It is when our schedules get crazy that we need self-care the most. That is an unavoidable fact. And for many of us it is not just career but also social and family lives that make our breath short when we look at our Google Calendar for the week. This is when we really need that maintenance plan for our mental/emotional selves. But isn't that just one more thing to add on the agenda?
Self-care does not have to be meditating for 30-60 minutes a day. That is a beautiful blessed practice, but their are a multitude of positive habits that take a fraction of the time. Here are some of my favorites:
1. Gratitude: when you wake up in the morning, before getting out of bed, name five things you are grateful for that day. This sets the theme of your whole day. Your outlook has been shifted to focus on the good, and how happy your are about the things filling up your schedule.
2. Breath: when things start to get overwhelming in any way I urge you to pause, take a deep breath in and a full breath out. Repeat. When anxiety kicks, breath becomes short and the diaphragm constricts. By taking deep breath you fool the body into calming your nerves and getting a little peace in your system.
3. Aroma: it takes only seconds to put a few drops of oil in a difuser, and the mood of the room is altered for hours. Different oils will serve you in different ways, lavender is one of my favorite oils to calm the body, mind, and spirit after a long day.
4. Bare feet: somewhere between your home and your car, step out of your shoes and plant your feet on the earth. Take a deep breath in, and a full breath out. Feel your anxieties release from your body into the earth. About twenty seconds of this will keep you grounded for those next few appointments on your list.
5. Bath time: though this may feel like a luxury, soaking in a tub for minimum 20-30 minutes a day will change your life. Spending time in water serves to connect you to your emotional body. For an added pro-tip, dissolve about a cup of Dead Sea (or Epsom) salt into the bath to further release any stress and tension from the body.
6. Restorative yoga: if you don't have time to make it to a full yoga class, chose your favorite relaxation posture to hold before you make your way to bed. My favorite thing to do after a particularly trying day, is hold child's pose with a supportive pillow underneath my torso for anywhere from 5 - 10 minutes. This pose leaves me feeling supported, not just by the pillow, but by life itself.
7. Music: the sounds around you can make or break your emotional state. I'm sure we've all been through an emotionally cathartic experience involving loud tunes once or twice. The vibrations of sound alter your energy field in positive or negative ways, depending on the vibrations of what you're listening to. By consciously choosing what sounds you take in, you can cultivate an environment for the mood you want to embody. When connecting with the angels, I put on the angelic frequencies of Stephen Halpern, and when working through heavy emotions I play ocean waves. This takes little time, as it plays in the background of everything else you are actively doing.
8. Disconnect: allow a chunk of time every day or every other day to have your phone on airplane mode or leave it charging in the next room over out of ear's reach. The stimulus created by phone notifications and the stress of waiting for notifications take you out of the present moment one Like at a time. By choosing to disconnect while you work on a project or spend time with loved ones, you are choosing to give your work and others your full attention. Practice this and notice if it allows you to connect more deeply with others and with yourself.
Ultimately, the number one self-care maintenance tip is MINDFULNESS. Allowing yourself to be in the present moment, without analyzing everything that has happened or stressing about everything to be done next. This is your key to a more serene life. All of these little practices will get you on your way to a mindful state of being.
Try fitting some of these into your schedule, and share the results in the comment section.