Self-care is like brushing teeth
you need to do it every day!
Most of us agree with the age old wisdom of self-care: taking time to do things that energise and replenish ourselves physically and mentally.
But how do we practice self-care in our busy lives?
How do we develop the benefits of a happier mind, a healthier body and have a more meaningful time for ourselves?
Here, I will share a few simple and practical ideas for creating self-care as a daily habit.
While self-care is wired into our brain as a natural survival instinct for each person, it has been largely neglected in practice due to the demands of family and community – also wired into our neurology – as social creatures. This is not just a saying but indeed, science tells us that two key evolutionary advantages that enable humans to become a dominant species are our ability to create large societies, and our ability to have group beliefs in intellectual and virtual concepts (such as capitalism and religion). To thrive in societies, “self-care” and “care for others” are both vital skills.
We all have priorities to others in our lives, but to neglect self-care is to neglect both imperatives. Think about it! If you do not attend to self-care, you cannot effectively provide care for anyone else. Which means that self-care is not selfish but really something that you must do first! It is taking care of YOU before you can provide care to others. Self-care is not a luxury, it is as essential as brushing your teeth! AND how often do you brush your teeth? Self-care is something you need to practice every day – doing things that energise your body, mind and spirit – so you feel a little more calm, content, lighter or had more space in your head and so on… even bringing on a smile or two…
How to fit self-care into your daily routines? Make it a habit for yourself! Start by doing a simple activity that feels energising or just feels good for you! But do it for only TWO MINUTES! Here are a few ideas to kick off your imagination:
- Sit on the grass for a cuppa!
- Have a nice chat with your neighbour;
- Take a walk and smell the roses – Yes, actually stop to notice the fragrance!
- Look up and notice what shapes the clouds remind you of?
- Flap your arms like seagulls about to take off to the skies …
- Raise your arms in victory! (Studies actually show that this body language instantly makes a person feel more powerful!)
- Do ten push-ups!
- Lie down on your yoga mat and hold your favourite yoga pose for 2 minutes.
- Take three deep “belly” breaths by extending your abdomen with each inhalation and squeezing inwards when exhaling.
- Try a 2-minute power nap! (Close your eyes, empty your mind, and rest your body!)
- Splash some cold water on your face! (Seawater would be an amazing alternative!)
- Sing a song that makes you smile! (Extra points if you can sing and smile at the same time!)And any other activity that comes to mind that will energise you!
You get the picture? The amazing thing is that doing something for two minutes, and repeating it daily, at the same place and same time (where possible), will actually create in you a daily habit such that you will be practicing this self-care activity effortlessly with the power of routine habits – just like brushing your teeth! But there’s more – this little two minute daily habit of self-care becomes something you can then enlarge or refine – by increasing the time for enjoying the activity – to 5 minutes, then 10 minutes, then an hour, etc, or by adding another step to your activity, like do three yoga poses instead of one, of 10 push-ups and 10 sit-ups, or even go and enjoy a massage! etc. By steadily building upon this self-care practice habit, you will start to create and maintain a routine that will become a steady part of your daily life that will nourish you! And you will surely reap the benefits of a happier mind, a healthier body and a more meaningful life!
Want to know more? Some ideas in this blog arose from an Audible book that the wonderful Management at Physiowest have selected for team enrichment. Book title: Atomic Habits – Tiny changes, remarkable results. Author: James Clear;
Start your self-care journey with a massage with Alan today: