It’s almost February, can you believe it? This first juicy month of 2017 has flown by, and with it some of that enthusiastic resolve that we all feel with the beginning of a new year, fresh with possibilities has begun to wane for some. Once we get back to the daily grind, our promises of self care tend to get put on the back burner in exchange for other seemingly more important matters.
The truth here is that there is NOTHING more important than self care. I’ll say that again. There is NOTHING more important than self care. End of story.
So while I’m not here to talk about resolutions, as such, I do know from speaking with many of my clients that self care and having more balance, and less busy-ness was definitely high on the list of priorities for many people for this year after the massive year that was 2016.
As I’ve mentioned before, from a numerology perspective 2016 was an ending year and 2017 is a beginning year. Even if you don’t subscribe to that theory, there is no doubt that 2016 was a huge year of change, endings and growth for many people.
So, back to self care. While it should be our number one priority (did I make that clear above?) it’s all too easy to slip back into old, easy and comfortable patterns, just like we slip into our comfy at home clothes after a long day at work. The snooze button gets hit that too few many times to make early morning routines possible, the weather starts to affect our best laid plans for exercise and commitments seem to creep their way into our diaries where we had previously promised to book ourselves a day out.
What to do about it? Just like starting anything new, it requires practice and repetition. Some people believe that it takes 21 days to create a habit, other schools of thought say it’s longer. No matter which you think is correct, the reality is, it’s important to schedule yourself into your diary, make the times non negotiable and take care of you.
I’m not going to list things you can do to bring self care into your life here, I’ve done that before and will again, but it’s really is a post for another day. What I want to talk about now, is how to renew yourself after your self care has gone out the window, in order to get yourself back as number one on your agenda. The things you can do when you are tired, lacking in motivation, eating peanut butter on toast for dinner, and Netflix and Facebook have become your best friends. Nothing wrong with either, but you need to come first.
These strategies are all evidence based and have been substantiated by numerous studies, so it’s not just me making this stuff up. To me, most of it seems to be common sense, but the hippy in me loves the fact that science is finally catching up and proving what us hippies have always known like it’s a world first discovery. As long as we are talking about it and doing it, I don’t care who discovers or validates it – let’s just make it happen.
So what are these wonderful ways that we can get a sense of renewal? First, we must understand that there is a need for renewal, the need for us to stop pushing and renew ourselves in real time. Check in with how you are feeling emotionally, physically, spiritually and mentally. Room for improvement? I’ve got the solution for you right here.
Here are the top 5 strategies that have been found to lead to renewal faster than anything else, according to various studies conducted by Case Western University.
- Meditation. There is an abundance of emerging evidence that shows any kind of contemplative practice renews the mind and body. (no surprises here, but I like the fact they have found results for all contemplative practices)
- Any form of exercise. (again no surprises – let’s get moving people, it doesn’t matter what it is, let’s move!)
- Different emotions or states. Play and a sense of playfulness, and taking the time to intentionally bring play into your life, brings renewal. (yes!!!)
- Compassion. When we feel authentic compassion for others, it results in internal regenerative renewing. (win win here!)
- Time in nature. Being in and around natural settings has a resetting effect of the body and mind. (there is so much exciting new evidence coming out of time in nature, who doesn’t feel better after time on the beach, in a forest or park – let’s get outside every single day)
So as I head off to sleep now, with a fresh new day full of possibilities ahead of me tomorrow, I’m committing to adding at least three of the above things to my day. I am delivering Mental Health First Aid tomorrow and I’ve made a promise to myself to up level my self care when facilitating. So, I will meditate in the morning, and when I finish for the day I plan on sitting on the beach for an hour or so, followed by a delicious yoga class.
Are you in need of renewal? If so, why not give some of these a try? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.