LIFE + ME’S WELLBEING PSYCHOLOGIST, SUZY READING, SHARES HER TOP TIPS FOR PRIORITISING SELF CARE WHILST JUGGLING A BUSY LIFE…
Life is full and it’s easy to feel like self-care is just another thing to add to your already heaving to-do list. Here are some simple hacks that will lighten that load and give you access to something nourishing during even the busiest of times.
1. REDEFINE SELF-CARE
It comes down to how you conceptualise self-care. If you think that self-care is hour long yoga classes or spa days then it’s easy to feel like there just isn’t time. Get clear on what self-care is and broaden your self-care toolkit with a selection of nourishing tools and you will see that it needn’t take lots of time.
In fact, self-care needn’t take any extra time at all! Remember the mantra: self-care is health care. It is any life-giving act that tops up your energy bank. It can be as simple as noticing something around you that you find uplifting. It might be pausing to feel your breathing for 60 seconds. Sometimes it’s a single yoga pose. I call these micro moments of nourishment, they are surprisingly potent and we all have time for these. It can be found in practicing kindness, gratitude and compassion – these are skills, a way of seeing and being in this world that take NO extra time at all but have a wonderful positive effect on your wellbeing, and that of everyone your life touches. This is how we make self-care fit with the demands of the real world.
2. PRIORITISE AND PLAN
We schedule in the car for an MOT without a second thought, give yourself permission to prioritise your health and wellbeing and make an appointment with yourself. There’s no point waiting for a ‘good time’, seize the opportunity, plan how you’d like to fill your cup and then enjoy savouring the anticipation of it, lifting your mood before it’s even happened.
3. SMART DOWN TIME
Make the most of your down time. How often does down time get frittered away with rumination, mindless scrolling on social media or a brain fade in front of the telly? When you’re feeling inspired (spritz your favourite scent, take a few deep breaths and some shoulder rolls or a quick walk around the block if you need to shake off sticky thinking) sit down and brainstorm a list of things you can do to nourish your head, heart or body. When that precious window of time comes up, turn to your list and choose something that resonates in the moment and then go do it with abandon!
4. GET PROACTIVE
Without our health, what do we have? Self-care is also the means by which we become the kind of people we aspire to be, so take a long deep breath in and blow away any guilt. At regular intervals in your day, check in with your bodymind and just notice how you’re feeling. Take action before pain, low mood, hanger or anxiety show up. It can be as simple as recognising you need a drink of water or you need to reboot with a quick dose of Nature therapy. In this way I think of self-care as preventative medicine, far more time efficient than the enforced rest of incurring an injury or the suppression of our immune system stopping us in our tracks. Make time for self-care because it is important and the dividends are seriously worth it. Just ask your future self!
Suzy Reading is a Chartered Psychologist, Yoga Teacher, Health Coach and mum of two. She specialises in self-care, helping people manage their stress, emotions and energetic bank balance. She is a contributing editor for Psychologies Magazine and author of ‘The Self-Care Revolution’, ‘Stand Tall Like A Mountain’ and ‘The Little Book of Self-Care‘.