As a yoga teacher and writer, I know only too well what it feels like to forget to care for myself. I use to be one of those people who often put the needs of other’s before my own. I was the worst when it came to looking after myself! Seriously, my compassion bordered on martyrdom. I had this idea that I was less important and that my job was to be of service no matter what.
The trouble was I got so into other people’s needs I forgot my own. One day a while ago I said yes to teaching six two-hour yoga classes in different parts of my city, all in one day. I didn’t want to let the people down. It was stupid for me to think this way, yet something inside me then couldn’t say no. The amount of energy that it took meant at the end of the day, I bearly had the energy to cook my dinner and swiftly fell asleep on the sofa. This is not what being healthy it is about!
By not caring for myself I was putting a message out to the world that I didn’t count, after all if I can’t care for myself how can I expect anyone else to? I’m sure you have been there yourself in some way and hence why you are reading this article. The problem is, we are not always aware of how we are treating ourselves.
Don’t get me wrong, helping others is still something close to my heart but I no longer do it at the expense of my health, happiness and well-being. I like to inspire rather than fix.
So just how did I learn to care for myself better and how can this possibly help you?
Here are my tips:
Meditate, meditate and meditate!
Allowing the time and space ‘just to be’ is to me the ultimate in self-care and self-compassion. Meditation is like giving your head a massive spring clean. All that dust, junk and clutter from overthinking, benefits from an energetic hoover. To be still and receptive to feeling at peace is love. The good news is all you have to do is dedicate some time every day to meditate. Yes, we all have stuff we should be doing, so make meditation top of your things to do. Life seems to be getting faster. Counter balance this by finding the time to be slow. Love yourself enough to start counting meditation as important in your life as cleaning your teeth. If you sign up for my free newsletter, I can email you a free meditation guide today!
When it comes to food, I feel this is the place where people struggle the most with when trying to break old habits. We have all done it, had the greatest intentions to stick to a healthy eating plan and then along comes a friend or relative with a chocolate cake and somehow we forget.
It’s not about never eating chocolate cake again but having the self-love to fuel your body with what is good for it rather than what sugary craving you have.
So next time you see that cake, decide, can I have the short term discomfort of saying no to for the long term benefit of healthy eating? You may decide that on this occasion it’s worth the sugar hit, that’s fine too but try to have less sugar and more healthy greens. Your skin, mind and health will love you for it.
I have this saying that people in the future will look back at our diet and proclaim that sugar was as addictive as cocaine and that we were all addicted to it. They will be horrified how shops encouraged us to eat so much sugar!
Also, taking the time to sit and cook for yourself is caring. Chew your food more slowly is a must. See my weekly cooking meditation article on this. It’s one of my favourite meditations!
3. Learn to say no and set boundaries
This I have found the most difficult to implement. However, it has been worth the effort. As I was saying in the first paragraph, by not saying no to at least some of those yoga classes, I was, in fact, being unkind to myself.
I’m still learning, but now understand it is more harmful to say yes when you mean no. The short-term discomfort of saying no means that you are living in truth.
People understand and respect your boundaries the more that we learn to set them.
4. Make time for dreams by doing less of other stuff
Never give up on your dreams. What I am learning to do is see my setbacks as stepping stones of progressive learning. Also, to celebrate with gratitude when things work out for me.
Remember your self-worth is not measured through seeking other people’s approval of what you are doing. I find that sometimes people can feel disconcerted when others go for their dreams. They can be negative instead of supportive due to their fears. Best not to feel bitterness but instead send them compassion.
Do rock the boat, do dare to dream and then take steps towards those dreams, all the time enjoying the journey.
See my article on going for dreams
5. Don’t forget to enjoy life
“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. Nahn Nhat Thich
Don’t be so focused on what you wish you had so that you forget to see the joy in life. Joy is showing gratitude for the present moment by enjoying it. Living in the UK I notice that many people have conditions on their joy around the weather. I say find joy in your day even when it is raining. If you have a had a horrible day, before going to bed, try and think of at least one thing that you are grateful for. It may be small but there is always joy if we seek it out.
6. Get enough sleep
Yes, you, night owl burning the candle at both ends! Allow your body time to repair itself by getting to bed early. The ultimate in self-love is to care enough about yourself to get at least 7 hours a night.
So to recap, start caring for yourself by setting boundaries, eating well, sleeping well, meditating and finding more joy in your world and watch how magical life can be!
If you are serious about making positive changes into your life in an easy way, check out my new book available on Amazon and Kindle worldwide. If you sign up for my free newsletter, I can ping you a free meditation-made-easy guide. Yeah!
The Word sprite