Over the past ten years of my working life I’ve noticed a few things about people. I’ve seen a shift in the focus we (as in, us humans) place on our careers, money, our social lives and not a lot of focus on actually looking after ourselves.
We’re living in a time when we are more accessible than ever before (hello mobile phone glued to my hand), we work longer hours than our grandparents ever did (sorry Dolly, 9 to 5 is no longer a thing), and we’re spending so much time sitting on our butts behind screens that may or may not be sending us blind. There appears to be more stress in people’s lives than we’ve probably ever been taught to deal with so I think it’s time we stop and take a long hard look at the serious lack of self care present in our day-to-day.
I’m guilty of allowing myself to become a stressed, overworked, angry mess. I’ve previously taken my stress from work home with me and it’s has eaten me up from the inside. I’ve definitely pushed myself to my limits at points in my working life when I thought I’d have a mental breakdown. I’ve placed so much expectation on myself over the years that often nothing I did or achieved was ever good enough in my own books. Does any of this sound familiar to you too? I’m almost guaranteed you’d be able to relate to at least one of these ‘self sabotaging’ habits.
Thinking back on times when I’ve made myself feel sick over what now seems so silly makes me realise how little I cared for my mental state throughout my life, and how much I really should have cared. The health and wellness industries are booming now more than ever, and it’s no wonder! So few of us are actually placing an emphasis on our health and making it a priority in our lives. I decided not too long ago that I’d stop beating myself up when I needed to take a break. I used to guilt myself for wanting to take a day or weekend off work and for a while I didn’t even really know what it felt like to relax without feeling guilty.
I’ve been exploring how to put together a ‘self care ritual’ for the times when I feel like my body, and most importantly my mind, need a bit of time out. Here are a few things I’ve been embracing that might inspire you too.
5 Simple Self Care Practices to Implement Today
Take a walk (in nature, not on the treadmill) for at least 30 minutes
This one has to be the most simple of practices, but trust me, it’s effective. If there’s one thing I learned at my recent experience with Tony Robins (more about that here), it’s this: to change the way you are feeling you first need to change your physiology. Just by getting out of the house and moving you’ll instantly feel less stressed. I love this time outside and I used to really undervalue it. I used to think it was a waste of time and I could be hustling hard at my desk in those 30 minutes but truth be told, I often get out and go for a walk when I’m feeling my least productive. If I hit a bit of a block in my design work or I’m just really stuck on a client job I’ll get up, go outside, grab my dog and just walk. I’ve seen a huge increase in my productivity in the times I’ve embraced this practice, and it’s so simple.
Diffuse essential oils
I have been wanting to write about my love for essential oils for some time now, and this post is so fitting for a quick wrap up on explaining how amazing essential oils are! I’ve been using doTERRA essential oils for a few months now and I’m really seeing the benefits in my daily life. I started out by purchasing a ‘home essentials kit’ with about 10 starter oils and a diffuser. It was a significant investment to purchase these high-grade oils so I was committed to giving them a go. I’ve since realised I’ve been using them almost daily for a whole swag of things, but my favourite way to use them is for health and wellbeing.
I love to use Wild Orange in the diffuser to make the house feel fresh and clean and Balance or Lavender in the bath or in the diffuser for relaxing. Travis and I have both had flu symptoms recently so I diffused OnGuard and Easy Air in the bedroom to rid the room of germs and even Travis agreed he found them to work and make him feel less congested when he woke. This week I have been drinking a drop of OnGuard and Lemon in water every morning to help with a sore throat, and in about 3 days my sore throat has cleared up.
I swear by these little bottles of goodness and highly recommend trying them out for yourself. There’s a lot of information on the benefits of essential oils online and if you have any questions or want to know how to purchase doTERRA yourself, just send me a message and I’d be happy to help.
Start a basic yoga practice
I know a lot of people (including my sister) who really don’t enjoy yoga, or don’t see the benefits, but I swear by it. I’m not very good at meditating and people often think yoga is only about meditation, which is not entirely true. I love the way yoga gets our bodies moving in the simplest of ways. Where I live yoga classes are offered a couple of times a week but sometimes I can’t make the classes so I rely on a free app called Yoga Academy to help me get in a quick yoga class when I need.
The app is simple and offers quick, beginner or intermediate classes that last as little as 14 minutes! It’s so handy if you’re traveling, or just stuck at home and need to stretch after sitting at the desk for too long. Yoga is incredible for stretching tired muscles, realigning the body and slowing your breathing down. If you haven’t tried it, I would pop this one on top of your list and see if you gain something from even a short session.
Start a gratitude journal or practice
Earlier this year I wrote about my daily gratitude project I started in an attempt to adapt the principles of slow living. Being grateful for even the smallest things in life can change your overall outlook and I found it really started to make me appreciate the things I am so blessed to have. Try not to get too caught up in trying to think of huge, significant things to be grateful for each day because you can be grateful for the small, insignificant things that bring you just as much joy. A great example is, “I am grateful for the beautiful spring weather we’ve been experiencing today”, or another one could be “I am so grateful my kids slept through the night”. Anything you can acknowledge as something good in your life is worth jotting down.
If you’re not the pen and paper type of person, I have previously spoken about the Day One app for photographing and documenting what you’re grateful that day. It’s a great app that I really love for keeping a record of this kind of thing.
Take a bath
This is one of my favourite self care rituals! I know not everyone is a lover of the bath tub, but for me it’s one of my favourite things! There’s something about running a warm bath with or without bubbles (I also love to add essential oils like Lavender or Balance for added zen), and reading a book, drinking a glass of wine, burning a candle and soaking there for 30 minutes or more. Sometimes I ban myself from taking my mobile in the bathroom with me because I often get distracted scrolling my social media when I really want to be using this time to relax and disconnect. If I’m feeling really ready to unwind I’ll head to Spotify and pick a playlist like ‘Lazy Sunday’ or ‘Gentle Acoustic’ and kick back to the tunes. Soooo relaxing and a great way to fill up your cup!
How to get started
If self care is a priority to you I know you’ll make the time for implementing some of these rituals into your weekly (or daily if you feel the need) routines. But, if you’re struggling to let go and walk away from the pressures of your job my advice is to just start small.
Start by setting aside a moment this week to let yourself just be. Be quiet during a meditation or yoga class, or read that book you’ve been meaning to finish for the past six months while soaking in the tub! Sundays are the perfect day for self care because we’re often in ‘switch off’ mode already and you’re less likely to feel guilty about the pressures of your life and career. Give it a go and I promise your mind and body will thank you for it.
I’d love to hear if you have any other rituals you use regularly to help switch off and slow down. Leave me a comment or send me an email,
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