From Sophie Scott :)
This week, when I was reading some of the lovely regular emails I subscribe to, a common theme began to take shape. Melissa Ambrosini posted a tearful video (http://melissaambrosini.com/) about how she was going to postpone her speaking tour because of health problems due to immense grief.
And Alice Nicholls from the Whole Daily http://thewholedaily.com.au/ wrote about needing to take a break after weeks of feeling sick and not being able to bring the best version of herself to the work she does. I support their decision to put their own self care first.
And it made me think about why do we try to do so much, then feel guilty when we have to pull back and reset the balance in our lives?
There's a misguided belief that being self-less is the most admirable trait to have, to put your own needs last and place the needs of others first is ideal. Why we do feel bad doing something enriching for ourselves? And many of us who are juggling work, family, kids, responsibilities, putting your own self care at the bottom of the list can seem the easiest option. (and it's one many of us choose.) When my sons were younger, I would feel extremely guilty having time to myself and organizing a child-free event, such as a massage. But for both men and women, for long lasting health and wellness, maintaining good self-care means you can bring your best self to those around you. While I don't believe in looking backwards, I now really believe that it sends the best message to your loved ones, when you take time to nourish and feed your own needs as well as theirs.
Here are some quick tips on enriching your life with self care essentials, simply and easily.
1. Start and end the day with calm intent. Self care is about being good to yourself, forgiving yourself when you make mistakes (and they will happen!). It's about learning when to take a breath and not beating yourself up when you can't do everything.
2. Move gently. Running for hours or exercising until you drop isn't nourishing and enriching. Taking time for walks, gentle exercise to get your body moving replenishes your spirit and energy. Action stimulates emotion. Even a fifteen minute walk in the sun or a warming yoga class can reset your internal barometer of how you view the world.
3. Unleash your inner goddess - for women catching up with friends and family, to get enriched by the life-affirming energy women have. If you can't see your 'sisters' in person, which is ideal, schedule a phone catch up. For men, it's equally as important to check in with your friends and family - reach out to those people who love you and support you, no matter what.
4. Eating family dinner together as often as possible. It's the perfect time to check in, share experiences of the day, unplug (phones only in life threatening emergencies), enjoy beautiful, nourishing food. Remember good enough is ok. At the end of each day, there are always things on my to do list that don't get done. But I would rather spend some quality time with family, and turn a blind eye to the household and work tasks that always need doing.
5. Say no. By saying no to taking on responsibilities and commitments you are not passionate about, it leaves you the mental, emotional space and importantly the time to pursue your goals and dreams. Learn phrases which can help you say no. A good stand by is 'Thanks for the offer. I will have to check my schedule and get back to you.' That gives you the time and breathing space to consider if you really want the extra responsibility or commitment. Saying no can be empowering. It means you are setting boundaries, deciding what it important and that you value your time and energy. The more outside work commitments I take on, the less time I have for my friends and family, so it's a matter of balancing opportunities with keeping your priorities in check, and that means putting self care at the top of your list.
We aren't encouraged enough to take care of ourselves, according to Petrea King, from Quest for Life. www.questforlife.com.au "On planes, we are told to first pull down the oxygen mask, then help others. How often do we follow that advice in our daily lives?" she says. We must care for ourselves to bring the best version of ourselves to those we love.
For more about happiness and emotional well being, click here http://www.sophiescott.com.au/store/c1/Featured_Products.html for my book Roadtesting Happiness.
What have you done for yourself to boost your emotional health and well being?
What sort of difference did it make to your outlook on life?
Love to hear your comments.
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