So, how do we do it? We embrace restorative practices. They fill up our bucket. They will be different for each person but with a common theme: they make us feel replenished, energized and available. To discover what these are for you may take some self-inquiry. Looking inward and really getting in touch with what restores you. It may also take some experimentation and perhaps trying things you never have before. Find things you love to do and that love you back; they nourish you.
While exercising, eating well and getting enough sleep are extremely important to self-care, I consider them to be part of regular maintenance. Certain activities, however, tend to be more restorative. As examples, the following are some of the activities I have explored that restore me: meditation, journaling, djembe drumming and being in nature.
Sounds wonderful, but how do we make it work? The first step is recognizing that this is non-negotiable. It needs to be given the same priority as regular maintenance. Ok, I can hear so many of you now saying, “Yikes, something else to fit in my day”! I have said the exact same thing. However, keep in mind that by filling up your energy bucket you will be better able to accomplish life’s tasks.
There are some strategies that can help. First of all, start with just one thing that you can easily add to your life and start there. Celebrate small victories. Secondly, make a commitment to yourself. It can be helpful to write it down. Hang it where you will see it and tell your family and friends what you are doing. They will see that this is not selfish on your part when they reap the benefits of your increased sense of well-being.
To solidify your commitment it is important to schedule your time. Making a plan for when you will do these activities increases the likelihood you will succeed. Your one small thing to start with could be as simple as spending a few minutes a day sitting still and deep breathing through your nose. The calming effect on your nervous system of just doing that is huge.
Whether it is basic maintenance or restoration, self-care is all about loving yourself and there is really nothing self-ish about that.
By Lori Andrade, BPHE, CSEP. Lori is a Certified Urban Pole Walking instructor at Body Design. Body Design offers personal training, nutrition, yoga and group fitness classes to assist individuals achieve their fitness and weight loss goals.