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Have you ever heard the advice on an aeroplane to put on your own oxygen mask first before helping others? This advice is a good example of the fundamentals of Self Care. A far cry from self indulgence and narcissism, self care is in fact a sure fire way to ensure you are well enough in yourself to freely give others the time and energy that they deserve. It is also less about something you have to do and more about a way of life. The days ahead of self quarantine, welcome a unique opportunity to put self care into practice. What self care looks like is a personal expression of what you need in your daily life to thrive. It is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your loved ones and a combination of practices which involve the mind, body and soul. Here are some suggestions for ways to self care that you may be missing in your life.
Sleep is one of the most important ways to take care of the body. It is easy to fall into unhealthy sleep patterns when spending days and nights indoors. Staying up very late and getting little sleep, or sleeping for a number of hours during the day can have a negative impact on the body, such as sleep deprivation, insomnia and a host of illnesses linked to a lack of sleep. In bestselling book, Why we sleep, Matthew Walker explains how our circadian rhythm (our internal body clock, following the 24 hour cycle of night and day) differs from person to person and the importance of working with your body to get the rest you need. With many people shuttered indoors for the next few weeks, there is a unique opportunity to tap into your own rhythm and understand how your body works. With a better understanding of your body’s needs for rest and activity, you can have a lasting positive impact on your physical and mental health.
Exercise goes hand in hand with sleep and can improve the mood and ensure the body works optimally. While everyone’s exercise needs differ based on their lifestyle and body, taking some form of activity everyday is a good idea for all of us. If you are new to exercising at home, it can be overwhelming when faced with the decision of what exercise to do. There are so many options online, how do you choose? Cardio or strength training, yoga or aerobics? This can work as a mental block to exercising. We recommend trying out a different form of exercise for just 10 minutes everyday. Once you have a feel for a few forms of exercise, you can hone in on one that you like and tailor a weekly exercise plan to suit you. It also helps a lot to workout with someone in your household or take advantage of technology and virtually meet with a friend. If you’re not sure where to look, here are some suggestions for social media channels to try. Some of them are hosting live public sessions that you can join, if you miss going to group activity sessions.
Yoga: Youtube channel, Yoga with Adriene
Dance aerobics: Instagram, @Forward_Space
Strength Training/Cardio: Instagram, @basecampfitness
There is a lot of worrying happening in the world right now. It is so easy for thoughts to spin off into the past or project anxieties into the future. Mindfulness meditation is a simple way to ground yourself in the present. Many find the prospect of meditating daunting, but you can try the simple act of sitting quietly and concentrating on your breathing. Follow your breath in and out to draw your mind to what is happening in the moment. Another way to be more present, is to try to tune in 100% to the task at hand. For example, taking a shower or preparing a meal. Instead of multi-tasking or spending the entire time thinking about what else you have to do, focus on the activity at hand. Take in the sights, sounds, sensations, and smells of the moment. This is a wonderful practice to slow your thoughts right down, relieve stress and bring a sense of stillness.
Suggested sites for more inspiration:
By consciously watching what you eat you are caring for yourself from the inside out, ensuring you stay healthy and ward off illness. Aim to consume a variety of nutritious foods from different food groups in your day. Don’t stress if present circumstances mean that you can’t shop for your optimum ingredients. There are tons of recipes available online to try out so take this opportunity to be creative and try out some new meal ideas. If you are looking for recipes, here are a few accounts that we follow:
Instagram: The Minimalist Baker @minimalbaker
Jamie Oliver’s Youtube channel is dedicated to eating well during the coronavirus pandemic
Pampering yourself does not strictly mean a manicure or giving yourself an at home spa session (although we love those things and do recommend them!). Pampering yourself in a broader sense, simply means doing more of what makes you happy. If this is curling up and reading a book, watching a rerun of your favourite TV show, taking a bath or even re-organising your wardrobe – do it. Reserve a slot of time when you can take some time for yourself, even if its just for five minutes.
Here are some of our favourite pampering ideas:
1. At home Face Scrubs
2.Take on a DIY project. There are lots of ideas for projects on instagram profile @ABeautifulMess
3. Watch some stand up comedy. We love Amy Schumer’s Netflix special
4. Keep a Journal. Here is some lovely stationery from Nappa Dori
5. Share your love of books and join an online Book Club like Page Turners
If you struggle to say no or are you are concerned you are overstretching yourself, then you need to set better boundaries for yourself. This could be about any area of your life from work, friends, family and even exercise and food. Good boundaries are there to ensure we keep ourselves ticking over in a steady and secure way. If you are wondering how to go about setting boundaries, you’re not alone and we could write a whole blogpost on this topic (let us know in the comments section if you are interested in this).
A good place to start is to become more self aware and trust your instincts. If it feels wrong, don’t do it. It’s that simple. Once you establish what your boundaries are, it will take some practice for you to master being clear about them with those around you and even with yourself. It can be difficult to say no, but ultimately those who care about you will respect your needs if calmly and respectfully explained. Lastly, accept that you won’t always get it right, but every attempt at living within your boundaries takes you a step closer to a more balanced and positive life.
We hope you find these ideas useful. What are your acts of self care? Comment below or on our social media channels to let us know what you do to take care of yourself or what you thought of the ideas above. We’re all in this together and it is through sharing more with our community that we will find new ways of coping and coming out on the other side of this unprecedented time in a better space. Be well!
This post is part of a Les 100 Ciels blog series titled, Life Indoors. Each week we will be posting on a range of topics to inspire you as you carry on your life from indoors. With the Covid-19 virus spreading around the world, the vast majority of us will be living vastly quieter lives and it is clear that now more than ever before, the importance of focusing on our shared humanity and community is integral. We are committed to continue to engage and support our community. If there is any topic you’d like us to write about, do get in touch and we’ll include it on our blog if we can. With love, The Les 100 Ciels Team