How to put self-care into practice

By December 16, 2016 Blog
December 16, 2016 Blog

Hello lovely one,

While we’re still hard at work on the new website and finishing up some exciting work for this year (more to follow soon!), I wanted to share some further thoughts on how to put self-care into practice. The last post was about creating a mindset shift, where we talked about the importance of reframing self-care from something that is selfish or indulgent to essential to our being. Today, I’d like to take the next step and talk about seeing how we can put self-care into practice. Might be something that you’d like to use as well for the upcoming holidays, I know that for some of you, this can be quite a stressful time.

Also very happy to share this Self-care for the givers workbook with you, which includes a set of questions that can help you to take stock of your self-care, identify what you would like it to be and identify some things that you could set up.

At its heart self-care is about self-love. Love is a verb, it is something we need to put into practice and take action on, and we can do by taking the following steps:

  1. Taking the time out to really hear yourself and see what you need. This can be dedicated time that you create for yourself on an ongoing basis. Once a day, week or month for longer, whatever works best for you.

So what does checking in with yourself mean? At its most basic, it’s about asking yourself a range of questions to see how you are doing at a mental, emotional, physical and spiritual level. This can be done through meditation, journaling, working with a coach or healer of some kind, or whatever it is where you feel you can take time out to really see and feel how you’re doing.

Personally, I really enjoy journaling as it helps me to process my thoughts and feelings and clarify what’s going on with me. This doesn’t mean that you have to write a novel, my journaling practice is more a 10 minute a day activity and I usually take a longer time at the start of each month to set my goals and review how I’m doing.

And in this, handwriting wins from typing anytime, so grab yourself a journal and a pen. With goal-setting in particular, it has been proven that the simple act of writing down your goals improves your chances of achieving them. So for your self-care, write down what your intention is for your self-care and why.

  1. Look into different self-care practices and figure out what works for you. In essence, just try different things!

There are a ton of great resources online, so I don’t want to just add yet the tried and tested. I know that most of you would sign-up for a nice warm relaxing bath or a massage in a heartbeat, or that you know by now, that you should be eating mostly veggies, hydrate like you’re the Sahara desert and sleep at least 7-8 hours. And please don’t forget the exercise, get that body moving.

While by no means have I got myself completely covered in all these areas, I have included some of my self-care practices that you could also consider:

  • How many times have I already said journal? So yes, journaling is a big one for me. Enough said.
  • Meditation and/or breathing exercises. Calming the nervous system down is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Bring in calm, out with stress. Bring in love, out with fear. I know I have written about meditation before, but really just 10 minutes a day can already make a difference. If meditation is not for you, breathing can be highly effective too. A simple breath counting up to 4, holding, and then out to 4 can work its magic very quickly.
  • Slow things down & become more intentional. This can also mean spending time on thinking through how you want to lead your life and what your priorities are. Further thoughts on slowing down in “The busyness trap and how to slow down”. And what better time of year to do so as we’re coming to the end of the year. More resources on this coming your way too soon…!
  • See a coach, therapist or healer. Invest that time in yourself to process what might still be holding you back, get clear on how you’re doing, and seeing what’s in the way of you living your best life. For me, this is self-care 101. I have had the luck to work with a range of therapists and coaches throughout my own life, and they have all had a deep and profound effect on my life.
  • Take personal responsibility, set boundaries and say no. We touched upon this in my last post. The simple fact is that no one else is responsible for your well-being other than you. You can’t wait for others to give you permission to do so. This can be hard sometimes as you need to be honest with yourself and with others about what your needs are. Courage my dear friend…
  • Be ok with feeling whatever it is that you’re feeling. Often we end up telling ourselves stories about what we should be feeling, and push our feelings away. This disempowers you, takes you away from the reality of what is, and even worse, stores the negative energy in your body. True power and freedom lie in acknowledging who we are, what we feel and what we need. You’ll likely see that when we can allow ourselves that space to feel whatever it is that we feel, it often means that we can move forward again a lot more quickly.
  • Be kind to yourself and choose your words wisely. What we’re really talking about here is self-compassion: treating yourself with the same kindness as you would a friend rather than the harsh internal critic that most of us have come to know a bit too well. Dr. Kristin Neff, one of the world’s leading experts on self-compassion shares some exercises that you can try on her website.
  • Create and maintain time and space for yourself. That means limiting time at work to create a better work-life balance, and perhaps also limiting time on social media, television, and even news. Try to make sure you have unscheduled time to just do whatever it is that you feel like at the time.
  • Spend time outside and in nature. Get away from the daily grind and create time where you can feel connected to a bigger world away from regular routine and the daily hustle & bustle.

Last and perhaps most importantly, taking stock of our self-care isn’t about creating yet another to-do list of things that others have told you that work.

Self-care more than anything else has to work for you. So be clear about what your intention is for your self-care and see what might work for you.

And with that my dears, we’ve come to the end of today’s post. Don’t forget to download the self-care for the givers workbook. This doesn’t have to take long but see whether you can give yourself some quality time with a cup of tea (or a glass of wine!) and check in with yourself. I hope this resource will be useful to you. And of course, if you have any feedback, please do send it my way.

Have any questions? Need someone to help you think through your self-care practice and what might be holding you back? Send me an email at info@naomisaelens.com

Know someone who might be helped by reading this? Please feel free to send this to them! Just use the links below.

Any particular topics you’re really interested in? Please do let me know – my writing is here with the hope that it brings you something!

With love as always,

Xx Naomi

Leave a Reply