Trust my words when I say this and hear it here first !!!!!
“when your self-care is up your coping skills are up and you have a much greater ability to respond to situations rather than react. When you do this you will cope and manage with every situation life puts your way and you will have a greater sense of well-being.
Creating a Self Care ToolBox
One Solemn Breath
Breath – just breathe. This ‘one solemn breath’ causes you to show up, be present and become accountable for yourself.
Begin with this simple technique I call ‘one solemn breath’ . Before you act, take one solemn deep breath in and out. Pause. Create a little space between your thoughts and feelings and your actions. In that moment, pause and choose to respond calmly to the action you were going to do. Think before you act and make your action as aligned with your goal you have set or your life’s purpose.
Use that ‘one solemn breath’ to create a moment of space and quiet for you. You deserve it.
Following on from this you can try box breathing. This is a technique where you rapidly bring yourself into a more relaxed and calm state.
Breath in for four seconds, hold for four seconds, breath out for four seconds and hold for four seconds. Repeat this 4 times. This is a proven breathing technique to lower stress and anxiety levels which will again help you to feel a sense of calm and improve your coping skills and your overall well-being.
The 4-7-8 breathing technique
This breathing pattern was developed by Dr. Andrew Weil and is based in ancient yoga practices. This breathing technique can bring you in to a deep relaxed state, so deep its purpose is to help you take a power nap when you need it, to fall asleep or become deeply calm. By holding your breath for a longer period of time your body replenishes its oxygen supply. The idea is that you are focusing on your breath, nothing else while slowing down your heart rate.
To practise the 4-7-8 technique you should carry it out in one cycle. Open your mouth and exhale (breath out) completely. Then close your lips and inhale through your nose to a count of 4 seconds, hold the inhale for 7 seconds and then do a big, long, slow exhale for 8 seconds. The hold breath for 7 seconds is the most crucial. When you begin start by doing 4 cycles of this breath and gradually work up to 8.
Build up to incorporating a mediation in to your daily routine every day.
Begin with guided mediations and consider using an app like calm or headspace or even follow along to free meditations on youtube.
Take a moment to escape. Create some quiet and some space and wander off in your mind. Visualise the details of where you are. The smells, the sounds, the colours, the shapes, the people, the natural elements. Imagine yourself in that scene and visualise yourself in the moment or maybe it is a time in the future.
Sleep is our recharge – it is our time to restore and replenish. It is essential. A non negotiable when it comes to self care.
Here are my top tips for improving your sleep to improve your overall wellbeing.
- Start small. Increasing your sleep time can be improved with an aggregated effect of simply just increasing your sleep time by 20 minutes every night. That is over an extra 2 hours a week.
- Create a soothing pre-sleep routine. Begin your bedtime routine early in the evening. Much earlier. So, if the kids are getting ready to go to bed to bed at 8.30 you do the same, maybe have a warm shower, take off your make up, cleanse your face, brush your teeth, put on your night creams and get in to your pyjamas. After they are all settled and asleep maybe watch a little tv, read… whatever you like but knowing that you have started that wind down process and your body begins to wind down too. It is all bout calming down the body and the mind.
- Stop setting 10 different alarms – set 1 for the latest time possible to allow you to have a calm and organised morning and just go wIth that.
- Bring an awareness to your natural sleep rhythms – are you an early bird or a night owl. Know which one you are and use this to your advantage in terms of productivity. Use the time to get in a work out, a mediation or even get ahead of your to-do list for the day.
- Try a guided sleep meditation before bed. I love the calm app… I find not only do I drift off to sleep quicker but I sleep better too. Or even a bedtime story – there are so many apps with relaxing and meditative bedtime stories for adults.
- Try some white noise audio – amazing for falling asleep to.
- What about a wake up light alarm. A really cool one is the Hatch Restore alarm clock. It is an alarm clock but so much more….it also includes a sound machine, built-in reading light, meditation guidance, and even a creeping sunrise to guide mom awake slowly.
- Get in a quick 30 minute power nap during the day Use a guided meditation or the 4-7-8breathing to help.
- Leave a window a little open ( if safe to do so ) and allow some air to circulate in your room as you sleep.
- Dim the backlight on your phone and tv etc at nighttime.
- Do a body scan meditation or try a simple relaxing yoga pose like shavasana.
- Prepare for tomorrow. Journal and write out some of the thoughts that are in your head. Write a to-do list for tomorrow and get all of these thoughts out of your head so you can rest peacefully.
- Be specific and motivated – have a list of gaols for the day and track how much water you are drinking. If you decide on 2L then fill up a bottle or a few smaller bottles and know that you will only reach your target when they are all drank. Use a marked water bottle. One which has lines to show how much you have drank or how much of your goal you have reached. This is very motivating and encouraging. Some water bottles even have motivational quotes listed at each marker. Set a deadline to complete this hydration task by.
- Make it more enjoyable. Add some flavour – a cordial or some fresh fruit for flavour. Use herbal tea bags to create more flavoured hot beverages or allow them to cool down, top with ice and sparkling water for a refreshing flavoured drink. Add fizz. Invest in a carbonator to add bubbles and fizz to your drinks. Use your favourite glass, try drinking through a straw at parts of the day.
- Create new habits and new routines – start your day with a glass of water. Warm water with lemon or cold water. Drink a glass of water after each toilet break. Every time you empty your glass fill it back up immediately. You are far more likely to drink it if there is a full glass right there in front of you.
When it feels like a punishment or you feel like you are being forced by some other force or person and it feels like pain – you will not want to do it, you will do it with a bad heart and resent it… so change your mindset in order to change your behaviour – do an activity you love and this is one of the most freeing things you will hear – your 40 minutes of exercise every day does not all have to be done in one go – do 5 minutes skipping, 15 minutes with he dog, ten minutes with the kids on the trampoline and a quick 15-minute free aerobics/boxer ice video online later in the day, have a dance party for 15 minutes that evening.
Dance – turn the music up loud, sing your heart out and dance hard. It is so much fun having little dance parties when no one is watching. Moving helps to regulate our sensory system, it helps us to wiggle, shake and pound out any stress. It can be energising and calming all in one.
Do yoga or pilates, Stretch your body. Walk barefoot on the grass or the sand and feel that connection with nature and feel grounded.
Did you know The root word for emotion in Latin, emovere, means “to move through”, and movement helps us to let our emotions move through us and out of us.
Moving and joyful movement can help us to focus on a new task, helps to regulate our sensory systems and can help to get us out of own heads. So start small, with something you enjoy in nature /in fresh air if possible.
Try a new movement activity you have never tried before – rent a paddleboard for the day, try a small hike in your local area, take a tennis lesson, sign up for a free trial on a fitness app and try some cool online classes
Just make sure you are getting that body-mind connection every day.
Calm your senses and create mindful multi-sensory experiences
Engulf your body in calming sensations – the warmth of a bath, calming soothing aromas, visually calming things – anything from cute cats on TikTok to a print hanging on your wall of some of your best people or a favourite place you have been to, or a favourite memory. Surround yourself with calming sounds as you walk, drive, work and exercise – play whale sounds, listen to acoustic versions of your favourite songs, movie scores play spa music as you prepare for bed. Use a diffuser to crate beautiful smells are aromas all around your home and work space. All of this will help to calm your mind and help you destress and relax