10-Minute Morning Yoga Flow + 10 Essentials for a winning self-care practice
Making a conscious effort to support and boost your physical and mental health is something that goes hand-in-hand with genuine self-care.
The topic of self-care is an extensive one and involves an ongoing commitment if it is to become (and remain) a beneficial aspect of your life. True self-care involves addressing your physical, emotional and spiritual needs, and this is something that most of us will occasionally need help with.
If you understand the benefits of self-care, but find it difficult to be consistent with your efforts, then the following ten tips are for you!
1. Be Grateful Every Day
It is incredible how helpful expressing gratitude to others can be for your own happiness. You may do this silently to yourself or actually extend this gratitude to those you are grateful to
Keeping a gratitude journal is great for this. Journaling helps to get your thoughts out of your mind and into the world, and puts energy in action. It’s also exciting because you will inevitably be creating a long list of all of the positives in your life, which you can then revisit at any time (especially when you really need it most).
2. Put Yourself First
Supporting your family and friends, emotionally or otherwise, can take many forms. While such gestures and efforts are wonderful, they can become overwhelming if you commit to too much. When this happens it can become all the more difficult to care for yourself. This in turn means you are actually less able to help others adequately. As they say, one can’t pour from an empty pitcher.
When you make the decision to put yourself first, and only take on as much as you can realistically manage, then you will be better able to practice self-care consistently.
3. Nourish Yourself
Allow yourself to eat when you feel hungry instead of sticking to a rigid schedule, and always try to eat the foods that you know are going to nourish you. By this I mean the whole foods that are full of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients — the foods that provide sustainable energy and help to cleanse and protect your body.
Listen to your body and let it tell you what it needs, when it needs it! You will not only benefit physically, but emotionally too. And if your body is craving junk — ask it why. What are you craving on a deeper level that the junk food will never satisfy?
4. Set Your Boundaries
If you don’t understand your own boundaries (within your family, your relationships, the workplace), then it will be impossible and unreasonable to expect anybody else to respect them! This is an essential component of self-care, because it is concerned with knowing and respecting yourself — and ensuring that others do too.
5. Prioritize Your Sleep Cycle
When you aren’t sleeping well, your self-care is often the first thing to be neglected. Prioritizing your sleep cycle entails always putting this aspect of your routine first. This can mean saying no to certain social events if they take place late at night, or being strict with yourself about not watching another episode of that new show that’s got you hooked. Note that alcohol and sugar are notorious for interrupting sleep patterns as well.
Furthermore, having a set time that you go to bed and wake each morning can truly help to get your body into a healthy sleep pattern — that and detaching from electronics an hour before bed. Your body and mind will soon adapt to and appreciate this routine, leading to a more positive and motivated mindset each day.
6. Be Digitally Strict
When you continuously engage with your digital devices, your self-care can suffer.
As a society, we have become increasingly dependent (dare I say addicted) upon our digital devices. And, although this technology has become essential in some respects, it is also quite time consuming and can become an unwanted distraction.
Being mindful of how much of your time and attention you give to your digital devices will directly impact your wellbeing.
7. Schedule Time For Yourself
Having time alone to process your thoughts and focus solely on yourself is critical. This in itself is a bold act of self-care and can help you not only quiet the mind, but additionally hit the reset button on any negativity that you may have recently encountered.
However you spend this time is totally up to you. You could meditate, you could lie down and rest, you could drink a tea, go for a walk — do whatever it is that you feel inclined to do in order to slow things down a bit. The important thing is that you commit to having this time to yourself and that you consciously work to maintain positivity. Listen to what your body and soul are calling for.
8. Keep Moving
Staying still for too long is not only bad for your physical health, but will affect you mentally as well!
Making an effort to move your body regularly throughout the day will actually help to keep your energy levels up and encourage feelings of positivity to thrive. This makes it all the more likely that you will persist with caring for yourself.
This can take the form of regular exercise, such as going to the gym, attending an exercise class, or playing group sports. It can also be as simple as getting up to stretch and walk around at intervals throughout the day.
9. Be Kind
Being kind to yourself and also to those around you is a simple way to keep positivity at the forefront of your mind.
Allow yourself to feel your feelings. Beating yourself up for moments of negativity will only lead to further negative feelings. Like attracts like. Conversely, being kind to oneself and those around you via extending compassion — in turn elevates the energy for all.
10. Journal The Journey
The more we practice, the better the practice. Journaling can help you recognize good health habits. And don’t forget to document the wins! Write down how you felt after a great self-care victory — whether you tried something new or protected your boundaries. In the moments that you feel as though you don’t have the energy or the enthusiasm to take care of yourself, look back and recall how you felt when you did do so. Tap into that good stuff! With a journal it will be simple to revisit the amazing moments and keep yourself motivated. They don’t call it a process for nothing!
Remember the journey — celebrate the good, remind yourself of the bad and how far you’ve traveled, how strong and resilient you are when you dedicate to one thing — self-care.
Start somewhere, anywhere amongst this list. Watch new patterns and practices emerge. Witness joy and watch it trickle into the rest of your life — all the while, the things that no longer serve you fade away. You’ve got this!
You may also enjoy Taking Charge: The Key To Our Aliveness by Anodea Judith