This September, we are on a mission to get back to self-care. We’ve spent the summer consumed by the needs of our kids as we planned summer camps, booked holidays, and took on the mental load of getting everyone through the eight or nine weeks the break from school gave us. It has been exhausting, and we may have forgotten ourselves along the way. With so much to be done and no time to do it, being mindful of ourselves is often the first thing to go. We’re worn out already.
Now that we have landed in September with schools back, we have the opportunity to put ourselves first. Throughout the month, I will be sharing self-care prompts on Instagram, and we will make a habit of our self-care once again together. But first, let me explain to you a trick of self-care that is ultimately important as we get back to self-care this month.
The Secret to Successful Self-Care
Making the time for self-care is always half the battle. My hope for you this month is that you will recognise the possible time you may have now with the kids in school, the baby napping, and the house a little quieter and take some of that time explicitly for you. I know this is easier said than done as the workload of life and careers piles on but caring for yourself is crucial. Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
Taking that time for you is not selfish. It’s necessary. And because I know time will still be limited even with the kids back in school, I want you to know the secret to successful self-care - being mindful.
Mindfulness is one of those buzzwords that loses its meaning the more it’s bandied around, but it’s a powerful tool to help you recognise not only your moments but the importance of those moments. We’ve talked about mindfulness before as we explored “What is Mindfulness Anyway?” In essence, slowing down and truly recognising and being mindful of what we are doing, our surroundings, our feelings all play into protecting and amplifying our self-care and helps us to get the most out of it.
Being Fully Present
Mindfulness is quite simply the practice of being fully present, being in the moment. Without judgement, free your mind and truly notice your thoughts before letting them go. Recognise your feelings and release them. Open up your senses and experience the world around you. Breaking the loudness of life by being mindful can help you see what is around you and manage it, understand it, and amplify and handle your reactions to it.
Mindfulness not only helps with those wonderful practices of meditation, yoga, listening to music, or reading but will also help you navigate those tense and rocky situations of life because mindfulness can be practised at any moment of life. It encourages us to recognise the good and the bad because life is a mixture of both. With practice, mindfulness can help us feel those painful thoughts and let them go.
Being fully present in all we do opens up our ability to genuinely appreciate the time, the freedom, and the space (physically and mentally) we have to get back to self-care. It makes us conscious of ourselves, our bodies, and our minds, which strengthens the importance of what we do to care for our wellbeing. When we are mindful, we are in the moment, focused solely on that activity. So as we work through regaining our self-care habits, be aware of what you are doing for yourself, be consciously aware of how your moment of self-care is positively affecting your mind and body. The more we recognise the benefit, the more inclined we are to seek out these important moments.
Simple Ways to Be Mindful Everyday
Taste Your Food
Are you really tasting your food? Are you enjoying every bite and savouring the flavours? Drinking and eating mindfully not only makes your food taste better but offers an opportunity to turn your meal into a gratitude practice. Gratitude has been proven to reduce stress! Being mindful of our food and what we are drinking helps us pause and appreciate what we have. Think of that solitary moment with a hot cup of coffee. Can you really taste it, feel the heat, smell it? That moment of self-care will mean so much more when you are consciously aware of it.
Be Present Wherever You Are
We are constantly distracted by our phones, the radio, our thoughts. We’re very much a wired generation that has trouble relaxing into one single environment when we have access to so many others. Wherever you are, slow your thoughts and be mindful of where you are and your surroundings. Notice the sounds of birds, or voices, or crickets. Feel the air. Is it warm or cool? When you’re with a friend, hear their words and stay within the conversation to truly enjoy their company. Let go of everything and, with intention, truly be in the moment.
Journal with Passion
Journaling is a positive release as we empty our thoughts onto a page and lighten our load. However, there are times when we don’t journal with full conviction. Our truth and reality can create anxiety, and so we hold back. But being mindful of our thoughts is wonderfully freeing. When journaling, be cognisant of your words and allow yourself to write freely.