Words by Frou Williams.
Christmas is almost here. It's bloody chaos.
Perhaps you've got the in-laws or rentals flying in, you're surrounded by family, you've got friends coming over, you're running around trying to get all the last minute presents, the streets are packed, the tube is horrendous, you've spent a small fortune on gifts let alone on food.
Let's face it, the festive period can be stressful and downright exhausting. It can take a serious toll on your health and that's without even mentioning your family! ;)
So what better time to think about and perhaps try to carve out a small window of time for our own self care practice?
What exactly is self care and why is everyone suddenly rabbiting on about it?
Well, in a nut shell, it's how you show up for yourself. It's taking that totally overused phrase about 'loving thyself' and doing the things that you as an individual need to do in a manner that best serves you.
As you can probably tell, self care is totally my jam. Or probably my peanut butter (I am actually obsessed the stuff)! I believe everybody should try to add some into their lives. But, much like washing, it is required daily! 😉
Self care will and should always mean something slightly different to everybody, but to me, it’s the time I take for myself in the morning, a yoga session, the nourishing food I choose to eat, taking the time to speak to friends and family, the moments of stillness or deep-belly breathing I add to my day and the way I move my body whether it be through running, weights, yoga or just gentle movement through out the day. It also includes the affirmations I repeat, the beauty products I use and the books I read. And yes sometimes self care is even about the cheeky cocktail you have with girlfriends or the popcorn you have whilst watching your favourite film. Self care isn't always about being healthy, it's about nurturing your soul.
In short, the fundamental thing that self-care should do is:
Support you and to help you feel good.
How can I do this?
Self care isn't always pretty. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t look good on camera. It doesn’t matter how different it looks to anyone else’s practice. It is about you. I'm not here to tell you how you should practice self-care. What makes me feel good, may not make you feel good. What fits and works with my lifestyle, may not work with yours. Simply put, there are no right or wrong way to practice self-care. Okay great, but how does that help me start my self care practice Frou? Well, we're going to have a lot of fun of exploring the things that make you happy, tick, bounce and get excited!
Some ideas of self care might include:
Writing a journal
Pouring yourself a bath
Affirmations and meditations
Moving your body
Spending time with friends
Baking a cake
Buying fresh flowers
Cleaning your house
Painting your nails
Getting a massage
Painting a picture
Saying YES to something that excites you!
What the hell is a god damn limiting belief I hear you cry? It's a thought or belief that obstructs us in some way shape or form such as stopping us from fulfilling certain dreams we may have or keeps us perpetuating certain patterns in relationships, etc. It's effectively our inner sat nav and what guides you to makes the choices that you make in your life.
What's wrong with that is your next question? Depending on our past experiences, education, fear or sometimes even excuses, these often not conscious beliefs can be based on misinterpretation and not reality but to us these beliefs are our reality. Do you see the cycle? So how do we change or alter our beliefs or reroute that sat nav? It can take time and energy to shift, especially if like most of us, you have held them for a long time.
Worry not! It's not impossible, far from it! Never has there been a time with such fantastic resources readily available at our fingertips but (ah yes, you knew there was a but didn't you) only you can make the conscious decision to change your destination. Sorry guys and gals, it's got to come from within. I can frogmarch you up a mountain, claiming affirmations and put the water hose on you whilst shouting 'do you want this?' every day for the rest of your life (which let's face it, would be soggy, it would get old and it would be expensive) but if you don't want to make the shift for you and you alone then set your location where you are because you're not getting the car started.
Heck, what's wrong with my belief system, it's worked for me all these years? It's all about awareness. You may already have fine tuned your GPS, know exactly where you're headed and you've picked up Starbucks on route. And that is freaking awesome, if I could high five or chest bump you, I would. We can always arrange a Skype call for that.
By noticing the language that we use about ourselves and how we go about our daily lives, you'll begin to notice the energy that your mind and body encapsulate and how they change depending on what situation you find yourself in and what particular belief may be coming into focus. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to pick up that feeling stressed, tired, overwhelmed is a sign that our emotions have taken a nose dive and short circuited our GPS.
One way to start to shift the shackles is to recognise that these 'beliefs' only come from an aspect on your personality self and they don't actually embody you or your authentic self. And I'm not suggested you make drastic changes like signing up to climb Kilimanjaro or going on a forty day juice cleanse, unless that's your bag of course. Subtle changes in our posture, how we move our bodies, laughter, trying to consciously slow our minds and bodies down and not be affected by other peoples energy and beliefs. One of the best exercises for this is trying to remain calm, graceful (aka not head butting someone) and smiling whilst traveling on the tube at rush hour in London.
"We need to remember that most of our beliefs are generalisations about our past, based on our interpretations of painful and pleasurable experiences."
Self care comes in many forms:
In what is an overwhelmingly burdened array of choice that our society now provides us with, it is more important than ever to make smart choices around the food we chose to fuel ourselves with. How we make our bodies move effectively when for the most part most of us are confined to a desk 9-5 day in day out. Right through to how we calm our minds in the ever increasing fast paced world in which we live.
So let me ask you, what did you do for you today?