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Q+A: The number one everyday self-care tip

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LIFE + ME’S WELLBEING PSYCHOLOGIST SUZY READING ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS…

Q: What’s your number one self-care tip that I can make part of my everyday life?

A: Is there one thing we can all do, every day to boost our wellbeing? Sounds like a tall order, right? But yes, there is! The one self-care tool I use every day of my life is savouring. It is such a simple skill that even my three year old son has mastered it… in fact children are naturally the masters of savouring – just watch them while they’re immersed in something they find joyful!

Savouring can be defined as thoughts or actions that create, amplify and sustain enjoyment. Basically, it’s the ability to suck the life out of pleasurable experiences, giving it your complete attention and yourself the full permission to relish it. There are three different components to savouring – past, present, future. You can savour the past by reminiscing, you can savour the present by immersing yourself in the pleasure of the moment at hand and you can savour the future by joyfully anticipating and visualising what might lie ahead.

Savouring is a skill that we build with practice and as our competence grows it is as if we see the world through a different lens, always on the lookout for something uplifting, engaging, awe-inspiring or the silver lining so to speak. It takes just a moment to cultivate and is such a potent mood alchemist, I urge you to try it. We all have time for this kind of self-care!

Exercises to develop the skill of savouring:

  1. Savour the ordinary. Choose to savour two enjoyable experiences per day – this can be something ordinary such as your walk to work, (we even do it on the school run!), or you could choose to relish something from your daily routine that you might normally rush through. Spend at least a couple of minutes reflecting on the experience, trying to feel it as intensely as possible and let the experience linger as long as possible.
  2. Savour with your senses. Indulge in your senses and be alive to the joy available to you whether it is in your morning coffee, the scent of your newborn, your favourite piece of music or the natural beauty available to you. Pay close attention and filter out any extraneous thoughts or stimulation that interferes with you taking delight in this moment. Train yourself to be on the lookout for beauty around you and don’t miss an opportunity to derive pleasure from it.
  3. Savour with friends. Take the time to get together with friends and family and reminisce about shared pleasurable memories, revel in the joy found in this moment and share your visions of future events that you are excited about. Make sure also that you never miss out on celebrating achievements and successes with your friends and family and similarly sharing in their good news.
  4. Hit the “replay” button. Choose a happy event or experience and replay it in your mind, or in conversation with someone. Don’t analyse the event, just relish it.
  5. Create a savouring album. Think of this as your ‘happy journal’. You can include photos of your favourite people, places and things, quotes, cuttings, notes, letters, drawings. Keep adding to it to make sure it stays fresh and turn to this journal whenever you need a boost.

I hope you enjoy seeking out pleasurable moments to relish, recalling past ones and imagining future experiences. This should be the best homework you’ve ever been given and best of all, it is sure to pay dividends.

Suzy Reading is a Chartered Psychologist, Yoga Teacher, Health Coach and mum of 3. 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’. Suzy is Life + Me’s Wellbeing Psychologist. If you have a question for Suzy for our Q+As, or if you have a suggested topic you would like her to cover, email [email protected]

DISCOVER SUZY’S BOOK HERE.

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