Words by Kira West
The seasons are changing and that means it's perfect timing for us to take a moment to reflect on the past few months as we prepare for the months to come. I love using the change in seasons as a reminder to reflect, reset and realign. The transition from summer to fall is a crucial one as it really means the current year is almost over and we’ve got just a couple months before the holidays are in full swing. Taking time to reflect can be as quick as a 5 minute intentional journaling session or as long as a weekend outside of your normal home settings to process all that’s happened and is to come. I often use movement to reflect, taking a long walk to process the past few months and think about my goals for the ones to come.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SELF CARE IN 2020
This year, we can likely all agree that it’s not quite what we expected and filled with so many twists and turns. Now more than ever as we close out 2020, it’s important for us to prioritise our well being, physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. This time I’m taking my reflections a step further to think about how I’ve practiced self care over the past few months and what I need to do moving forward to ensure I'm living my best life. Self care in a year like this one is crucial because you cannot give to others, show up for others or be present if you’ve not filled up your cup.
There’s a reason why they tell us on airplanes to put on our own oxygen mask before helping others. I like to think of self care in the same way, it’s essential just like that oxygen and taking care of yourself first will allow you to take better care of others. When thinking about self care, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest trends, products and offerings but there are so many ways even in a basic sense to prioritise caring for yourself. Self care at its core is simple, it’s about doing the things that allow you to take pause and reconnect with yourself.
10 WAYS TO ADD SELF CARE INTO YOUR ROUTINE
I’m all about doing the things that personally feel good and recognising that everyone is different but this fall I challenge you to make self care a habit. Make caring for yourself a priority so you can show up for those around you even more fully. Here are the top 10 ways you can integrate self care into your life, even if you’ve only got a short amount of time.
1. Take a break
Step away from your work and take 5 minutes to focus on one thing that brings you joy. Walk your dog or have a cup of tea and be fully present in that moment.
2. Consume joy
We are in charge of the media we consume, make sure you’re consuming the things that bring you joy whether that be a TV show, movie, music or podcast. Focus on integrating more joy.
3. Set boundaries
This is one big act of self care that is often overlooked. Setting boundaries and saying no are both forms of self care that allow you to prioritise what you need in that moment. What can you say no to that will give you the time you need to reset? How can you say “not yet” or “not in this way” to give yourself the space you need?
4. Make use of the app store
There are so many amazing apps to help you pause and explore meditation as a grounding practice. While there can be a cost to some, many like Breathwrk are free or offer free trials. Also look into some great sleep apps to ensure you get the quality rest you need.
5. Cook a meal you love
Food has the power to nourish us in so many ways. Take the time to cook your favourite dish or order from your favourite spot and be present in those moments as you enjoy these foods.
6. Draw or colour
This is an incredible way to release stress and do something fun! There are so many amazing adult colouring books available online.
7. Tap into a happy memory
Take 5 minutes to think about a happy memory and connect with the amazing feelings you had in that moment.
8. Just breathe
This is one of my favourite quick ways to release stress and ensure that my body is literally getting the oxygen it needs to function. Breathe in for 4, Hold for 7 and Breathe out for 8. I repeat 2-4 times and I’ve found this to be very calming.
9. Start a journal
I spoke about this a little bit above but Journaling can be as informal as writing down your current thoughts and dumping all that’s stored in your brain on paper or it can be as complex as writing down your reflections and goals. I love taking the time to just write and seeing what comes out of it.
10. Find a powerful mantra or return to a favourite
I have some mantras and affirmations in my phone for easy access on the days I need a boost I’ll say these aloud to myself often repeating the one I need most multiple times. These can be as simple as saying” I am worthy” or “I am powerful”.
Self care is often depicted as a large scale weekend event but truly with 5-10 minutes you can find ways to fill up your cup and bring joy to your world. As we change seasons and finish out what has been such a wild year, this is the perfect time to introduce new habits and find easy ways to care for yourself that are sustainable.