Three female friends together forming love hearts with hands. Friendship and happiness help to improve self care. Here's How To Improve Your Self-Care Practice Today-Sandra Harewood Counselling

Here’s How To Improve Your Self-Care Practice Today

How do you nourish your body and mind and improve your self-care?

Self-care has never been more critical for everyone.

And yes, that includes you!

The COVID19 pandemic has given us plenty of reasons to feel anxious, stressed, and depressed. 

The Benefits of Self-Care

The benefits of focusing on your mind, body and soul and taking the time to nourish them properly are profound. 

Making self-care part of your routine is vital for your mental health and physical health. And research suggests that when you commit to a self-care practice, you’ll see improvements in your self-esteem and are more likely to achieve your self-improvement goals. 

Self-care can also have a positive impact on your relationships. When you take care of yourself, you are less, likely to respond to others unkindly and be more open to connection. You’re also less likely to react in ways which are inauthentic to yourself. You’ll find that you’re able to be more present. 

And don’t forget that we model to others what we tolerate. If you aren’t able to prioritise self-care, you might find that behaviour bounces back your way. 

The expectation for someone else to meet a need you’re neglecting leads to frustration, disappointment and conflict.  

The Key To Improved Self-Care

So, let’s talk about rest because it is the foundation of intentional self-care. 

When the practices meant to nourish become ‘shoulds’ or the latest on a list of things ‘to do’, that leads to burnout. Then that isn’t self-care at all.

Maybe as your reading this you’re thinking “I haven’t got time to rest! It’s my busiest time of year!” I get you. 

But if you think about it, how much time do you find for rest at other times of the year? Be honest with yourself.  

I know this year has brought unprecedented challenges. And we all need to rest to replenish ourselves. Otherwise, we burn out and eventually, the body says ‘No!’ 

But for many of us, it’s the last thing on the list of priorities. After school activities, the children, work, a partner, family, friends, emails, social media become the priority. Narcissistic and high conflict partners, in particular, can demand attention which means that it is challenging to rest.

Rest, What’s That?

Rest isn’t just about sleep; although most adults need between 6 and 9 hours of sleep every night without that, we can become irritable, stressed and more vulnerable to accidents and illness. 

Maybe first we need to bring our attention to the opposite of rest. What’s that?

Busyness.  

Are you less busy since working from home as a result of the COVID19 pandemic?

NO!

Many women and men find that the ‘time saved’ by working at home has been filled with homeschooling, housework and other responsibilities. 

In reality, maybe, you have the same free time as before or perhaps less.

But the busyness in our lives can serve a function.  It distracts us from ourselves. 

Sit With It

You might say you want to improve your self-care, but the busyness gets in the way.

Because when you are busy, you don’t have to sit with the feelings that you’re experiencing. And collectively we’re going through a challenging time. It’s challenging to sit with emotions such as anger, sadness or grief. That’s the brain’s way of protecting you. But equally, you also miss moments of joy, connection and delight. 

Busyness then can be a form of avoidance. When we avoid, we don’t have to face the truth of our experience.

Maybe busyness stops you from confronting the reality of a relationship that doesn’t work. Some couples seem to be getting on fine, but they are so busy that they don’t see that they’re not getting on at all. 

Is your unwillingness to take time off work really about your stellar work ethic or can’t you bear to be with the person who you are with at home? 

Or is there a punitive internal parental voice telling you that you’re lazy if you’re not busy because your family frowned upon rest? If you’re not doing anything, then you’re not productive. If this unhelpful narrative your story, then the rest is going to be difficult. 

Perhaps the busyness keeps you away from the feelings of a painful experience of childhood emotional neglect that if you felt the rage that would emerge would be unbearable.  

Perhaps the challenge with rest isn’t always about finding the time, but a part of you doesn’t want to stop.  

What feelings do you think would come to the surface if you took a rest?

Your Greatest Fear

And sometimes the feelings we avoid aren’t the ‘bad’ ones.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Marianne Williamson

Even those feelings of inspiration, moments of joys, and happiness might be uncomfortable to sit with.

Taking time to rest then can be easier said than done.

Anchoring Your Self-Care

One way to improve your self-care practice with rest is to create a rest anchor. 

This practice will ground you with the rest you need to do each day to replenish your most your soul. Rest doesn’t have to mean not doing anything at all, but you do replenish your essential energy stores – physical, psychological, spiritual and emotional.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Create 20 minutes in your day and stop
  2. Meditate or sit in silence
  3. Read a nourishing book
  4. Practice loving-kindness
  5. Practice self-compassion
  6. Read
  7. Listen to an audiobook
  8. Sit in silence
  9. Listen to music
  10. Watch your favourite movie
  11. Have a bubble bath
  12. Journal
  13. Work on a jigsaw puzzle

If you can embed these things into a morning practice that would be great.

And if you are, time-challenged, start small perhaps with 5 minutes and then add a minute each week.  You could also try setting your alarm 15 minutes earlier. Once you have intentionally set up your periods of rest, you’ll find that you become protective of the time that you dedicate to you. 

Over To You

Are you struggling with rest and self-care? If you want a safe space to discuss and explore how to Improve your self-care regime, get in touch, and book your first counselling appointment. I offer video sessions online via a secure platform. Coronavirus (COVID-19) doesn’t need to put your therapy sessions on pause.  

Or call me today on 07535 864836.

Leave a comment below; I’d love to hear from you.

P.S. PASS IT ON

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© Sandra Harewood 2020

About Sandra

Soul Centred couples counsellor Sandra Harewood specialises in working with couples and women with childhood wounding that impacts their adult relationships. Sandra provides a soulful space for her clients to explore creative solutions to their difficulties and create a great relationship.