As a professional coach, Satyananda yoga teacher, hypnotherapist and Psychology student, the concept of self-care is not only an ethical recommendation but it is about psychological health and wellbeing. It is interesting to me how many people see self-care as a new-age nice-to have. Before I continue, it is important to define self-care which according to many medical health professionals, this term refers to one’s ability to take care of themselves on a mental, emotional and physical level and thus, self-care is not about being self-indulgent or selfish. In fact, Paula Gill Lopez, an associate professor in the psychological field, highlights that we have an epidemic of anxiety and depression due to the lack of self-care. As a result, constructs such as distress and burnout are a common result of poor self-care and the inability to take time for self-support.
When looking at self-care, it is necessary to grow your awareness around what self-care looks like for you. It may be a simple physical act of self-soothing through a bubble bath or it may be a more mental process of setting boundaries as a way to know your limits. So, if you are serious about shifting away from burnout and especially due to the highly driven fearful environment we are currently exposed to, you have to learn to tap out of the collective and tune into yourself so that you can move away from feeling depleted and fatigued and move into a space of connection and rejuvenation for yourself.
Another therapeutic process that I invite you to observe when you give time to self-caring is the idea of your narrative and how it is vital to observe your story and words around self-care. For example, you may say, “I don’t have time to self-care,” which in fact, what you are really saying is that YOU are not a priority but rather actions such as scrolling for five minutes on Instagram is more important. So, hold yourself accountable, and check-in with yourself. This is about moving away from self-sabotaging and moving into self-mastery.
Ways to start your self-care exploration:
1. What does self-care look like for you?
a. Understand your ideas around self-care
b. Where do these ideas come from?
c. Take time to get to know yourself better and grow your awareness...
2. What do you enjoy doing?
a. How can you connect this to your self-care routine?
b. Can you create small self-care processes ranging from 5 to 20 minutes?
3. Emotionally: Setting Boundaries
a. Know what is okay and not okay for you?
b. Can you leave the baggage at the door after a long work day?
c. How do you let go?
d. Observe where you are at on an energy level – whether over or under stimulated and make use of the breath to help balance your system. Take a look at the video below.
4. Mentally: Talk to yourself like your best friend
a. Connect to complimenting yourself and move away from criticising yourself.
b. Challenge your thinking and back-up your insights with facts. For example, if you say “I always mess up…” ask yourself, when are the times that I have not messed up?
5. Physically: Sleep; Food and Health
a. Sleep is a vital component to health. If your sleep is being triggered at the moment, make use of apps such as Insight Timer or Sleep Cycle to tune into meditative processes and to learn more about your sleep cycle so that you can work on improving your overall sleep.
b. How do you nourish your body? Often our health takes the backseat when we are stressed, but giving your body nourishing foods will help support your blood sugar levels and acclimatise your stress levels.
c. Can you exercise daily? Sure, we may not have time but why not try Doctor Zach Bush’s 4-minute workout? Exercise has been linked to improving mental health as exercise helps release brain bliss chemicals such as serotonin. Here is the 4-minute video: https://youtu.be/PwJCJToQmps
Tuning into self-care processes that make sense for you requires self-awareness, so allow yourself to take time to explore what works and does not work for you. Move into discipline and regularity and allow self-care to become a daily gift you give yourself in the short-term so that you do not have to deal with bigger problems with your health and wellbeing in the long term.
I am here to support you, whether it is through the online mantra and primordial sound course coming up which is an excellent way to learn how to calm the clutter of your mind, whether it is through in-person Hatha yoga classes or Yoga Nidra and relaxation classes, whether it is through self-development coaching or access bars and sound relaxation sessions or maybe it is an ozone therapy session to help release toxins from your physical body. I also offer retreats for individuals and corporates focused on providing you or your team with a whole-body support system.
Take the time to reconnect with yourself. You have got this.