Any time is a good time for self-care, and after the last couple of years we have all experienced, there has never been a more important time remember and most importantly implement your self-care habits.
The world has been in chaos and so many people's lives have been interrupted or impacted in countless ways, so whether you have the opportunity for some well earned time away from work, or not, add some of these self-care reminders to your daily or weekly routine.
And when you think about self-care, it's not all about pampering massages and spa treatments, although they are extremely worthwhile strategies too.
Self-care is generally split into 8 areas, including:
Spiritual self-care, and
For the purpose of these tips, we're going to focus on the some practical ways that you can support your psychological and emotional health this festive season.
And while none of these tips might be new to you, it could be a timely reminder for all of us to remember how important it is to prioritise our own emotional health, at any time of year.
1. It's ok to say no
It's important sometimes to say no, and this is a big one for lots of people.
When we take on too much we not only feel overwhelmed and potentially burned out, we can also start to feel resentful which works against whatever we are saying yes to.
For those who run by a calendar it can be helpful to 'schedule' time in-between commitments for rest or rejuvenation or just 'doing nothing.' This can be especially important for families to really connect and replenish.
2. Be kind on yourself
One thing the world needs right now is more kindness and acceptance and compassion. And sometimes we are very hard on ourselves.
You are not perfect, and really perfection only belongs when describing or experiencing nature (which is another important self-care tip.)
When you do or say something that you regret, acknowledge the emotion, try and identify it, then allow it, and then work on what you can do or say to move forward or help the situation.
Getting stuck in self-blame or ruminating over and over about what you 'should' have done or said will only keep you stuck in a place that won't support you and doesn't feel good.
And when we can treat ourselves with kindness, we are more likely to have the capacity to feel more kindness and compassion toward others.
3. Put yourself first
There’s an analogy you might have heard, about why adults are asked to put their oxygen masks on first in the flight safety demonstration, before they help children or others.
From a safety perspective if an emergency occurs, passengers have literally seconds before oxygen-saturation levels drop to the point where we could lose our ability to recognize faces and shapes, and eventually pass out.
In life, this reminds us of the importance of looking after us. It's true that we can’t pour from an empty cup and we are all in the business of supporting others in some ways, and if we’re not looking after ourselves how can we possibly hope to support others, or lead or model the way for others to look after themselves. This is so important. It's not selfish, it's essential. And YOU ARE WORTH IT.
4. The importance of rituals
Right now many people feel there is little they are in control of with so much change and challenge, and new information seems to be coming at us in waves with little to no warning.
While it seems there is so much we can't control, we can remember that we CAN control our responses, and we CAN control our rituals.
The way you wash your face in the morning, how and when you make your bed, or how you spend at least 5 minutes when you first walk in the door patting your dog or playing with your kids.
These little things can be huge stress relievers and help you feel in charge of something when there can be so much chaos.
5. The power of visualisation
Positive imagery or visualisation is an incredibly powerful tool and technique used by elite athletes, writers, psychologists, entrepreneurs and successful people from all walks of life, and although we might not always be aware of it, we are all regularly using our visualisation skills.
When we are preparing to meet someone new, or to deliver an important presentation or attend a meeting, or prepare for a challenge of any kind, we rehearse the event in our mind via our thoughts and images, and we can either choose to play the event out in the way we would like it to go, or we can play out everything we think could go wrong.
And the most interesting thing here is that our brains don't actually know the difference between what we are imagining or what we are actually experiencing, so whatever we are visualising is what we are 'training ourselves for.'
Next time you are imagining a future event, dare to see it how you would like it to go, and help yourself move toward it. Or when you really want to relax and self-regulate, listening to a guided visualisation audio track can help you go to places in your mind where you feel warm safe and calm.
For a range of relaxation tracks for all family members, you're invited to join the Positive Living Skills Family Link, a free resource hub for all members of the family.
You are your priority and your social and emotional and physical health is really up to you.
Take the time for self-care and see how this can support you and those you love.
Until next time,
The PLS team