Now is the perfect time to come home to yourself – back to your own heart, back to your own wisdom, back to your own strength. It’s time to be well-resourced so that you have energy for your creativity, your contribution, and your presence in the world. You must be well-resourced in order to show up to the people and things in your life that matter most. You can’t really fully be there for your loved ones, your clients, or your work if you’re not well-cared for. And, you must be well-resourced for yourself – so that you stay healthy and strong to live the full life you’re here to live.
Self-care doesn’t have to be big or grand, and we certainly don’t want it to become one more thing on an already overwhelming to-do list! No! That’s not what I’m talking about when I talk about self-care. I’m talking about what my mentor, Renee Trudeau, defines self-care as: “the art of attuning and responding to your needs and desires, moment to moment.” This is an in the moment thing, my friends! It is a practice, an art that develops over time. And, it doesn’t have to be hard or take a lot of time.
I’ve been thinking about mini moments of self-care, because most of us don’t have an ounce of extra energy, and we can’t imagine finding more time in a typical day. So, what might be a mini moment that would help rejuvenate, restore, and nourish you? Here are some ideas to get you started:
Breath - take a few minutes to connect with your breath – closing your eyes to shut out distractions if you can, maybe putting a hand on your heart and another on your belly, and just notice. Where does your breath come in? Where do you feel its movement most clearly? Is it deep or shallow? smooth or jagged? Just be with it and notice if it slows or deepens as you stay with it… eventually you might want to invite the exhale to be just a little longer than the inhale, getting rid of that stale air as you bring in fresh.
Music – put on a song that lifts you up, energizes, soothes or inspires you (what is it you need right now?) and dance and sing along… let your body and voice move as a way to get your own energy moving and as a way to find some joy or comfort!
Rest – lying down and letting your body be horizontal, even for a few minutes is soothing to your nervous system. It does not have to be a full-blown nap. But, if you have 20 minutes, close your eyes, drift away, and take it!
Fresh Air! – get outside to be in nature even if only for a few moments – take a breath of that fresh air into your lungs and find refreshment. If you can go for a walk, whether it be around the city block or in the woods, notice and connect with the nature around you – trees, birds, breeze, snow, sunshine… there is something enlivening about being with nature.
Journaling – take a few minutes to do a short journaling. This could be simply to brain dump whatever’s on your mind and in your heart or you could do an exploration into deeper connection with yourself, asking and answering a question like “What is it that I most desire right now?” or looking at a bigger one like, “The life I envision is…” It’s amazing the wisdom that rises up when we give ourselves a few minutes to write without thinking or stopping.
Create – get out some watercolors and paint away – see what wants to be expressed today; knit; craft with clay; make a collage; color or draw a mandala – all of these things are great ways to tap the creative part of our brain and get out of the thinking mind, which may really need a rest.
Connect – connect with other people in person or by phone so that you can be seen and heard and have a chance to share laughter and struggle with someone else. Knowing we are not alone is really powerful. It can be really tempting to isolate when we’re feeling overwhelmed or down, so sometimes this one takes a conscious effort. The rewards are well worth it.
Sprinkle in some JOY! – have something to look forward to each and every day that makes you happy, makes you laugh, warms your heart, or just brings in a gentle sense of contentment… there’s room for it every day, even in the darkest of times.
What ideas do you have? I’d love to hear yours in the comments below – we are each other’s teachers!
Self-care definitely needs to come in mini moments over and over again throughout the day. There are also times when it’s great to take a longer period of time to really fill up your own well if you can. Give yourself a half day or full day to simply listen to your heart and gut – what is it that would be nourishing, joyful, or healing for you today? Be willing to be surprised and be willing to change your “plan” if you start something and find out it isn’t filling you up as you had hoped. This isn’t about making plans or commitments – it’s about learning to listen to your own guidance and being gentle with yourself as it comes.
If you’d like a longer stint of self-care immersion, take a weekend or week-long retreat – alone or with a group. Retreats give you a chance to turn off the phone and computer, to step away from daily demands, and to create space for you – to go within and see what really needs your attention right now. Retreats are a time for your mind to relax, your body to rest, and all of you to slow down.