Self care (the act of doing something for yourself to maintain or improve your health) is something I’ve always been interested in: yoga, walking, fresh air, healthy food… but as the volume of massages I’m doing has increased recently, I’ve found that my body has responded by becoming noticeably stiffer and immobile and my old injuries have flared up. Every day (ok, nearly every day) I do my self care routine of foam rolling, stretching, trigger pointing to help alleviate any aches I get. Mentally I get a tick in the box for self care, I’m looking after myself, but is it working?!
Earlier this week I went to see one of my clients who is a yoga teacher for a one to one Yin yoga class and had a rude awakening as to the state of my body. Tight hamstrings, calves and hip flexors (no doubt related to lots of cycling….) and a stiff spine made me aware that no, my current routine is not working.
So what gives?
As someone who is super keen on making healthy choices and doing things that support my health, it’s still a challenge to keep up with my self care. I’m sure I’m not alone in the fact that the more I know about being healthy, the more overwhelmed I can get in deciding which healthy thing I’ll do first, at which point I’m so tired of thinking about it that I take the easy option and have a sit down and watch Netflix. With a bag of crisps.
Overwhelm, tiredness, stress, long working hours and caring for others are among the many reasons why we don’t commit to our self care. But as the self care continuum from the Self Care Forum below shows, it’s so important to protect and maintain the health we’ve got, when we’ve got it. It’s not a huge jump to go from self care to medical care, something I’m all to aware of having had to have operations on injuries over the years.
Anyway, back to the yoga class. My teacher said something that seemed to click with me: just do one thing, but keep doing it. The thought of an hour of yoga a day is overwhelming to me, and I’m pretty sure that 90% of the time this is on my ‘to do’ list, it’s the only thing that doesn’t get done. Taking it back a step, do one posture for one minute really well? Yep, I can do that, and you know what? I might do another minute, and do that really well too.
That’s what I’ve been doing since that class, each day I roll my mat out with the intention of doing my one posture really well, no distractions or faffing about. I’ve added a couple of other postures as well. On reflection, what I had been doing was a bit of ticking the box, now when I do my self care, I’m doing it like I mean it.
So enough of the box ticking and self care on lists that never gets done, here are my top tips for doing your self care like you mean it:
- Pick your one ‘thing’
- Make it achievable
- Commit to doing it
- Do it every day, without distraction
- Do it like you mean it
What’s your one ‘thing’? What will you commit to doing every day? I’d love to know how you’re committing to your self care.