Looking after your own health and wellness might inevitably move down your priority list ever so often.
However, routinely dismissing your own needs can be self-sabotaging because it usually has an adverse effect on your overall health. It can make you irritable, fatigued, stressed and susceptible to a full-blown burnout. Staying connected to our own wellbeing, on the other hand, overflows onto everyone around you and helps you be more patient, loving, and joyful. It can lead to less stress, more patience and better focus. Someone that knows a great deal about self-care is our Brand Ambassador, and Mindfulness Teacher Louise (@live_well_with_lou):
“I know that for many of us, self-care seems a luxury because we perceive it to be time-consuming. And when you think about your priorities, making time for self-care probably falls below work, kids, home, or family time. That’s why I created a simple-to-follow guide to help you get back on track and maintain a daily self-care routine effortlessly.
The good news is that finding even 10 minutes for a little self-care each day, a concept known as micro self-care, can make a huge positive difference. The trick is to practice self-care in short intervals, little micro-moments, so you can easily fit these mindset makeover tools into your jam-packed routine. Start with just 10 minutes a day and build it up from there.”
Sounds good? Here are 5 of Louise’s favourite micro self-care tools…
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Do not underestimate the power of a deep breath. Stopping what you’re doing to take a deep breath for a few seconds may be the difference between losing your cool and responding calmly; between feeling overwhelmed and staying focused.
I honestly believe that energy-boosting breathwork can be better than caffeine. Use the power of breath to create an incredible feeling of energy, clarity and focus through your body. This is because proper, controlled breathing ensures an optimal oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange. This is vital for high energy and mental alertness levels. Since oxygen is the breath of life, it’s rocket fuel for the body and mind.
Try this exercise twice a day or whenever you feel yourself losing steam:
*You’re going to have to focus on deep, diaphragmatic breathing. This means you’re not using out chest or upper body to breathe. You are engaging your lower belly as we inhale and exhale. On the inhale, your lower belly should rise outwardly. On the exhale, the lower belly moves inwardly, towards the navel. These movements draw air into the lungs, and not just the upper lungs, as in chest breathing. Diaphragmatic breathing fills every part of your lungs, including the lower parts.
- Deeply exhale with a whoosh sound
- Deeply inhale through the nose for 4, hold for 7, exhale through the mouth for 8
- Repeat for 4 breaths
2. Cup of calm
When you start feeling a little overwhelmed, this is a great ‘2-minute’ self-care tool. Mindful meditation doesn’t need to take a long time, just 2 or 3 minutes can be enough to give you a little space to slow down, press pause, re-connect and re-energise for the rest of the day. So, if you are feeling a little stressed, just take a couple of minutes to practice this ‘cup of calm’ mindful moment …
Make yourself a cup of your favourite warm drink and sit down. For added nutritional benefits, try a cup of mind-nourishing hot chocolate, turmeric latte, or masala chai. Notice three things in this moment – the colour of the drink, the weight of the mug, the feeling of the chair. Then consciously breath into your shoulders, try and relax them down a little and enjoy your cuppa – savouring the flavour. Return gently to the senses whenever you notice the mind straying into thought. Be open to your senses, rather than try to analyse what’s happening.
3. Say no more!
‘No’ is such a small word yet so hard to say without feeling guilty!
Whenever you feel like you're being pulled in a million different directions trying to please everyone, remember that it is okay to say no. You can say no and still be a good friend, colleague, sister, person. Sometimes you’ve just got to take care of YOU.
Saying no is empowering and a massive self-care gift to yourself. Even saying ‘yes’ to things you are ‘meh’ about means you will be out of time and energy for the things you want to give a definite YES to. So if it’s not a hell yeah – it’s a no. Design your life around the good stuff, make space for that first so that the not so good stuff slowly slips away.
Here are a few ways you can say ‘no’
- While my heart wants to say ‘yes’, the reality of what’s on my plate right now makes this a ‘no’ for me at the moment. Thanks for thinking of me.
- I am really touched by your request, and although it’s hard for me to say ‘no’, it is so necessary. I’m grateful that our relationship allows me to be honest about where I am.
- This sounds wonderful and as much as I would love to be involved, I can’t give it the attention it deserves right now. I am cheering for your success!
- No, thank you. (sometimes it can be as simple as that!)
4. Self-love is the new ‘relationship goals’!
Positive affirmations can be a mind-nourishing, powerful way of sending yourself a great dose of positive vibes and a great self-love tool.
They can be grounding, energizing, motivating, inspiring - today let’s make them LOVING and send ourselves some loving kindness.
By starting your day with the repetition of one or more positive affirmations, you set the right intention for the day, brighten your mood and up your confidence. Maybe try writing them down and keep looking at them throughout the day to remind yourself of them.
It may feel awkward at first to say these words to yourself and you won’t even believe them to be true. Don’t let that discourage you from actively using affirmations as a way to take care of yourself because they work miraculously when it comes to taking good care of your body, mind and soul.
Slowly, slowly, day-by-day you will reinforce the messages and train your subconscious mind to tune into the truth of self-love more and more often.
Here are a few of my favourite self-love affirmations:
- Today, I choose me
- I love my body and all it does for me
- I believe in me
- I love the woman that I am
- I am growing and learning every day
- I am deserving of happiness, love, peace, freedom, and anything else I desire
- The more I practice loving myself, the more loveable I become
- I deserve all that is good
- I am loved
5. Assess your energy and mood hoovers!
Self-care is hard and sometimes means setting tricky boundaries and letting go of the stuff that drains us.
I’ve talked quite a lot about how you can boost your energy and shift your mindset with tools you can add into your daily life…but what about the stuff you can LET GO?
What saps your energy and hoovers your mood? What could you do with saying 'goodbye' to in order to fill your self-care cup with a little more energy?
Make a list for yourself, and try to stop just a few of these things. You will gain SO much more quality time in your life. Here are a few ideas for your ‘stop-doing’ list:
- People pleasing
- Negative self-talk
- Overthinking things you cannot change
- Mindlessly scrolling social media
- Negative people
- Dwelling on the past
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