It should be easy to be self care zen
Self Care is one of those phrase that is thrown around a lot and I want you to be able to do fit it into your life. We know that it is an important practice but if you’re like me, you struggle to find time for Self Care in your routine. It shouldn’t be hard to find 5 minutes right? Well 5 minutes can feel like a long time when you have a lot of work to do or tasks waiting for you. Well I have found 3 easy ways to do Self Care in under 10 minutes. Now neither of us has an excuse for not doing it!
Picture me, first thing in the morning, sitting on the sofa. I have just finished a cup of collagen coffee and I have intentions of doing a quick 10 minute meditation. Sitting back into the sofa and wiggle a bit to make sure I am as comfortable as possible. As I close my eyes I take a couple of deep breaths. In for 4, hold for 4, out for 4 and empty for 4. This is called Square Breathing and the idea is to switch your nervous system from sympathetic (alert and ready to go) to parasympathetic (relaxed and calm). I repeat the square breath exercise a couple of more times. I feel my body relax. The perfect environment to start to meditate.
But what about all the things we have to do today?
But my brain has other ideas. “Oh did you write that thing on your list?”, “I can hear a cat drinking make sure to check the water level of the fountain when we’re done here”. “Remember that thing someone said 15 years ago? Well now is the perfect time to rehash it and see what better responses you could have come up with”. “Have I told you lately that you’re not doing enough exercise? No? Well you’re not, how do you expect to be mobile in your 80’s if you’re not doing strength training?” INTERNAL EYE ROLLING “By the way you could be on your 3rd blog post by now instead of sitting here” …. “We have a lot to do today, let’s go …..” And so on.
Sometimes I persevere but other times I give up and go do something else. 10 minutes doing “nothing” is hard work when you’re super busy as most of us are nowadays. There is always something to do on the To Do list that you haven’t quite got to yet. When you have a long to do list it’s natural that self care falls to the back of your queue and if you do manage to prioritise it, your brain will be banging pots and pans and pointing out all of the things you could be doing if you weren’t wasting time with meditation, yoga, exercise or other activities.
It’s ok to put your self care first!
I always harp on about the importance of taking care of yourself. It’s a common paradigm amongst women that putting yourself first is selfish and everyone you take care of should come before you. If you have a busy life then the chances of you getting to the end of everyone’s needs is slim and even if you do, you are so spent that you just don’t have the energy to do anything except lie still and stare into space. I want you to carve out some time for yourself, just 10 minutes a day. You can lose more than that death scrolling on Instagram. Go check out your screen time stats if you don’t believe me. When writing this I went and checked mine. Oh dear, Coach, practice what you preach…
By the way, death scrolling is another way to avoid unwanted emotions. You can read about Emotional Clutter and why it is contributing to emotional eating here.
Now, I am not a fan of toxic positivity – if you just try harder you will be happier. Total rubbish and don’t fall for it. Incidentally if your Instagram feed is filled with toxic positivity quotes then I suggest you unfollow and find some genuine accounts to follow. In my mission to help women everywhere, I want to provide help that is achievable and I think you can agree that just 10 minutes a day really isn’t all that much, sure can’t you meditate on the toilet instead of watching Tik Tok (I am not on it and don’t have it because I have been warned that it’s a black hole for time, even worse than Pinterest!) or reading the news.
Let’s get to the list. I am not giving you self care ideas, Google is your friend if you need ideas.
1. Make it super fun
Self care is important but what is even more important is not letting the “must do self-care” become yet another task on your never ending list of things you have to do. It shouldn’t add stress to your life, it shouldn’t be a burden. Pick things you love to do, things that don’t add a burden. If you want to add yoga for example, don’t pick a class that lasts an hour and is on the other side of the city. Stick on YouTube and pick a 10 or 15 minute practice for beginners or a quick session if you’re not a beginner. It’s far less stressful than trying to make it to that cross city class. Fun is fundamental (sorry) in this habit because it is something you have to force yourself to do then you aren’t going to do it.
2. Make it convenient for you
As above, don’t pick a self care practice that is going to inconvenience you. If you love getting a manicure don’t sandwich your appointment between the dentist and the school pick up time. You want to give this your whole attention, not keeping one eye on the clock in case your poor kiddo is left standing at the school gate. Anyway a manicure doesn’t usually last 10 minutes so pick something that doesn’t take more than 10 minutes. Pick a time of day where you aren’t under pressure and you will be more likely to actually do it.
3. Incorporate it into your daily habits
How about taking a bit longer in your morning shower? Stand under the water and let it cascade down over your head, neck and shoulders. There is magic in doing this because science has shown that ideas and problem solving is easier in the shower. There are two paths that our brain can take to solve a problem. There’s an analytical path, where we deliberately and methodically work through a problem by trying out different solutions i.e overthinking it to death. Then, there’s insight, where a solution seems to pop into our heads out of nowhere, a so-called aha! moment. This often happens when you are in the shower, walking or running because they put the brain in an alpha wave pattern that allows it to coast without actively thinking. This state means that solutions pop up precisely because you have stopped all the analysis! Two birds, one big stone.
As I said already, it is pointless to try to do something that takes a massive effort or is something that you need to set up and prepare for, you are going to do whatever it takes to avoid it. You will talk yourself out of it, or find some other excuse not to do it.
Share in the comments below your favourite way to take 10 minutes for yourself.