As a therapist, self-care is an essential ritual for lone workers. We were advised that self-care practices are necessary for the body, mind and spirit. I have always make time for daily routines which helped me balance work, life, and personal joy.
Self-care aims to relax, unwind, and maintain a healthy state of being with oneself and one-spirit. It is a set of routines and practices that help to boost physical, psychological and emotional states. Think of self-care as healing practices for the body, mind and soul. The nurturing ritual helps prevent exertion, exhaustion and burnt-out. Self-care strategy will be different for everyone because it has a purpose attached to the practice. Some people find running as a self-care ritual more useful than others. Some people prefer a relaxing bubble bath with soothing music. And some prefer to be comfortable by the fire. Whatever the ritual, it is vital to adopt self-care practices that work for you.
There are many examples of self-care, including regular exercise, eating well, getting enough sleep, be in nature and taking frequent breaks or rest. But, it might help to think of self-care as a fun part of your daily ritual, rather than something you are compelled to do, like a chore. I emphasise fun and playful activities that you enjoy on a daily basis because sometimes we think of self-care only periodically.
Thus, I am sharing some of my essential daily self-care rituals here. I hope you find it helpful, and perhaps it might inspire to think of your own.
- Make time for yourself.
One of the important thing for me is me-time. It is a time set aside to be alone with your thoughts, with your feeling and emotion, whatever they may be. It is a time that I am still, contemplative and peaceful. I often do this outside, standing in nature watching, listening to birds or the howling of the wind. Feeling the cool breeze on my face, I stood appreciatively. Making time to appreciate being with oneself in the stillness. It is about being alone with the whole of yourself. This is simply about making time to be.
- Make time for meditation
Meditation is about an observation of the stillness within and of the mind. It is about being with that stillness and being inside our psyche. There is a misconception that busy-mind makes meditation difficult, and it is not just about the breath. But, this is precisely when one should consider meditation. Meditation is a tool to help the busy-ness of the mind and listen to our internal voices, and that is when you become aware of your breathing.
You can do meditation almost anywhere, but not while operating any machine or driving. You can do walking meditation, sitting down meditation and laying down meditation.
The mind never sleeps. The conscious mind is continually evaluating the input from our senses. The unconscious mind never shut off because it automates body regulatory, circuitry systems, such as keeping a steady sinus rhythm. Meditation is a state of being still in the body so that you can go within the psyche to observe thoughts, listen to what you are thinking about and notice comes up for you when cognitively being aware of what is in your mind. What you think you will manifest. Be sure to think only positive thoughts.
- Have love in your heart
Self-care is about self-love and loving oneself and one’s shadows. Tell yourself that you love yourself is not narcissistic unless you adversely admire yourself adoringly. This is more of a confirmation for self to build inner confidence. It is also about one part of yourself telling another part that you love the unloveable. I think that if we can express self-love, we can then express that love to another. We have to hold love ourself before we can demonstrate love another. In so doing, we can know intimately how we feel loved, then we can share it.
A loving act for me includes feeling joyful, having fun and laughing at myself, lovingly. It is ultimately a knowing that you embrace with heart and soul. It is enough to say things like; I love my hair today, I love how I handle that argument today, I love the way I spoke my truth, even though not everyone agreed. It is quite alright to say; I love my voice, I love my flaws, etc. Whatever you dislike about yourself, try to reverberate your thoughts by expressing and vocalising your love, out loud.
- Find a way to have fun or something that makes you smile.
This is my favourite, and every day is an exciting challenge (and I say this with a smile) to find or do. It is often fun that put a smile on my face and on those of another. It does not take much. A friend once said to me:
“A smile begins with you.”
I smiled when I walked around the house, and my cuddlies are moved from the bed. The plush toys would appear in the room when my back is turned. My husband moved them into the room I happened to be, of course. Then, I walked them back to another auspicious location where they will be found by him. We have this game throughout the day, and it is fun for both of us. I may be watching the dishes, and then my favourite plush toy appears on the table behind me. These are moments of joy.
“Smile and the whole world will smile with you.” – Stanley Gordon West.
Doing something fun for me is simply doing something that makes me and another smile, laugh and affectionate. Doing something nice for another to make them smile or laugh always bring a smile to my face. It will be different for everyone, and it is deeply personal and subjective. I also find rearranging my house fun. It is both practical and catharsis as I let go of the old. I find pottering fun as I get my hands dirty in the dirt, connecting to the Earth helps ground me to Gaia. I find filing fun as I mindfully organise paperwork. And I also find making soup fun.
What is your fun?
- Find your grooming ritual
A healthy body equals a healthy mind. I love spending time painting my toenails, but not my fingernails so much. I find that self-care is also body-care. I like my hair brushed, despite leaving long strand all around the house. Sometimes, I think we take grooming for granted because we do it every day. But, if you contemplate your grooming acts, notice how much more enjoyable it is. For me, each brushstroke is a sensation that I feel energetically, as an individual strand of hair is being stroked.
It is essential to maintain a healthy body through a grooming ritual. I love getting my hair wash, cut and blow-dry. But, the feel of water on my skin really what I love.
Water has healing nourishing and nurturing properties, which is why it is used in many religious rituals. Next time you are in the shower, feel the sensation of each water droplets on your skin.
Self-grooming is both holistic and therapeutic for the body, mind and spirit. When the body feels good, so does the mind. You know what makes you feel good when it comes to taking care of your body. It is merely to do more of that.
- Organise your space
Personally, I feel that organising the physical space in the home, work and life gives me a sense of orderliness. But it is more than neatness, cleanliness and tidiness. It helps me manage the internal psyche if my physical space is clutter-free and systematic. It is a way to methodically organise my internal world if my outer world is orderly. I’d already mentioned that it is fun to rearrange my bookcases, clothes, kitchen cupboards etc. It is also therapeutic to organise the spaces around me, as I, mindfully, restructure my outer world. Moreover, in the organisation, I am also letting go of the tension, stress and worries that were attached to the material items. Yet, it is also about rearranging the space, files or library of repertoire, in the mind, as well as the physical space.
With the looming uncertainties within the outer world, there is a clear need for self-care rituals. Especially when we are currently in another lockdown and our days, weeks are becoming a blur. As each day blend into yet another day, the mundane can become repetitive, and we can lose track of the days. It is more crucial than ever to maintain a healthy mindset with self-care rituals that work for you. If you can tap into your creativity, why not make the mundane into something fun. Perhaps you like dancing, why not dance around while you work. Perhaps you like singing, sing while you work. You know where I am going with this.
So, what are you waiting for? Get creative and find your self-care rituals. I’d love to hear what works for you.
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