Finding the time for self-care is a common theme I have coming up with clients.  First of all,  I’m so proud of people identifying the need for self-care in the first place.  I think once you understand the importance of it, you just know that you need more of it in your life.

So what exactly is self-care?

The great thing about self-care is that it’s all about ‘self’…. being you!  This means that we all have our own definition and understanding, as well as different priorities.  Like so many things, there is no one way, there is just your way, but how do you know what that is?

The only way that we can really know what it is we need is to take the time to listen to that small, still voice inside.  The one that is getting drowned amid the constant barrage of messages.  Every bit of media that we are exposed to is telling us how we should look, act and feel.  It’s exhausting?  Who knows the right way anyway?

I’ll tell you who…you!  “You are the expert on you,” is something I just can’t repeat often enough.  I think we have come far enough now to know that there isn’t one right way of eating or exercising.  It’s time that we acknowledged that there is no right way for so many other things as well.  There is only your way.

Self care is taking responsibility for yourself.  It’s about knowing exactly what you need to do, and doing it.  Sometimes it looks like ice cream and movies but sometimes it looks like cleaning out the cupboards, or setting a budget, or just saying no.

The only way you can really know what it is that you need, is to firstly become aware of how you’re feeling.  So many of us cruise through life an autopilot, constantly ‘on’, going through the motions, following the routine.

Then, all of a sudden, we find that we’re feeling down or overwhelmed or completely exhausted.  We all know that it’s harder to dig yourself out of a hole than avoiding falling into it in the first place.  We also know that it gets harder to dig ourselves out the further down that hole we find ourselves.

Self-care is the preventative maintenance.  It’s about being aware of how we’re feeling and taking preventative measures to ensure that we stay on top of things and out of the hole.

Back to the number one secret of self-care, and that is self-knowing.

Unless you take the time to tune in to how you’re feeling, how are you going to know exactly what you need?  I advise my clients to take ten minutes a day to sit quietly and tune in.  In fact, a common question that I ask is, “What’s your ten?”  Just as we all have different self-care needs, we all have our favourite and most effective ways to tune in.

They can range from meditation to just mindfully sipping a cup of tea.  You might choose to journal or read something inspirational.  You might like to take a peaceful walk, concentrating on the sensations around you.  For some, it’s listening to music or being creative.

The most important things to remember are:

  1. Experiment to find what works for you and what you truly enjoy doing.
  1. Do it!  Routine.  Habit.  Every day.  This is so important, even when you feel that you don’t need it.  Remember it’s the maintenance.  The stuff that helps you to see the hole before you fall in.

So many people tend to give and care for others in their life and leave themselves to last.  Guess what?  You’re no good to anyone when you’re overwhelmed and exhausted.  If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for the ones you love 😉

…and above all else, “Know thyself.”

PS  If you’re keen to jump straight in and find your ten minutes a day, I have created the perfect ‘mini-retreat’ for you – an instant course with seven different practices and techniques for you to try.  One for every day of the week.  Straight to the practical – no waffle.  Check it out HERE