By Emily Holler
As summer approaches and we start to see Christmas themed displays popping up all over the place, we are once again hit with the (somewhat frightening) realisation that another year is drawing to a close. The festive season is approaching and a brand new year is on the foreseeable horizon (eek!). This always feels like an opportune time to re-evaluate our daily habits and priorities in life, so that we can make adjustments where necessary and usher in fresh energy for the new year.
A key area that often seems to pose a challenge is that of self-care. If you’re a people pleaser, a mum, or simply have lots on your plate—and let’s face it, who doesn’t have multiple responsibilities in our modern fast-paced society—then you could be at risk of neglecting the very self-care practices that will nourish and sustain you through the busiest times of your life.
Here are some top tips for maintaining self-care to optimise your wellbeing:
1. Have a Morning Practice
One of the most beneficial habits for staying balanced, happy and productive is a regular morning practice. Some of the most successful people in the world swear by their morning routine. Be it a short meditation, followed by setting intentions for the day or some calming music and sunrise yoga, whatever sets you up for a great day is ideal.
2. Be Present
There are more distractions in our world then ever before, from social media, to work deadlines, online games and a bombardment of advertising everywhere. Sensitive people are particularly prone to feeling frazzled. Take a deep breath and try to be connected to your everyday experience. Listen to your child talk about their day, put your phone away when having dinner with your spouse, be fully engaged with whatever you’re doing. Breathe and soak up the moment.
Don’t neglect to move your body everyday. When we’re busy this important practice can slip further down the to-do list, but it’s essential for maintaining energy and focus in our lives. Whether its just a short walk, a bike ride, some simple stretching or a full blown gym workout, get out there and get the blood pumping. It helps to manage stress and will keep your mood elevated also.
4. Treat Yourself
If we don’t take care of our own needs then who will? Why not treat yourself to something special occasionally, and for no particular reason other than because you love yourself. Splash out and have some healthy treats, buy yourself that Christmas gift (the one you really want), or take yourself out to a movie or a show. Treat yourself to a bubble bath once in awhile or get up early to watch the sunrise. Savour the beautiful experience of life.
5. Spend Time in Nature
There is nothing quite like nature to soothe the heart and soul. Especially for those who spend lots of time indoors sitting in front of a computer screen, nature time is perhaps the greatest antidote to stress that there is. Bush walks, swimming in the ocean, kayaking down a river, climbing a mountain or visiting a waterfall are all wonderful ways to feel more centred and at peace.
6. Eat Well
We all know that adequate nutrition is one of the pillars of good health so eating healthy is a must. However preparing food that looks, smells and tastes exciting is also important for us to enjoy the experience of eating. Colourful, aesthetically pleasing meals are a delight to our senses and could even help us to digest more effectively as it activates our salivary glands and stimulates our digestive system. Enjoy your food and savour every bite.
7. Get Enough Quality Sleep
Winding down before bed is important for preserving our circadian rhythms. Getting away from our screens and engaging in calming activities such as reading or relaxing is an ideal way to prepare our bodies for sleep. Sleep is the most restorative practice there is so ensuring that we’re going to bed at a reasonable hour and getting plenty of it is essential for our wellbeing.
8. Relax and Enjoy Life
The somewhat lost art of doing nothing is highly underrated. Taking time out to lie down and stare at the sky is wonderfully uplifting for the spirit. There are many different ways of switching off and relaxing, from meditation, to having a massage or spending all day in our PJs and watching Netflix. On the flip side, doing something fun like going roller skating or out to see a live band reconnects us to our playful self. Go on adventures. Take time out. Enjoy life!
9. Don’t Overdo It
End of year celebrations are abundant with unhealthy temptations such as drinking, sugary treats, late nights and overstimulation. In moderation these things are perfectly fine, but knowing your own limits and sticking to them is a very healthy self-care practice.
10. Practice Gratitude
This is a magical practice, which yields incredible benefits in life. Being grateful for what you have is a surefire way to attract more goodness in. Those who express gratitude to friends, loved ones and co-workers are cherished by others, and are truly blessed because they are always feeling abundant. Practicing gratitude every day is perhaps the greatest gift you can give yourself.