Earlier this year I took the opportunity for a lifestyle change that began with me having a lot more time on my hands. This was a dramatic variation to my previously hectic existence. Whilst I have returned somewhat to a more responsibility filled and busy schedule, I have maintained a commitment (most of the time!) to maintain some of the self-care rituals that became a habit when my 'spare time' was easier to come by. I'm pleased to say that these little habits have made a big difference to my sense of well being. The best thing is, most of them take but a few seconds!
I've realised that a lot of self care is achieved through stimulating our senses. It doesn't have to take a lot of time, but the little things all added up sure can have big impact on well being. If your life is lacking in some of the 'nice things,' perhaps some of my self-care tips for busy people may give you some inspiration.
Regular mini meditation – this can be as simple as reminding yourself to focus on your breath for a moment, even if just for a few seconds. Another favourite of mine is to ask myself the following three questions: What is it that I can see right now? What is it that I can feel right now? What is it that I can hear right now? Usually this is all I need to bring me back to the present and help me to relax.
Slow, deep breathing – Sometimes if I'm particularly stressed, I find that it helps to consciously slow down my breathing. I time this process by breathing in for three seconds and out for three seconds. It is amazing how quickly this can aid relaxation, and it can be done anywhere at anytime.
Light an aromatherapy candle or oil burner – I keep different aromatherapy oils on hand to cover a range of desired effects. For example, if I am feeling stressed I will burn oils for relaxation, such as lavender or marjoram. If I am feeling flat, or unmotivated, I will burn energising oils such as grapefruit, lime or rosemary. It really is a lovely thing to do for yourself.
Play some music – I select my music in a similar way to my aromatherapy oils. If I need energising and uplifting, I will put on something upbeat and inspiring. If I feel stressed or reflective, I put on something slower and relaxing. Music can really impact on my mood and sense of well being, and having a good collection on hand feels like a great way to care for myself.
Buy or pick yourself some flowers – I have the benefit of having a garden from which I can regularly pick flowers and foliage. I usually always have a colourful vase of fresh flowers somewhere in my home. It usually isn't big, just a stem or two, but it really brightens things up. You don't have to have access to a garden to enjoy flowers. Next time you are walking past some flowers for sale, why not buy yourself some?
Soft lighting – soft lightening at home in the evening is one of my favourite things! Once the dinner has been made, the jobs are done and it's time to relax, the lights go down. My favourite light is a recently purchased Himalayan salt lamp. The colour is beautiful, and the light it gives off is very gentle. I also really like white fairy lights (it doesn't have to be Christmas!) to help create the mood.
Inspiring quotes and images – why not put aside some time to decorate places in your home, or workplace (if allowable), with inspiring quotes and images? Or better still, as you come across them in your day to day, keep adding to your collection as you go. Once they are there in visual range, they will remind you regularly of what is precious and important to you, and you won't even need to put in any extra effort!
Herbal teas – the ritual of making tea can be extremely self nurturing. It provides the opportunity for a break from a busy day, the opportunity to hold a warm cup in your hands (feels great during winter) and also to do something good for your health. Drinking herbal tea is hydrating and therapeutic, and is a welcome addition in my busy day!
Self nurturing whilst driving – I, like may of us, spend a lot of time driving. This time can be taken as an opportunity to self-nurture. I like to play inspirational CDs whilst doing long drives, as it is one of the only times I can guarantee myself that I will be a captive audience. If you enjoy audio books, why not play those? Driving is also a great time to practice the slow deep breathing and mini meditation techniques. Feeling present and grounded whilst driving is in the best interests of safety, as well as stress and relaxation!