To most people, cleaning doesn’t sound like a fun activity. But although I’m admittedly a lot more invested in the practice of creating a beautiful home than the average person, lately I have realized that cleaning has actually become an important part of my self-care practice.
There’s just something about cleaning out all the gunk from the flat that triggers the “work ready” part of my brain. It helps that wound up monkey part of my brain to relax and enables me to finish my week in the most optimal way possible. It’s much more than just a boring old necessity.
Cleaning might be an unusual way to practice self-care but it’s not the only one! There are loads of ways we can incorporate the concept of self-care into our life, in ways that are meaningful and beneficial for us specifically. It just takes a little time to figure out what that method is for you specifically.
So what do you do as a self-care practice?
If answers don’t spring to mind immediately, then there’s no better time to make the care of you a real priority.
What is Self-Care Practice?
Self-care is exactly what it sounds like: it’s the simple act of taking care of ourself. Why this has become such a foreign concept to most of the world is kinda crazy!
It is solely up to us to monitor to our current state and to make sure that state is as happy and healthy as possible.
But of course, it’s not feasible for us be the main focus of our attention 24/7. But conversely many of us never fully focus on ourselves! Instead our focus is consistently outwards; in this way, our internal state becomes dictated by the external events in our life.
And that’s not good.
When we forget to care for ourselves, we become more prone to getting run down and falling ill. We become stressed and anxious. Basically, we become ticking time bombs, either mentally or physically!
And y’all know exactly what I mean because we’ve all been there.
Beginning A Self-Care Practice
Here’s the trick: self-care isn’t a one time deal. We need to incorporate self-love practices into our regular routine but we’re still going to encounter times when we need to do something for ourselves – ASAP!
Life has lots of surprises! And we need to learn how to cope when things start to feel off.
Feeling present in your body and mind not only makes you a happier human being but allows you to show up for your life in the best way possible.
Self-Care: A 3-Step On-The-Go Practice
Step 1: Check In
It all begins with checking in with yourself. I’ve begun to train myself to do this regularly throughout the day. Our lives aren’t static; even while we’re doing things we’ve done tons of times before we can encounter new feelings. Things that wouldn’t normally stress us out can begin to do so.
Part of the solution is simply to become aware of how we’re feeling on a regular basis. We need to know what normal is before we can figure out when we’re feeling off!
So check in with yourself as you go to work, as you sit at your desk, as you’re standing in line at the grocery store, while you’re sitting in front of the TV at night. It’s important to notice your true internal “temperature” in each of these states so that when the temperature begins to rise for some reason you can also begin to fix it.
How do you feel in your stomach? Heart? Hands and feet? What is your mind focusing on? For now, just focus on awareness.
Step 2: Self-Service
Once you’ve figured out that you’re feeling off, it’s time to take positive action in a way that works for you.
Listen: it’s absolutely essential that you give yourself a time out now and again! Maybe sitting and staring at a blank computer screen is doing you more harm than good. Maybe you find yourself sliding into a place of anxiety on a regular night out with your friends.
Instead of toughing it out, address it full on! Ask what you can do to fix things for yourself in the moment. Feel it out. Sometimes that requires a little break or maybe just shifting your focus for a few minutes. Other times the best thing for you to do is to just call it a night and head home. Whatever approach you need to take is 100% okay.
(Need inspiration? I’ve got a few suggestions at then end of this article.)
Step 3: Monitor
Fixing the problem once doesn’t mean it’s done and gone! Sometimes we become re-triggered and sometimes it takes a few attempts to really recharge and fully come back into stasis. If your self-care treatment wasn’t successful, try a different method or take a longer break. We’re all unique and no one method will help everyone. Take the time to practice and experiment with what works for you.
As an empath, I often need to give myself a time-out. I’m a pretty social person in general but there are certain environments where things start to bother me. Crowded places in particular get me going! If people start bumping into me a lot — even just if on a crowded sidewalk — I start to feel rage-y for no particular reason. So I’ve recently begun the process of consciously coping with that. For me, that often means going to be alone for a moment. Sometimes a public toilet is your only place of refuge and that’s totally fine! I’ll just do some deep belly breaths and maybe a few stretches or self-massage. It just helps me to get back into my body and feel centered enough to get back out there and better deal with those people who’s sense of personal space is a lot different from mine.
10 Quick Self-Care Practice Ideas
Feeling inspired? Here are ten quick self-care practice ideas that you can use while out and on the go:
- Sit in some direct sunlight.
- Give yourself a mini-massage. If the thought of touching yourself for “no reason” feels weird, give yourself and excuse and use some moisturizer!
- Spend five minutes watching the clouds pass by.
- Have a mini-meditation.
- Add mindfulness to a regularly occurring event, like drinking a cup of tea. Notice your motions and really sink into the sensations.
- Take some deep belly breaths or do some alternate-nostril breathing, yogi-style.
- Do some EFT.
- Get moving! Take a quick walk around the block or do some stretches.
- Do a Chi head massage. I do this one all the time! Just give the top of your head some gentle knocks, down each side around the crown. It helps to clear any fuzzy thoughts and it feels weirdly good!
- Listen to something with a high-vibe like Tibetan Buddhist bowls or chanting. Keep it on your phone so you always have it!