Updated: Aug 10, 2018
We are all guilty of putting other people’s needs before our own, in fact, it’s easier most of the time to focus our time and energy on others than on ourselves. Easier to give others advice on how they could be doing things differently, point out where they are going wrong, and how they should be looking after themselves and their relationships more.
We’re also guilty of keeping ourselves busy with families, work and external chores because the thought of going internal is a little scary! Spending time on ourselves can also seem selfish to both us and others around us, but that’s just through the eyes of the world how it is at the moment. You only have to take a look around at people’s health, both mentally and physically to see that it’s not working.
There is so much disease; anxiety, depression, obesity and addiction, we have to change the way we look after ourselves and stop relying on external supplements and medication to be the magic answer. If we all took time to understand our own needs and necessities a bit more, we would learn how to nurture and bring up the next generations so they know how to treat themselves with more love and respect. Let’s be honest we could all be looking after ourselves a bit more, and ultimately we are the only ones that are going to do it!
Take a look in the mirror, literally. How do you look?
Energised or tired? Have you got a sparkle in your eyes? Is your skin dry or hydrated? Are you at a healthy weight? How do you feel; nourished or lethargic? Are you mentally scattered or seeing things with clarity? What is your quality of sleep like?
Whether you have always felt this way or you have new symptoms, they do not have to become ‘the normal’ and just accepted. We have the ability to change both how we feel and how clear our minds are. Self-care practices allow us to go internal and observe our minds and bodies, giving us insight into how we could be doing things differently.
Energy doesn't only come from the foods we eat, it comes from the air we breathe, the way we choose to spend our time and the quality of our relationships around us.
We’ve all been around people that are sick or negative with their attitudes, and we walk away feeling drained. Then there are other people who are so positive, have a passion for life or enthusiasm for how they are spending their time and we walk away buzzing, feeling inspired. We can’t always choose the people we spend time around, so by adopting practices that refill our cups we become less affected by external situations.
Life is struggled through by a lot of people, and only fully lived by a few. How do you want to spend your life? I’m guessing you want to live it, feel enthusiastic and excited to get out of bed in the mornings. Most people make changes in their lives once they are already sick; but it doesn’t have to be that way. Stress, irritation, tiredness are all signs of disease too, take out a mirror and see how the ways you are spending your energy may be leading to burn out and imbalance.
There are so many ways we can fill our cups. Here are just a few practises we can start to adopt and build into our daily habits that will increase our health, happiness, strength and energy. Have a read through and pick one or possibly two that resonate with you, that you can add into your daily routine this week. I wouldn’t suggest doing them all at once as it can be quite overwhelming and too much change all at once. Trust me it’s taken a long time for me to accept this. As a typical all or nothing person I went all in with these and more, then as soon as one dropped away after a long day, a night out or a holiday, they all fell away. By making small continuous changes we are more likely to build them in as permanent daily habits. (So much more to come on the subjects of daily habits and identity evolution, so watch this space).
Non negotiable’s in our self-care daily routine should include…
Drinking warm water upon arising. Our amazing bodies have been at work all night processing the previous day's food and drink, situations and emotions. By drinking warm water after we wake up we help our bodies flush out all the toxins they have processed, ready to eliminate them. If we aren't hydrated enough our bodies will reabsorb these toxins through our digestive tract and put them back into circulation! Why warm water? Cold water restricts your blood vessels, which can restrict your digestion. Warm water helps to break down food, therefore aids in digestion and helps increase metabolism.
Cleaning our tongues. In Ayurvedic medicine tongue scraping is a daily must. Our tongues are a reflection of our bodies. We can tell so much from what is going on inside by spending 2 minutes each morning, cleaning and observing our tongues. It’s fascinating to see how much a previous days indulgence has affected what is going on inside, and a great way to measure how well we are doing with our self-care…more to come in my talks and another blog!
Move, Breath and Stretch. 20 mins movement in the mornings after hydrating gets the blood and lymph moving, helping to loosen up muscles and increase the flow of energy around our bodies. After eight hours of lying down, the warm water and movement help flush our digestive tract and get it ready to process and digest a new day and all that comes with it.
Meditation. Whatever this looks like to you, do it. Everyone starts at the beginning and has to train this new muscle, so I don’t want to hear “but I can’t do it". What other time of day- apart from when we are asleep- are we not keeping busy and entertained, even if it’s our own monkey minds doing the talking. Sitting with our eyes closed and no distractions, we can start to give our attention to our thoughts, process them and take the power out of them. By giving yourself even just a few minutes to process what is going through your mind, it will help you be more aware and not be so reactive when situations arise.
Take a walk in nature. Because who wouldn’t want to do that! Be present and take in all the beauty around us, smile at the unrelenting and resilient strength of nature. And if you’re not in an area where theres a local park or forest, take a walk down the street. Notice how even with our best efforts, we can’t tame it. How it creeps back up through the cracks in concrete, how someone can prune their garden to an inch of it's life but it doesn’t last, plants and weeds will always grow back. See the humbling beauty in them. We wouldn’t be here without nature, lets take the time to appreciate that and how our actions affect it.
Make yourself a nourishing meal. What we put in our mouths we become…let that sentence settle in. Our bodies are literally made from the very molecules that our foods consist of. The vitamins and minerals in our meals build each and every cell and manage our bodily processes and functions. That’s mind blowing to me, how it took me so long for this to sink in blows my mind! Try asking yourself how you want to feel after your meals. Do you want to feel light and energised? Then eat living foods, not a meal that you know will make you feel heavy and tired. Look at foods in a different light, look at its elements and properties, imagine how it will feel in your body, then decide if you want to consume it. Look at the moisture content of the food you are consuming, the drier and stickier the food, the more it will clog up your channels and make you feel lethargic.
Journalling and gratitude practises. The best time to do these is just before bed. So after you have poured yourself a cup of bedtime tea, locked the doors, turned the lights out and put your phone at least 6 feet away (!) pull out your notepad and take pen to paper. Start with making a list of the things you need to continue with in the coming days and reflect on the parts of today you will react differently to tomorrow, so that they are not playing out on repeat on a reel in your mind whilst you are trying to sleep. After that, list out the things in your life you are grateful for, no matter how big or small they may seem, they are positive aspects that will set you up for a peaceful nights sleep. By taking note of these and reflecting upon how we are growing, we start to see the positive in the previously mundane. Life can be beautiful when we change our perspective, the only time is now.
Let me know how you get on as you start implementing these new daily habits and how I can support you. If you don’t manage everyday, thats ok! Start again tomorrow and be gentle to yourself, you are the only one that can do this. Make a change now and be that positive person that inspires others to make a change.