How Can One Take Care of Oneself Every Day?|
Traditionally, the theme for the month of February is love. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we tend to focus on our romantic relationships, but the love connection I’d like to discuss is the one that we have with ourselves. Self-love is the foundation for how we interact with others and experience the world around us. Nourishing the love we have for our minds, bodies, and spirits can be a simple practice of small acts for self-care that romanticize our lives.
Self-love is also knowing when it is time to refill your cup. We can all agree that making time for oneself can be a challenge and it is hard not to think of it as selfish when there are other responsibilities swirling around you. Life can be overwhelming, so creating this space for yourself is simply to make sure that your needs are being met and to remind you that you are worthy of a little extra appreciation when the opportunity presents itself. If self-care is not naturally a priority on your daily list, ask yourself this question:
“How can I take care of myself today?”
We can learn to make time for sacred pauses to change the direction of what we are doing, so we can make clear and conscious changes from one task to another. It is important to take small breaks for your body and mind.
Starting a self-care routine can look different for everyone. Some may dedicate one night a week to light a scented candle, sit in a warm bubble bath, and listen to their favorite music. Others may enjoy going for a hike and surrounding themselves in nature as often as their weekly schedule allows. Whether you choose to relax and unwind or do something active, both acts of self-care involve being alone to recharge and setting aside the time to do it.
Quiet moments of solitude allow you to decompress and reconnect to your soul. By forming habits that promote wellness, you may notice a positive change in your energy and overall wellbeing. A few ways that I practice self-care are going for daily walks, meditation, and getting a good night's sleep.
We often take for granted how necessary it can be to take a break and get outside for fresh air and a healthy dose of vitamin D. Taking a walk can be considered stress relief with each step you take, or you can count them to meet a daily goal set by our smartwatches. Wherever you happen to be in the world, walking is a chance to revel in the nature you are passing by.
I take my daily walk down one of my favorite neighborhood paths that leads me to a view of the ocean. When I arrive there, I like to consciously take that moment to appreciate the water as the waves ebb and flow. It is in those brief, but intentional, minutes that I feel calm and recentered before heading back home to finish my day.
I have been meditating for several years and as with any practice, it takes time to become comfortable doing it. To train your brain to become mindful is a journey. Mine began by understanding that I needed to reevaluate the expectations I may have had about what it feels like to be still and at peace. When I first started meditating it was difficult to remain focused when I would hear a door close somewhere in the house or I would sense my phone buzzing on the other side of the room. Those initial distractions are frustrating, but once you start only paying attention to your breath and your body embraces being still, it is an extraordinary experience to become completely calm.
Jack Kornfield is the author of several fantastic books about mindfulness that I have been reading lately. He is a teacher of Insight Meditation at the Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Marin County, CA. In an article, he wrote about “Doing the Buddha’s Practice” he discusses the difficulty to find stillness in such a relatable way. I have also recently started utilizing several apps to help guide my meditations. If you are interested, I wrote about the four different meditation apps that I use the most in a separate blog post that you can read here. I also love listening to Tamara Levitt and Jeff Warren on my calm app as well.
I personally find that meditation has been so helpful because it can be a tool used for long periods of time or even as short as a few minutes. I try to fit it into my day whenever I am walking, sitting, or laying down before bed.
It may seem like it is a basic need that we all do daily anyway but getting a good night’s sleep is critical for taking care of your body and mind. I do try to actively avoid feeling restless at night by setting my phone and other screens aside at a certain time as part of my nightly self-care routine. After a long day, there may be some unresolved tasks for work or chores that have yet to be completed that can keep me awake long after I accepted that they must wait until tomorrow. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep, but for some of us, falling and staying asleep can be difficult. This is where the guided meditation apps come in handy or if I need to spend a bit more energy, I’ll read a few chapters of a book to put me into a dreamy state.
These are just a few easy ways that I practice a healthy self-care routine and in turn, I am sending love to my mind, body, and spirit. I hope that you are all taking care of yourselves in your own unique way as we begin chapter two of 2022.