lot of people struggle with the idea of regular meditation. Most excuses focus on being too busy, not having enough time, or having too many thoughts going through our mind. When you notice these reasons coming up, it’s a warning sign alerting you to establish a regular meditation practice.
Research has found meditation improves your mental and physical wellbeing. Even if you do just 2 minutes a day, the results will help you feel grounded and healthy. With consistent practice, you’ll find it easier to return to a centered feeling in the middle of chaos. I first tried meditation as part of my yoga practice, and it did wonders for my mental awareness and relaxation.
Most people think meditation means sitting for hours, changing your diet and giving up your vices. But actually, a beginner can start just by focusing thoughts and attention on one thing. It’s that simple.
Put a timer on for 2 minutes, close your eyes, and concentrate on the breath coming in and out, at the tip of your nose. Or, focus on the rise and fall of your chest. Your mind will wander. Just notice your thoughts, then go back to the physical sensation of the breath. As your thoughts wander again, bring it back to the awareness of your breath. Simple. The timer goes off. You thank yourself for doing one small act towards your health.
Stick with the easy techniques to start, then move onto the more advanced practices. Don’t complicate it. The benefit is in silencing the mind and bringing it back to one thing.
Healthy eating is the greatest thing you can do to nourish and care for yourself daily. You may have to make a mind shift to appreciate the benefit entirely.
We need to comprehend that when we’re cooking up the big pot of soup, preparing a yummy salad, or putting the slow cooker on in the morning; it’s the epitome of self-care.
When you eat, sit down and acknowledge you’re nourishing and nurturing your body from the inside. We often miss opportunities to connect and appreciate ourselves by looking after our body and fueling it with healthy food.
Reading for Pleasure
Get a cup of herbal tea, turn off the T.V., run a bath or sit in your favorite chair. Shut out the outside world for 30 minutes of self-care. Pick up a book or magazine and read for pleasure. Make sure it isn’t for work. Something you enjoy. Pure relaxation and enjoyment. Reading is when your mind regenerates and taps into your creativity.
Remember to listen to your body and watch for the triggers that something isn’t right. Use this list to help nurture and nourish your body and mind. While these ideas are not exhaustive of all you might want to try, they are most effective if you can make them habits in your daily routine. Make the time to practice some long overdue self-care — your body will thank you for it.
What habits do you use to boost self-care?
Originally published at www.choosingwisdom.org.