So how are those New Year resolutions going? I hope all is going well but if it could be better – don’t worry, you aren’t alone. We may have all started the New Year off with the best intentions only to find that on return to our daily routines it can be quite difficult to stick to our list of life improvements.
This year I’ve scrapped my list in favour of one all-encompassing promise to myself – to be kinder to myself in 2014 on all levels.
Even with a solid self care plan for managing stress – there are days when anxiety and tension challenge all of us. There is relief in accepting that we cannot control unexpected external events, however they can be stressful and destabilising to deal with and seriously test our inner reserve. So in the face of adversity how can we keep our resilience levels topped up?
Here are just some of my self care tips:
- Check in with yourself on a daily basis. Take 5 minutes of quiet time and focus on each area of your body to check for any tension, pain or discomfort.
If you find any signs of these do not ignore them, do something about them. For easing muscular tension and stress you may benefit from booking a massage or perhaps integrating more exercise into your routine. If the problem is pain – see your GP. Listen to your body, it’s smarter than you!
- Address your diet
Noticed that bread makes you feel bloated? Maybe your sinuses feel congested after eating dairy products? However much you love some foods, they may not love you back. If you suspect a type of food makes you feel rough – stay away from it and find something to replace it in your diet. For example, many people find soya milk and almond milk a great replacement for cow’s milk.
- Take a full lunch break and regular screen breaks at work
With many of us stuck behind a computer all day in our jobs it can be tempting to stay chained to the desk to meet that ‘really important’ deadline or finish that ‘crucial’ report. Next time you are about to sacrifice a well deserved break, ask yourself if taking a break is really going to make any significant difference to your workload? It probably won’t so why not down tools and relax – your body and mind will thank you for it.
Recent research has shown that employees who relax during the lunch break are less fatigued – and therefore more productive – by the end of the day than those who don’t. So taking a break benefits everyone, including your boss.
- Leave work on time
Next time you gaze longingly at the clock and think that you should have left half an hour ago – remind yourself that this is your personal time now and leave! Does that extra email really need to be sent at the end of the day? Or would it be better to view it with a fresh pair of eyes in the morning?
- Do some exercise for fun!
Yes we all know exercise is good for us and that we should do more. But what about changing mindsets so that exercise becomes more about having fun than getting fit or loosing weight? Maybe that weekly Pilates class won’t be so much of a chore if you can go with a friend and have a gossip and laugh afterwards over a cuppa?! Or try taking up an exercise that helps you to loosen up and let go of any inhibitions such as Zumba. Getting fit and loosing weight can become the by-product of a fun evening.
- Make some time for you
That’s right – because you deserve it! Maybe this means factoring in some mindfulness mediation for as little as fifteen minutes a day or maybe it’s booking a holistic treatment on a regular basis, whatever gives you the time you need to recharge on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual basis, do it!
- Start listening to your intuition
This sounds pretty deep but it is your inner self that knows you best. Trust in your own wisdom.
A reflexology tutor once told me ‘the soul whispers, the mind cries out and the body screams.’ Perhaps if we all listened more to the whispers of the soul initially it might be possible to avoid or lessen some of the physical issues, emotional discord, and mental distress that we all are faced with at times in life.
Remember be kind to yourself in 2014 and may your first wealth be health this year.