I am a pixie happily classified as “outgoing introvert”, which means that my self-care looks really bizarre to people who don’t know me, and perfectly acceptable to folks in my inner circle (who are few). Right now, between getting ready for my wedding, and packing to move into a new home, I don’t have as much downtime as I like in my schedule. I am learning to adapt. It’s not entirely easy, or graceful for me…but there it is.
I thought that there may be a few of you who could use my hard-learned lessons to your advantage…and maybe take the short route to feeling Nourished again, rather than my long and ambling road.
So, the things that are helping to keep me sane these days:
1. Time for old movies. Now, if you aren’t a fan of Lauren Bacall or Audrey Hepburn, that’s OK. Actually, it’s not OK, it’s crazy. But that’s a topic for another time. The central thing about this “self care tip” is that I make sure to have at least 90 minutes to completely zone out. The reason I love old movies is they are a window in to a world completely different than mine. The clothing, speech patterns, sets and story lines, are magic. These movies are an utter escape, and since I don’t like violent or gory films, they fit the bill perfectly. Even “scarier” movies like “Charade” or anything by Hitchcock tend to be OK with me, because they are nowhere near as intensely graphic as things get today.
The main idea: carve out a chunk of time to escape from the details I am always preoccupied by.
2. Rest in the middle of the day. I have 2 Yantra Mats, which are mats that have little plastic spikes on them. One lies down on them, sans shirt, and the stimulation of the nervous system calms the nervous system deeply. I fall asleep almost instantly. I set an alarm.
When our lives are tremendously full, our nervous system is constantly processing information. What happens when the nervous system is overloaded? The information doesn’t stop coming in to the system, but the system can’t handle it. The information actually turns into tension in our system. So muscles that are tight are actually a result of our bodymind being overloaded by information, and then we don’t take time to process.
When we rest, we stop taking in new information. We can either stop taking in new information by entering in to a deeply relaxed, meditative state, or…we can sleep. The Yantra Mat actually helps with both, which is why I love it. You can chose any technique you like for meditation and relaxation responses: breathing, visualization, formal meditation, yoga nidra, hypnosis…even just listening to soft music with a timer set. Information on how napping benefits our health can be found here.
The goal: find at least 20 minutes each afternoon (at least 5 times a week) to rest deeply.
3. Consistent movement. My movement tends to look a few different ways, but again, this is about information processing and releasing tension from tissues of the body. I rotate between yoga asana, Pilates, belly dance, and African dance. I practice any number of things for at least 15 minutes, most days. The movement feels good, and it doesn’t matter how silly I look. Exercise releases major endorphins, and getting the blood moving makes the skin glow like nothing else. It’s the best beauty secret I know!
You can do a lot, if you have time, but don’t feel bad if it’s just a few minutes a few times throughout your day. You could decide on 5 or 7 simple exercises and do each one for an entire commercial break, while watching an hour of TV. A commercial break is roughly 3 minutes, and there are usually 3-5 per program, depending on how long the program is. Repeating an exercise for 3 minutes at a time will absolutely get the blood moving and muscles working!
The main goal is here is to be realistic and consistent in your movement goals.
4. Drinking enough water. I know this sounds really basic, but if we are dehydrated, we cannot function and handle stress and busy schedules. Your energy will increase AND it will make your skin look great. If you aren’t used to drinking water throughout the day, you will have to use the bathroom more frequently in the beginning. The bladder is a muscle, though, and will get stronger the more you use it!
The best formula for how much water you want to drink is either 1.5 liters of water a day (for women), or 50% of your body weight in ounces (example: a 120 lb woman should drink 60 oz of water a day, with extra around a heavy workout).
All in all, when life gets hectic, it’s time to spend MORE time taking care of ourselves. It’s time to focus on eating a clean and fresh diet, move well, rest well and shore up our system so we function well. The more “selfish” we become, the better we handle the world around us. And if the entire list is daunting or too demanding, make the goals work for you! Transform each of these ideas into things that work for YOUR life.
Until the next 🙂