Well, to be fair, I didn't do absolutely nothing. I did studying and go to the gym and swam but for the most part, yesterday I gave myself permission to just do a whole lot of nothing. With running two blogs, a business, being in school, teaching yoga, running our household and now, training for a triathlon, I realized just how important it is going to be over the next few months to carve out some personal time and give myself some much needed TLC.
Does your to-list sometimes seem so long that you wonder if you'll ever have any special time just for yourself? Or, do you feel guilty when you do take a little time out in the day to give yourself some much needed attention?
The idea of self care is hard for a lot people. Our to do list is ever growing and with us all being so 'connected, it's really hard not to respond to that email right away or get distracted by the constant dinging of our cell phones.
To be honest, I didn't even sit down at my desk until 2:30 in the afternoon and it felt amazing. When I did, it was for a breif moment to read an article I received in my inbox.
Usually, I get up in the morning, grab my phone as it is sitting on my nightstand, head down stairs and let the dogs out to 'use the restroom' then proceed about my morning. I'm typically already scanning through my inbox trying to read as many emails or newsletters I can, I make a cup of tea and head to my desk to start working on whatever is first on my to do list.
But today, today was a little different.I peeled open my eyes and instead of grabbing my phone, I rolled over and petted one of my pups who is always waiting patiently with her little wet nose resting on my side of the bed right next to my pillow.
I got out of bed around 6am (I'm an early riser by nature) but instead of cramming some of my self care non-negotiables throughout my day, I took the time to mindfully make my warm lemon water with a dash of cayenne pepper then sat on the couch for my morning meditation which is anywhere from five to ten minutes. I followed this by about twenty minutes of oil pulling. (I'll get to this in a future blog post but in the meantime, here is some useful information on oil pulling and why it is so good for you.) Then I proceeded to make and prepare my food to take with my to a local coffee shop to study.
You may be sitting here reading this asking yourself, "but I thought she said she did nothing?"
Here is the thing, all of the above are part of my ritual of self care which is something I am finally making the most important priority in my life. It's hard to put ourselves first, especially when we have so many other responsibilities to tend after, but try to look at it this way, if you are filled to the brim with self appreciation and gratitude then you are only going to be that much better and present for others in your life and that list of responsibilities.
This is something that has really hit home recently.
I've been a stay-at-home wife for the last year when my husband and I made the joint decision that it was more beneficial for me to stay home and help out with the family business and things around the home. Well, things have evolved a bit and about six months ago I took a huge leap of faith and decided to enroll at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and make my biggest dream come true. With all of this though came me in major meltdown mode on a regular basis and something had to give.
A big part of self care is realizing when something isn't working and making the appropriate changes necessary to be able to fully show up in your own life.
I began adding things to my daily routine that were geared around giving back to myself such as five minutes of meditation in the morning and, on most evenings, five minutes then as well. I added a daily green juice in the morning so that I starting my day flooding my system with nutrients and the icing on the cake was signing up with IIN because it had been something I wanted to do for years now. I realized it was time I started carving out the life I have always wanted instead of just waiting for things to happen.
Yesterday day was a big step for me because there were moments when I got that twinge of feeling guilty, like I should be doing something more with my time, but I lovingly told myself that this was exactly what I needed to be doing so that I could show up in my own life.
Here are a few ways you can start to incorporate more self care into your daily routine. I know it can feel somewhat strange at first, even like you are being slightly selfish, but trust that it's exactly what you need to be do in order to be completely filled to the brim with energy and love to give to the world.
Even for five minutes a day has been proved to radically change your life. Sit quietly, by yourself, for five minutes and just bring your awareness to your breath. Don't judge yourself if thoughts come and go, just release them and allow yourself to turn inward and focus on the breath.
It may feel awkward at first or like you aren't 'doing it right' but the more you do it the more you will crave those five minutes. And before you know it those five minutes are turning into six then seven and so on.
Start Your Day with Warm Lemon Water
Most people don't realize this but when you wake up your body is dehydrated after a a long night of sleeping. Too often though the first thing to touch our lips is a warm cup of coffee or tea. Instead, squeeze half a lemon into a tea mug or glass and fill it with 8 oz. of warm water, not hot water. Sip it over the course of whatever you need to do in the morning to get your day started. This feeds your body which is composed of about 60-75% water and you brain, which is 85% H20.
Have you ever watched a dog as they wake up from a long night of sleep or even a nap? The first thing they do is stretch. It's incredible because it's instinctual for them. Are bodies need to wake up slowly and by stretching, even a little, it singles the body to start the day.
Before you even get out of bed extend both arms over your head feeling the effects of the full body stretch. It doesn't have to be anything too big, your body is stiff and cold from sleeping all night. Maybe rotate your head from side to side, reaching the left ear to the left shoulder then on your exhale, roll down until your right ear is next to your right shoulder. Repeat these a few times and see how it feels in your body.
Repeat a Positive Affirmation to Yourself
Many people start the day with jumping right into negative self talk. That sets you up for a negative vibe all day long. Lying in bed, maybe while doing some stretches, begin by telling yourself something positive, repeating it several times. Here are a few examples:
I am a a strong and confident woman.
I am beautiful and happy just the way I am.
Today is going to be incredible.
Make it something that you could benefit from repeating several times. Our mind is an incredibly powerful thing and repeating something positive over and over about ourselves will begin to rewire the way we actually feel about ourselves.
Remember, it isn't selfish to give yourself the proper amount of time and care. How much that is will vary from person to person but I strongly encourage you to start today!
I'd love to hear about some of the ways you already incorporate self care into you daily routine. Share in the comments below!