In the fast pace, constant to-do world most of us live in, it’s hard to find time for self-care. So, here are seven simple self-care practices that I have found to have profound effects. Start with just one for a few moments or several minutes. Don’t put a time frame on it, just be with it.
1) Breath/mindfulness/embrace space
Wherever you are right now, take a few moments to simply notice your breath. Is it easy? Is it encumbered? Is it shallow? As you notice your breath, you are also creating mindfulness and partaking in embracing space, two other critical practices for optimal well-being, and contributing to a healthier you!
Movement makes the world go round! As with all things in life, balance is key. Too little movement and we get stuck, stiff, depressed and sick, and too much movement can create repetitive injuries, instability, anxiety and a sense of separation. Find activities you enjoy and commit to at least 20 minutes of movement per day. Dancing, walking, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, swimming, paddling, and the list goes on and on. Only your excuse is in the way!
There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer for how much water you should take in daily, but it is suggested to aim for at least half of your body weight in ounces per day. So, if you weigh in at 130lbs, that would be 65oz, or roughly 8 cups of water per day, at a minimum. Observe a wilted plant once watered, and that too should tell you something. Sometimes water is all we need to turn our mood, our energy, our life around!
4) Wholesome nourishment
Start observing labels. This observation can be another few moments of mindfulness, where you are fully absorbed in the activity, the reading, at hand, creating a quieter mind and a more alert body. Go for food in their most natural states, minimal processing, no additives or ingredients you can barely sound out, lots of colorful fruits and veggies and to your liking. After all, enjoyment of food is a part of life!
Humans have an innate need for play, just as they have a need for sleep. It’s part of neural evolution, and play is also linked to positive brain changes later in life. Play is vital for problem solving, creativity and joy. It releases “feel good” endorphins, helping to protect the heart by improving the function of blood vessels, and boosting immunity.
Yes, create! You have creativity. We all do. Not just the top-selling artists, or musicians, or athletes, but each and every one of us! All it takes is to start, whether that be creating a garden, or a sacred sanctuary/space in your home or office, or maybe pulling out some coloring books, or a journal, or taking a leap into something you never thought possible. Drop your thinking cap and put on your creativity hat. Let the ideas flow, without judgment or hesitation.
7) Adequate sleep
Last, but for sure not the least, is sleep. It is during sleep that our body does its best work at restoring and healing itself so we can show up fully day-to-day. They say 7 to 9 hours per night, but you know your body best. Some can get away with 6 hours, while others may require 9 to 10 hours.
If you need to slug coffee first thing, that’s most likely a sign you are not fully rested. Try water upon arising instead. Active rest, such as mindfulness, or reading, can be just as restorative as actual sleep, but not to replace sleep!
Now that you have this information, start NOW! Pick one, maybe two practices to incorporate into your life at this moment and build upon them as you go along. You can stick to one or two for a time, or even take on all seven practices! Whatever your approach, I encourage you to at least take these practices on and observe how you and your life shift for the better.
And don’t be shy, please! Share these practices so more and more of us lead this world towards health and goodness.
To your health and best self and life, namaste!