Mental health, mindfulness, self-love… terms that get thrown around daily in the wellness sphere. So, what does “looking after yourself” actually look like in practice?
Perhaps you love going on holidays, treating yourself so a well-deserved week offline. Sadly, we can’t all be on a beach right now, but there are plenty of small actions we can take every day. Mine involve matcha lattes, candle-lit bubble baths and switching my phone off at 9 pm – a small saving grace each and every day.
A Mindful Routine
A common thread when encouraging self-love and self-care is setting up a good routine to encourage yourself to look after your body. Writing in diaries either first thing in the morning as an affirmation-style exercise or at the end of the day as a reflection on the last few hours can really settle the mind.
“I write in this before bed and document my day. I pour myself into the pages and let go” says Jessica Ward.
Routine for Jess will also involve moving her body in a way that she loves, from weight-lifting to walking. Body movement isn’t about punishing your body but celebrating it. In the same way, food is not a restrictive tool for control and punishment. Eating foods that love and fuel your body will enable you to feel healthy, nourished and soothed.
Eating is much more than the food itself, the very act of cooking can be fully immersive and allow you to let go. Sonal finds that carrying out each task in the kitchen purposefully allows the thoughts of the day to fall away – and the food tastes even better. Who said mindful eating could only be achieved by chewing your food 30 times?
The Importance of Silence
Mindfulness is often linked to meditation, which is, in essence, a silent practice. A lot of people are put off by meditation as they envisage having to sit for hours in silence, watching their thoughts run wild. The idea of sitting still doesn’t have to be as intimidating and as all-encompassing. Sonal Ambasna embraces silence.
By escaping the noise of daily life, other people & my to-do list(!), I find a little time each day to be quiet and engulf myself in stillness. I find the best ideas/solutions come to me then!
But how do we find time for stillness and self-love when we are rushing around at a million miles an hour? Being constantly on the go, multitasking and always connected to technology are just three barriers to a mindful lifestyle.
We’re a generation that believes we need to be busy all the time. Never taking the time to switch off, be still and reflect on the day gone by.
Jodie Relf notes that she is learning to “calm the f@#k down” and think about what makes her happy or sad on any given day. Tuning into your emotions can have wonderful effects on your mental health – she claims to feel more productive, less forgetful and much happier overall with a greater sense of self-love.
But How Can You Slow Down?
1. Put down your phone
It’s easy to overstimulate your brain – watching TV whilst mindlessly scrolling the gram, a podcast on in the background whilst responding to emails, reading a book & listening to your music. Our brains have such a hard time keeping up with all this information. Let’s focus on one thing at a time.
2. Create a top 3 list
If your to-do list is often pages long which feels overwhelming and freezes you into doing nothing, choose the 3 most important things to get done. Focus on those first and everything else is a bonus.
The 6-minute diary from @createurbestself encourages just 6 minutes a day to pause and reflect and set your intentions for the day.
4. Take days off
As business owners, freelancers and creatives, we often fall into the trap of filling every free moment with work. It’s time to embrace weekends again!
Start with just 10 minutes 2-3 times a week (if committing every day seems too ambitious right now) and check out mindful apps like @calm, too.
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Amy is a plant-based food blogger, recipe developer and content creator behind Nourishing Amy. She focuses on food, health and happiness to promote a nourishing lifestyle and regularly shares her positive vibes, inspirational affirmations and food creations on her social media channels and her website.