Have you heard of the saying “you can’t pour from an empty cup”?
Continuing to give your energy away without refilling leads to burn out, negative thoughts and behaviours and you feeling less than your fabulous self.
This is definitely true and something I’ve experienced when my self care has been placed at the bottom of the list.
Self care seems to be the latest buzzword in the wellness industry, but actually it’s so much more than a fad – it’s a way of life. You might think that self care sounds selfish, but really it’s essential to our health and wellbeing. Caring for and loving yourself as if you were your own best friend can make the difference between feeling fatigued, grumpy and negative or feeling calm, vivacious and radiant.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some days when I forget to act like my own best friend and I really notice when this has happened. The difference in how I feel when I don’t care for myself and when I do is clear for anyone to see:
I feel calm
I feel in flow
I feel happy
I’m more kind to myself and others
I eat healthy food
I feel like I DO have the time
I can think clearly
No Self Care
I feel stressed
I feel anxious
I’m short tempered and inpatient
I feel overly sensitive I eat junk food
I feel exhausted
I’m rushing around
You can see the difference in the language I have used to describe how I feel. Can you relate to any of these feelings when you do/don’t practice self care?
As with all good things, if you put in a little effort the reward in how you feel and how others feel around you is immense! Here’s a few small ways you can actively care for yourself:
We’re all missing hugs from our friends and families right now aren’t we? Why not give yourself a hug throughout the day, you could even incorporate a little bit of that magical practice of yoga into it too for an extra dose of self care.
Eagle pose is a fantastic balance pose that you can do to bring your mind into the present moment, improving your focus, to stretch tense shoulders and hips, to strengthen your legs, back and core but also to give yourself a great big hug!
Standing, Bend your knees, press your hips back and bring your weight into your heels. Cross one leg over the other either at the ankle or thigh.
Reach your arms forward, turn your palms up and then cross one arm (the same side arm as your lifted leg) on top of the other.
Either hug your hands around your shoulders, or wrap your forearms and link your hands.
If you’d prefer to do this seated – you can either do the same positioning as the legs – just in your seat or leave that bit out completely. Repeat the same process for the arms.
Rest and Relax
Legs Up The Wall pose is up there with the kings of calming poses. This restorative pose eases stress, sends blood flow to your core – improving digestion and relieving headaches, calms the nerves and on another note relieves swollen ankles and varicose veins!
Simply find a wall and lay down on your back with your bum close to the wall. Gently lengthen your legs up the wall in whatever position feels comfortable. You might want a blanket or small cushion under your lower back or head for extra support if you feel uncomfortable in these areas.
Stay for as long as you can!
Finding 5-10 minutes of quiet, stillness and focus (also known as meditation) is endless benefits. If you’re new to meditation then a body scan can be one of the easiest and most relaxing ways you can start.
Here’s a link to a guided full body scan for you to download and listen to daily. Before bed is best so you can have an amazing sleep or any time you feel you need to release some tension.
With regular practice here are just some of the benefits you could experience from either listening to a guided meditation or finding some time to be still, quiet and focused on your own (try sitting on a wall/bench looking at the sea, or finding a tree to sit against and watching nature, maybe close your eyes and take in the sounds):
- Clearer mind
- Understanding your unique body and mind better
- Increasing calmness from within
- Feeling more positive and motivated
- More relaxed
- Release tension, stress or anxiety
Although we’re on lockdown, we are very fortunate to be able to go outside for exercise. Take advantage of this and make a daily walk part of your self care kit. Bing out in nature helps our mind and body recover from sensory overload from computers/tv/Wi-Fi etc. You can absorb vitamin D and get your circulation flowing, keeping your body and mind feeling healthy and strong.
These are just some little suggestions that you can do to actively bring self care in to your day. Give them a go and let me know how you feel. Or if you come up with any other self care ideas, I’d love to know.
For more, check out my social media platforms where you can find more on self care, yoga, meditation, pilates and loads of other interesting things.