Self-care has nearly endless possibilities. In fact, one of the best ways to cultivate a caring attitude toward yourself is by simply being more present. Mindfulness is the act of doing anything, even mundane daily tasks, with awareness. You can become mindful of your breathing or the perception of the 5 senses or even the witnessing of your own thoughts.
It may be difficult to bring awareness to many of the things going on in our subconscious, like self-talk. This is because many of us have not developed present-moment awareness as a skill. Paying attention and acknowledging one’s inner world isn’t a very popular notion in modern western culture. However, if we derive wisdom from the east, it is common knowledge that our bodies and minds are connected and that feelings are best worked through, rather than being shoved down or minimized.
Along with practices like mindfulness and yoga, we also find that self care is synonymous with non judgment. Non judgment is the art of avoiding placing judgment, criticism or opinions on something or someone. This skill entails being able to categorize something as neither good nor bad. It is taking something for face value, it just is what it is and that’s okay.
Non judgment and mindfulness invite us to proceed without guilt or regret for not being more caring towards ourselves in the past. In doing this, we are able to move forward with compassion. You’ll find some great tools in the self care toolbox. With them, any of the following acts may be transformed into a beneficial and replenishing act of self-care:
• Exercise/Yoga. There are endless forms of exercise, any or several of which may appeal to you as a fun way to offload stress and deliver strength and endurance to your body. Yoga is certainly one of the more versatile forms of exercise that you can do most any time of day and just about anywhere you are.
• Mindfulness. Mindfulness takes us out of a hyper nervous system state which means we get to ground ourselves fully in the presence of the moment. Our mental and physical health, not to mention relationships, all benefit by way of embracing a state of mindfulness.
• Skincare/Self-Massage. Our skin absorbs toxins and the condition of our skin reflects the state of our inner health. Skincare can be a highly enjoyable and relaxing form of self care that helps to improve circulation, reduce stress and make us look and feel fantastic!
• Nutrition. You don’t have to become a “health nut” to embrace a healthier way of living that includes adding nutritious foods to your diet as a measure of ongoing self care. Look for foods that provide energy, fuel the muscles, flush toxins from the body and nourish your cells.
• Journaling. Self care journaling serves as a motivational activity that can also relax and ready you for a good night’s sleep. Chart your self-care journey by jotting down your effort and results for each day.
• Being in nature. Each day that you manage to inhale breaths of fresh air, bask in the warm, healing sunlight and feel the cool ground beneath your feet is a day to revel in the self-care practice that is simply connecting with our planet and the great outdoors.
• Good sleep habits. Sleep is essential to our overall health and wellbeing, and yet so many people are chronically sleep deprived. Getting into a nightly self-care sleep ritual is one of the best ways to ensure total relaxation and a deep, restful night’s sleep.
• Positive self-talk. Mental wellbeing is as important as physical, and the two are interchangeable. An uplifting message fuels the soul, and the body follows by finding the strength to keep on going.
• Healthy relationships. Healthy relationships are about nurturing each other, offering respect, making time for sharing, and even practicing self care together to cheer each other on.
• Gratitude. A gratitude practice increases wellbeing and has been shown to have calming effects on the nervous system. Just a brief daily reflection on what there is to be grateful for can serve as a powerful form of self care for mind, body and soul.
Self Care Journaling Exercise or Rumination: Explore mindfulness today. Make it a point to focus on your own thoughts as a non-judgmental observer. Do you notice any recurring themes or patterns in how you think? Write down a few thoughts that you had today. Notice your mental state.