Self-care is vital because we matter and it helps us look after those we love far more effectively too. Today I share a guest post from Bree outlining powerful methods of self-care for a healthy mind.
“I have helped many people find their voice through their personal narrative and through my experience, I have discovered that many of my clients do not spend enough time taking care of themselves.
If I could offer one piece of advice it would be to adopt methods of self-care into your daily or weekly routine – just as important as brushing your teeth in the morning. Take care of your mental health first and everything else will fall into place.
There is a great book called Atomic Habits by James Clear. He says that you should remove any barrier standing in your way of creating good, long-standing habits. One example he gives is to put his running shoes and clothes by the door. As soon as he gets home from work, he is ready to get dressed and go for a run, instead of wasting time looking for his socks and shoes. This is a really concrete example of how small changes can make a big impact on your life.
Self-care is the things you do and the things you don’t do for yourself. It isn’t a one-job fix – it is an ongoing practice. That’s why I’ve put together a self-care checklist that you can quickly incorporate into your routine and improve your life:
Tidy up. A clear workspace is a clear mind. When you arrive to work in the mornings and before you start work, take a moment to clear your desk.
Stop beating yourself up. At times, we can all be our own worst enemies. Be careful what you say to yourself. Start policing what words or phrases you use when talking to yourself in the mirror.
Don’t be a crowd-pleaser. It’s ok to say ‘no’. If you don’t want to do something or if you don’t want to meet someone, then don’t. Sometimes, you just need to think about yourself. And taking time out just to relax, go for a walk, take a bath, listen to some music is more important than a diary full of personal and professional appointments with the signs of burnout at the door. You can learn to recognise when you are doing too much before it happens. Notice the signs, and cut back on the social activity. Do something nice, just for you.
Try something new. One of the most positive things to help us feel good about ourselves is to stretch our self-beliefs and self-imposed limits and try something new. It doesn’t have to be a huge commitment. Putting yourself out there, meeting new people and being in a new environment may sound like the last thing you want to do on your Saturday, but it can open up a brand new way of thinking and feeling, about yourself as well as the world around you. I really like these little taster classes. https://uk.funzing.com/. If money is an issue, look into what is being offered for free through your local council or library. There is not a lack of freebies in most places, big and small.
Breathe. Our breath is an important way to calm and relax the mind and also to clear the body from impurities and toxins. There are podcasts that help with this, or you can get some practical one-to-one advice through places like Breathpod.
Practice Gratitude daily. We are all so fortunate to be where we are. We may go through some hard times and there are moments in your life where you may feel that there’s no chance of anything getting any better. Just take a step back and look at your life subjectively. Your personal narrative holds so many moments that you should be grateful for because they have all carried you here.
Each morning, think of one thing that you are grateful for and remind yourself of it throughout the day. This could be your loving family, your beautiful home, your loyal friends.
Help others. If you’re not in a good place yourself, take the time out to help someone else. Whether it’s doing a random act of kindness, helping out a friend, volunteering for a charity or raising awareness for something you believe in, helping others can help you.
Practice meditation daily. You may be thinking of Buddhist monks, who have been uncomfortably sitting on the floor for hours on end with their legs tied together like pretzels. It’s really not like that. Meditation is so easy to do and we all do it – when we stare into space, we’re meditating. When we’re aimlessly looking out the window, we’re meditating. The idea of meditation is to clear our minds and be present. It’s fantastic for your mental health and if you add it to your morning routine, you will soon feel the benefits. Take a look at my article on how to meditate.
There are also some incredible courses – I got started at the Mindfulness Project.
Read before bed. Keep any electrical devices away from your bed. Once you’ve set your alarm on your phone, turn it onto ‘aeroplane mode’ and start reading. It doesn’t have to be much, only a couple of pages but once you incorporate a good bedtime routine, free of white light, your sleeping pattern will greatly improve.
If you are looking for some inspiration, two books that I recommend are Creative Visualisation by Shakti Gawain and The Source: Open Your Mind, Change Your Life, Dr. Tara Swart.
Finally, ask for help. When things seem to be getting a bit too much and you become overwhelmed, turn to someone. You will never be burdening another person and there is so much support out there. Reach out to a friend or family member or contact a professional.”
Bree Verity is the founder of Arc storytelling. Bree and her team of professional coaches assist people in articulating their personal narrative. Speak to one of the Arc professionals today!
What methods of self-care would you recommend to my readers?