No time for you? Feeling frazzled and have a never-ending to-do list? Are you always at the bottom of the list?
I understand what it’s like to be a busy busy woman with no me-time. I started out in the banking industry and worked long hours trying to prove myself. After seeming “success” and 12 years later I just felt like “is this it?”. So I started making self-care my priority and do you know what happened? I became more successful. Why? Because by taking care of myself I had more energy & vitality, which made me able to show up more for others.
So why is self-care important?
Firstly, a little bit of biology…
So stress is a beautiful part of our natural body intelligence, yes I said beautiful and here’s why: It is the part of us that reacts to alert us of some incoming danger so that we can take appropriate action. Just take a moment to think about how amazing our natural instinct is to give us this gift of helping us react to incoming dangers! Without this we would not run away very very fast from a tiger in the woods, fight off attackers with a previously unknown force and even, in our modern age, take the changes we really need to take as we’re sooo unhappy.
In our modern day lives, stress can be created by a number of things: having too much to do, not having enough time, outside pressures and it can even be inner tension created as we are very unsatisfied by an aspect of our lives. This last type of stress is like a wake-up call so that we make the changes that we really need to make so that we become really satisfied.
Stress levels are controlled by your Central Nervous System (CNS), which is like the central command system for all your unconscious and conscious activities. In you unconscious part, your CNS responsible for your digestion, heart function, hormones secretion etc. All good so far? OK great, well… The unconscious part has two parallel parts, just like the left and right side of the brain. The two parts are the parasympathetic state, which is responsible for building up and repairing, which it does when you’re resting and relaxed and the sympathetic state is responsible for destroying and making resources available for an imminent attack, which happens when you’re stressed.
So if you are constantly living in a state of stress…? Then you are basically destroying your body more than building it up which leads to premature ageing, sickness and depression.
However, it’s all about BALANCE so if you’re constantly in a state of stress then you are destroying more than building so to fix that I recommend some nourishing self-care practices…
So how to practice self-care when you have no time?
1. Put yourself first (sometimes)
I know you’ve got a business, home and maybe even a family to take care of but if you wear yourself out too thin then you won’t be around to take care of these things if you burn out. So putting yourself first sometimes can mean that you are simply charging up your battery so you’re able to put even more energy into others.
Also, by constantly putting yourself at the bottom of the list, what do you think your unconscious mind is picking up on this? That you’re not worthy, that you’re not important, that you don’t matter – and this creates negative self-talk, low confidence and basically you putting up with more rubbish from other people. For example, I had one client who was a new mum and as going back to work and she was constantly answering the phone late at night, responding to emails at 1am in the morning and attending weekend meetings, more and more. And the more she agreed? The more they took as it created a vicious cycle of low self-worth – all caused by not putting in some boundaries about her private life so work felt that they were first.
So practically for you today, how can you start to put yourself first?
Do an amnesty – review your main life areas (work, relationship, family, friends etc) and see where you put yourself in the pecking order? It’s only by creating awareness that we can start to see exactly where we want to change.
Think about ideally where you want to be in each area and what you need to do to get there?
Start gently putting in some boundaries, which basically means saying No! This can feel very difficult when you haven’t had any boundaries before. The best way is to start simply saying no to things and come at it from the viewpoint “My automatic answer is no, unless they convince me it’s got to be a yes”. We teach people how to treat us so if you are constantly being the “Yes-girl” then guess what? You will be their automatic go-to girl “Yeah, Kelly will do it”
2. Being mindful in whatever you are doing. This is my all-time favourite self-care practice!!! Because if you have no time then there is no time like the present. Being mindful means just being aware of whatever you’re doing right now. Instead of getting lost in our thoughts, which can often create stress-triggers in our body (hands up who’s felt angry and got flushed walking down the street thinking about a past argument with a partner?). We simply think right now “I’m just going to observe whatever is going on”. So you can be walking down the street you can simply just look around to see what’s on the street, what noises can you hear, what smells can you smell. And if the thoughts come – simply observe them and think “oh there’s a thought about so-and-so” then let it pass away. You can do this anywhere! in the Gym, on the tube, in the car, whilst you’re eating lunch, when you’re brushing your teeth. And the great thing about it? It’s been proven to reduce stress and being present with yourself if the best gift you can give yourself.
3. Having a morning ritual. This is all about being more loving with yourself…When you’re having a shower can you massage the gel into your body instead of chucking it on? Can you put the body cream on tenderly like you would to you for your loved-one? Can you look at yourself in the mirror when you’re putting on your make up and say “I love you, thank you?”. All these little things are what we do already, but we can just begin to add some more love and it will feel like a totally different experience.
4. Nourish yourself with little gifts throughout the day. What little treats can you have in your handbag that deepen your self-care? Is it that delicious hand-balm? An essential oil to be used on-pulse or over your head? A nice candle in your office? As I am part of the Neom Organics Wellbeing board I just LOVE their on-the-go treatment packs and hands balms for feeling good. See Neom here: www.neomorganics.com
5. Have an evening ritual. Do something, unique for you, that signalizes that the day has ended and now you have some time. Totally for you. So this does mean turning off your mobile, and it’s recommended at least 2-hours before sleep to help brain waves relax and get ready for zzz. It does mean doing something for you like taking a shower, listening to your favourite music, doing some self-development, reading a book, meditating, daydreaming, yoga. Whatever it is that makes your heart sing. Do it, every single day. Even if only for 10mins. You can seriously do any of these things that I’ve mentioned in just 10mins to start to feel good.
6. Do your perfect day. Every now and then, why not once a month or even a week…
- So firstly, think about what is the perfect day for you? Then do it!
- It could be a day off from all devices (phones, computers etc)
- It could be an at-home spa
- A spa day
- A treatment at a day-spa followed by your favourite book wrapped up in your favourite room
- Or even a retreat once a year…
7. Your biggest self-care gift. The biggest self-care gift that you can give to yourself is to find out what’s causing the stress and make changes at the root cause… sometimes self care practices are really plasters over the wounds that you are not dealing with. So I recommend to see where you’re at, what you would love to change and how you can do it. I’ve had so much success with clients who have been stressed and it’s by finding out what they really would love to do that and taking the baby steps to get their that their stress levels reduce.
8. Sharing is caring. Finally self-care doesn’t need to be a sole practice. If you have a family or a partner, why not share it with them? Given these practices that I’ve shared with you today, could you begin to share with your loved ones such as:
- Asking them “What did you do for you today?”
- Getting them to choose their favourite bath oil to relax
- Sharing an at-home spa day with them
- Do a vision-board session together to create their dream life – this is so much fun with kids!
So these are just some of the things that you can do to make self-care your priority. I really hope that you found some of these tips helpful. So even though you have a never-ending to-do list, you can incorporate some of these practices into what you are already doing and even start putting yourself first sometimes! I really invite you to start to think more deeply about what are the root causes of your stresses so that you can make some small changes that you would really really love, your heart’s desires.