The beauty of a self-care practice is you can rely on it like an old friend.
Last week I wrote about the importance of taking our own medicine. If you didn’t catch that one you can read about it here. Speaking with a good friend last week we continued this conversation a little further. We were feeling out of rhythm with our day to day lives. So we asked each other, “What’s our medicine right now?”
For both of us it meant looking at our self-care first. Taking a mental inventory of how we are doing with sleep, water intake, the foods we are eating, movement, and moments of stillness in each day. Each of us knew where we needed to put our focus. For me, it was water intake and returning to my bedtime ritual. For my friend, it was coming back to her exercise routine and cleaning up her diet.
The two of us have years of practice with this check-in under our belts. We know where we start to slip, how that effects us over time, and what to do to get back on track. We can laugh with ourselves, take a spoonful of medicine and begin again. That’s the beauty of developing practices that work for you. They’re always there like the one mate-less sock at the bottom of the laundry basket. You can count on them.
So, how do you develop a self-care practice of your own?
Here are 5 suggestions to get you on your way:
1. Carve out 5-10 minutes in your day where you can sit still and quiet.
Close your eyes and find your breath. Bring your attention to your inhale and exhale. Follow your breath like a curious observer for a minute or two without judgement. Your mind may wander. Just kindly bring it back to your breath each time. Once you feel connected to your breath and the stillness, ask yourself, “What does my body need right now?” You may get an answer right away or you may need to continue to sit; trusting that an answer will bubble up to your consciousness. When you hear that voice from within, listen, trust it, and thank it. Open your eyes and write down what you heard. Our bodies hold so much wisdom in them. You may hear laugh, dance, rest, swim, treat yourself, meet up with friends, sweat more, make warm soups, sit down or more touch please.
2. Imagine (aka. brainstorm) all the ways you can implement what your body is asking for right now.
Maybe you heard, “more fresh air.” The next step is to look at how you can implement that in your daily life. You can start by making a list of all the ways you can get outside. If you have several choices circle the one that makes you the most excited and is the easiest to begin today. If climbing a mountain is the most exciting but not something you could accomplish today or daily you can save that one for a possible end goal or daily practice celebration list. If you find your list full of excuses of why you can’t get fresh air daily you may want to start a list of what you could let go of in order to make room for what your body is asking for.
3. Make your practice enticing so you want to show up to it.
The key with any new practice is to make it fun to show up to. It’s not about punishing ourselves like going on a strict diet. For a practice to stick it helps to make it enticing. Bring your 5 senses to it. For example, when I was working on my bedtime ritual years ago I bought a bottle of lavender aromatherapy spray and gave my pillow a spritz every night before I got into bed. I bought a tea that I saved for bedtime along with a few good books from the library. These simple things helped entice me to bed for a good night’s sleep when I really needed it.
4. Keep going to feel the benefits.
It’s Ok to lose a day here and there but reaping the rewards of a daily practice comes from commitment. Commit to yourself and the practice. If resistance sneaks in ask it why. Maybe the answer is you’re being too hard-nosed and you need to bring an element of playfulness back in. You may also be meeting up with your ego, who fears change. Let your ego know that you like this change. Tell your ego to get on board and give this practice a chance.
5. Create a mantra to affirm the changes you’re making at this time.
You can use the values list from my resources page to select three values you want to embody with your practice and then fill in this statement,
I am a ________, ________, and ________ Mama!
Write your mantra on index cards and place them where you can read them regularly for a little extra
inspiration and motivation to keep going. The goal of a daily practice is to experience the values you
With commitment and time you will feel the effects of landing in your practice.
When you feel untethered by the stormy weather, either outside or within you, your practice will be there to hold you, to pick you up, and to help you find your way again.
PS. Watch for my new e-course coming soon, called Thriving Through the Holidays. You can sign up for my newsletter below and receive a free audio gift.