No matter how busy we are, there are several ways to practice self-care everyday. These are the moments we put ourselves first. It’s not necessarily about getting a mani-pedi ahead of a an event or having time for a cup of coffee. In addition to taking care of our basic needs, we also need to decompress, centre, and check-in with ourselves to make happiness a priority.
Even as healers and instructors, this is not always easy and we are all guilty of not practising what we preach. But do try (practise is the key here as well) because when we do, we will feel healthier, better and just lighter. And of course when we feel like this, we become much more mindful, attentive and more productive in everything we do.
Here are some useful few tips and suggestions to incorporate into your daily routine for a more balanced, happier you:
1. See The Humor In Every Situation-and Laugh!
We all have those moments when it is hard to find anything even remotely funny and all we want to do is growl. For days like this, think about what amuses you, even if it means watching your favorite reruns of comedy TV shows or movies. Laughter makes our body release endorphins, the body’s ”feel good” chemicals could even help alleviate physical pain.
There are plenty of funny, bizarre, curious or ironic things that happen around us everyday: It could be a toddler telling some recently learned ”truth” a little bit too loudly when queuing to pay for the groceries, or an unfortunate misspelling on a newspaper header or a street sign. Cultivate your ability to see and appreciate the funny side of things as they come along. If laughing aloud is not an option, you can always have a little inward chuckle.
2. Positive Affirmations
Whilst some may dismiss reading proverbs about divine energy and making lemonade with lemons as silly, positive affirmations are a proven method of self-help. Not only do affirmations purify the thought process, they help us to restructure the brain by working on the subconscious mind. There are many ways to weave affirmation to your everyday life. You can memorizea simple, one-liner mantra to repeat in the car on your way to work. You can keep a positive phrase of your choice as your screensaver, or have a post-it inside the kitchen cupboard. However and wherever you choose to incorporate these positive affirmations into your daily life, make it immediately accessible to your daily routine.
3. Learn To Say No.
Boundaries are not only about learning to say ”no.”
It can be quite tricky as the road to self-neglect is usually paved with good intentions.
Most people want to help others, be it sympathising with a colleague, lending some cash to a friend, or saying yes to extra volunteering hours ”for a few weeks” when we already feel there is not enough hours during the day. However, be always aware of the possibility that the colleague might become increasingly clingy, 100 euros lend can become 500, and those extra volunteer hours can take time away from your sleep.
Of course most situation are temporary, but think twice before committing yourself to a responsibility and ask yourself if this act of kindness isn’t something that will cause havoc in your life..
Also, be aware of the people who are naturally more persuasive and even willing to push us beyond what we are comfortable with. Remember that at the end of the day, we all need to own up to our actions and setting boundaries with a firm response could ultimately be the best situation for everyone involved.
4. Get Rid of Toxic People
Getting rid of toxic people in our lives could be a long-term process, especially if these people run in the same circles as you. Equally, you want to avoid burning bridges, if possible.
First, some friendships are meant to be transitory: There is a time and a place for certain relationships to be formed. Rather than artificially trying to maintain a relationship that (especially if it feels complitely one-sided) does not serve any purpose, it is entirely ok to allow these friendships to fade at its own pace.
It doesn’t necessarily mean these relationships cannot re-enter your life again. Situations and people could change, and who knows if one day the friendship could be re-ignited in the future?
Then there are the people we’ve all encountered.: The permanently smug, condesending, energy-vampires, the ”life-as-competition” types, the backstabbers… and the list goes on. Of course it is fair to try and explain your feelings about the relationship and provide a million excuses for their behavior and attitude, but after some time if you find that not much is changing, don’t think twice about dropping these individuals from your life.
Finally the hardest kind: The relationship you’re trying too hard to ”make it work.”
It is entirely possible to deeply love and care for somebody but realise that things are not working out as they should, no matter how much effort both parties have given. A relationship can be hard, but it should not be draining. It might even take several attempts to clear yourself of this situation but it is important to honestly recognise what we feel deep down: If you feel as though a weight has been lifted from your shoulders at the thought of starting a fresh chapter without this relationship, you know you’ve done the right thing.
5. Practice Mindful Breathing
Sometimes it may be necessaryto take a break and head to the forest, hills, mountains, nearest park… hell, even a rooftop will do, if that is the only thing you have available! You do not have to sweat buckets, kick any walls, but taking deep slow breaths is a must. Close your eyes and take deep full-belly breaths. Doing so could make you feel more connected to your body and and eventually decrease the heart rate, which in turn has the effect of lowering the blood pressure, too.
Just five minutes of taking a pause to turn your thoughts internally by focusing on the breath can work wonders to your health and reprogram your mind. You got this!
Perhaps these are familiar tactics (well done in that case!) or you found a point or two that could be intergrated to your daily life.
But now we want to hear from you! What other self-care tips do you practice?
Written By: Elina Kivikoski
Yoga Instructor & Blogger
Originally from Finland, Elina has lived half of her life abroad, completing a BA (Hons) in Politics and International Relations, followed by two MA degrees. After finishing her academic studies, Elina entered a career in marketing, finance and IT that lasted over a decade. She is currently based on the East Mediterranean island of Cyprus, in the crossroads of three continents, taking a break from the corporate world to focus on her passions: Yoga, windsurfing and writing, Elina is a 200 hour certified yoga teacher and is currently studying towards Birthlight perinatal yoga teacher diploma. You can find her blog on https://onthesametimezone.com.