Our Wellness Expert, Suzy Reading, offers the following self care tips for our members at a time we all most need it!
If you are staying at home or self-isolating with your family, this is an unprecedented chapter and it will take some time adjusting to our ‘new normal’. Balancing home life, any work demands and home schooling your children requires great energy and patience and in this new landscape you might be feeling more squeezed than ever before. What will help us through is a simple daily routine, infused with life-giving practices to keep us calm and connected. We need a broad self-care toolkit accessible in our own homes, in ways that take little time or energy. We need soothing practices we can share with our kids, keeping them engaged, bonding us together in the process.
What is self-care?
Self-care has been on the radar for the last few years but even more so in this current climate. This might be the time when we collectively come to appreciate its great value and our need for regular nourishment. While we appreciate its important, there are barriers we first need to overcome. A working definition of self-care can help clear up any confusion. In a nut shell, self-care is health care. It is taking care of ourselves head, heart and body. Without our health, what do we have, so I hope this definition helps to dial down any guilt. To help you get crystal clear on the true act of self-care in the moment, there is a second part of the definition: self-care nurtures you in this moment AND nourishes the person you are becoming, your ‘future self’ if you like. One glass of wine savoured in the evening can be self-care but if this turns into two or three and a Netflix marathon you’ll hardly be thanking yourself for those choices in the morning.
How can self-care help you?
- Self-care helps you cope in the moment, allowing you to think straight, respond with purpose and keep anxiety at bay.
- Self-care helps you restore following challenging moments or intense emotions.
- Self-care gives you a protective buffer against future stress, topping up your energy bank so you are well-resourced to deal with whatever lies ahead.
- Self-care gives you access to a version of yourself that you can be proud of and is therefore a true win win.
- For parents, we all want to raise compassionate, resilient kids. We need to teach our kids their own self-care toolkit and they learn this by watching what we model and the collective practices we engage in together.
While we all need self-care it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Different things resonate for different people and even your own needs and preferences change over time. Enjoy experimenting with these tools and see what works for you and your family.
Top tips for staying at home
- Build a daily routine
Routines give a sense of rhythm and purpose to our day which is reassuring. It also helps to boost your circadian rhythms, promoting the chance of better quality sleep which we all know is central to feeling good. Keep a regularity to the time you rise and go to bed, shower and dress in an outfit that helps you feel put together and kick off your morning with a life-giving breakfast so you can think with clarity. Create some loose boundaries if you are doing any salon admin or work on your business, knowing when you’ll down tools at the end of the day. There needs to be time to hydrate and feed your brain, to move for your mental health and breaks to boost your mood throughout your day. In the evening set the intention to relax and restore so you are ready to focus again tomorrow.
- Create a harmonious environment
Outer order helps to create inner harmony, so make your bed, tidy up your living space, throw the curtains open to maximise natural light. If you can, get outside and enjoy the soothing effects of being in Nature, but even watching the moving trees through your window can help you feel calm. Talk about your favourite calm safe places for a dose of nature therapy and use them as inspiration to write your own journey meditations.
- Focus your mind
When your mind feels full up or worries are spiralling, bring it back to what lies within your control. We can get caught in endless ‘what ifs’, but ‘what can I do’ puts you back in control. If your mind keeps flitting to things outside your control, go gently on yourself and use the happy distractions in the remaining tips.
- Move for your mood
We often associate the benefits of movement with the physical body but we need it just as much for our mental health. Nothing fancy is required! Some gentle yoga stretches to release stress, a swift walk up and down the stairs to get the blood and endorphins pumping or a kitchen disco session can be a great mood boost! Try out a guided home workout using just your own body weight. There are some fabulous free resources out there, some you can even do with your kids try the Joe Wicks YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/thebodycoach1
- “Micro moments of nourishment”
Dot your day with nourishing practices to uplift and sustain you. It can be as simple as massaging in some hand balm with a scent you love, a single piece of music or a minute of meditation to calm you.
- Breathe better to feel better
Slowing down your breath can calm your mind and body, but if focusing on the breath alone feels difficult, move with the breath instead: find a comfortable place to rest your hands, palms facing upwards. As you breathe in, open your hands fully and as you breathe out, make a gentle fist. Keep focusing on the movement of your hands and notice how this relaxes your breathing - a great distraction from unhelpful thoughts.
- Make time to connect
We need connection as much as we need food in our tummies so make the time to talk on the phone, pick a photo and reminisce over WhatsApp or send a text to check in. This is a golden opportunity to communicate care.
- Reboot yourself
You are no different from your devices so switch off and nourish yourself with your downtime. While technology is essential for keeping us connected, be mindful of your visual diet and make sure there is screen free time. Fill your spare time with activities like games, puzzles, TED talks, podcasts, audiobooks, guided relaxation like ‘yoga nidra’, TV and movies that inspire you, try your hand at a spot of gratitude journaling or build a bank of happy memories with your family.
Suzy is a mother of two, an author, Chartered Psychologist and Coach. She specialises in self-care, helping people manage their stress, emotions, and energetic bank balance. It was her life experience of motherhood colliding with the terminal illness of her father that sparked her passion for self-care which she now teaches to her clients, young and old, to cope during periods of stress, loss and change and to boost their resilience in the face of future challenges. Suzy is on the editorial board for Motherdom Magazine, the Psychology Expert for wellbeing brand Neom Organics and is a founding member of the ‘Nourish’ app. She figure-skated her way through her childhood, growing up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney, and now makes her home in the hills of Hertfordshire, UK. Her first book ‘The Self-Care Revolution’ published by Aster came out in 2017, 'Stand Tall Like a Mountain: Mindfulness & Self-Care for Children and Parents' and 'The Little Book of Self-Care’ are both hot off the press.
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