Self-Care As An Artform
31 ways to nurture yourself - mind, body, and soul.
When I suggest to a client that they focus on radical self-care in order to fuel themselves well for the life they want to lead, they will often tell me that they just don't know where to start or that they feel they can't find the time in amongst busy commitments, and very often the word 'guilt' will come up. Often they are feeling guilty at the prospect of taking time for themselves. "Isn't that selfish?", "How can I do that?", "Shouldn't I be doing something else instead?".
And the answer usually is "How can you not take time for yourself?"
I'm sure you've heard the airline announcement to put your own oxygen mask on first. This is so you can be of use to others when they inevitably need your presence and perhaps your assistance. Constantly running your battery down and then charging it only to 1% just doesn't work in the long-term so it is important to focus on the self-care that makes a restorative difference. The alternative is burnout, stress, a lack of good energy and just not experiencing life to its fullest.
I spent time in a zen monastery a few years ago where the bathhouse was a sacred place full of ritual and meaning. The simple act of bathing became something incredibly artful. There I learnt something new about undertaking simple daily acts from a place of mindful beauty. I encourage you to spend some time, in a very zen way, on creating art out of a simple task today, slow it right down and experience the difference in how you feel.
When you think about it now, do you struggle to connect to ways to love and nurture yourself? If you do you certainly are not alone. Most of us don't live in a monastery and people in all walks of life often find that when they get stressed or overly busy the first thing that gets dropped is themselves. Self-care is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves though and creating a daily practice of self-love can make the difference for how you begin to live your life in a way that expands and grows who you are and who you can be in a powerful way.
This has certainly been a journey for me and one that I see the importance of returning myself to on a daily basis. For me, to turn self-care into an artful practice is important. Here are some of my favourites. Why not pick one of these each day and add to it with your own ideas?
Have a relaxing, warm bubble bath by candlelight. Slow down and bathe yourself in ritual.
Take a walk in nature, breathe it all in and mindfully be with your surroundings.
Treat yourself to a massage.
Discover sound bath meditation.
Watch the funniest movie or comedy series you know and enjoy the belly laughs.
Visit a museum or art gallery to appreciate just one work of art fully. You can also do this online.
Sit in warm sunshine with nothing to do but just 'be'.
Read a chapter of your favourite book - again, just because you can.
Get a pedicure, manicure or blow-dry at your favourite salon. Treat it not as a necessity, but as a luxury.
Try a new form of guided meditation. Insight timer is a great resource for this.
Lie on the ground a watch the clouds float by. Allow yourself to daydream.
Print out a favourite picture, perhaps frame it, and enjoy creating art for yourself to enjoy.
Play a favourite song and sing out loudly - for yourself.
Dance wildly so it makes you out of breath and giggle.
Wake up early and watch the sunrise.
Take time to look at the stars and moon at night.
Visit the tallest building, or hill or mountain that you can and allow yourself a fresh perspective.
Go to the movies by yourself (afternoon showings always feel extra treaty to me!).
Visit somewhere outside that you don't usually go to. Choose somewhere to sit and watch the world go by.
Find somewhere to swim outdoors. Feel the water on your body in a new way as you swim.
Learn to meditate with a master (You Tube is great. A class with others is better when we can)
Walk barefoot on sand or on the grass.
Buy a beautiful smelling body lotion and lovingly rub it onto your body in an act of devotion to yourself.
Keep a gratitude journal and write three things you are grateful for. Once is wonderful. Every evening can be life-changing.
Complete a page of a colouring or doodle book or fill a blank page with your own meditative art.
Bounce on a trampoline.
Write a list of incredible and inspiring dreams. Get outside of your box and be really creative.
Take an afternoon nap under a cosy blanket.
Do at least 10 minutes of yoga. Take a longer class if you can.
Read something new about something completely new to you.
Buy an essential oil that makes your heart sing and breathe in the scent for a few minutes.
Take time to enjoy what it is to be you. You are the home you live in. Nurture yourself, create space for inspiration, and see what else shifts on your life. And if you'd like to enter into a conversation about how I can support you living a life of freedom from the things that hold you back, just drop me a line here. I work with Cognitive Hypnotherapy, transformational Coaching and Embodiment practices to help my clients connect to far more inspired and inspiring ways of living, leading and loving.