How many times have we promised ourselves that we will take care of ourselves from this day on?
How many times have we been told that selfcare is more important than caring for others because if are feeling on top of the world, you can take better care of others.
How many times have we been told that in the entire scheme of things, YOU are the most important and always must come first!
But do we follow it? Or even if want to, can we?
Time is such a fleeting creature that no matter how much of it we have, it just seems to slip away. Sometimes if we have time, motivation plays hide & seek and when motivation is at its peak, time is not at our disposal. What really never, never fails us though is Discipline.
Discipline ensures we are not dependent on time or motivation to really do the things we want to do.
So even before we get down to selfcare, we have to cultivate discipline. And that’s a beast that can be tackled with, not easily at first but once you see the results, you will be raring to go.
Doing the same thing everyday at the same time without distractions not only builds concentration and focus but also takes out the nasty surprises that otherwise flood our days. With discipline, you can control time and not vice versa.
Hence on our path to self care, the first step to take is to cultivate Discipline.
A good way to start is to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday. This keeps your body cycle in control, ensures a routine in place and helps you plan everything accordingly.
So lets say, your ideal cycle is sleeping at 11 pm and getting up at 7 am, stick to it. I know, I know, Netflix and Amazon seem to take away all our time and that cliffhanger at the end of the episode beckons us to sacrifice that much needed sleep. Now is the time to call upon our friend Discipline J
In fact, a good thing to do would be to build in time to watch our favourite shows too into our schedule.
So lets start in the morning. You wake up and you pick up your phone…… Nah! Don’t do that.
The first thing you do is to give yourself 5 minutes of absolute silence. Just close your eyes and sit on your bed, listening to the world waking up outside your window. Birds chirping, bicycle bells, traffic catching up, trees rustling, brewing of coffee in the coffee machine, the aroma of cinnamon or ginger being crushed…. Just soak in everything. Now tell yourself these few things aloud or just whisper them.
I am Enough
There is Enough
We have Enough
This day is mine to become the best possible version of myself, to achieve the things I want to, to spread smiles, give & receive love and be joyful and peaceful as I should be.
You can even create your own set of 4-5 lines. Lines that have positive words in them. Notice the above lines. Enough signifies abundance. Joyful, smiles, love, achieve, peaceful are all words that are setting your intentions for the day. Learn how to write manifestation lines here.
Once you have set your intentions for the day, say a small thank you to the universe. If anything specific happened the day before that invites thanks, do that. Thank the universe for all that you have and keep getting.
Intentions and Gratitude done, now make your bed. Yes, make your bed. This is the secret mantra of most successful people around the world. Making their beds makes them feel in control, neater, organized and uncluttered. Isn’t that a super way to start your morning?
Now you are ready to start your day!!
Build in a time now for some reading while you sip on your tea or coffee. Read something inspirational or a success story. Read something spiritual if you like or an article on self development. Half an hour of reading every morning is a good way to enhance your knowledge.
You notice the pattern – Silence, Intention, Gratitude, Bed making, Reading. That done, now is the time to exercise. After all, a healthy mind rests in a healthy body.
So go for it. A walk, yoga, cycling, weight training, Zumba, whatever excites you and gets your adrenaline pumping. Half an hour to 45 minutes is a good time to pay attention to every part of your body. A number of online apps help you to design your own workout, all at the click of a button on your mobile. Use them.
I know, I know…. You are dying go pick up your mobile now. Social Media awaits J
As you cool down from the exercise, check on your emails, take a few minutes to answer the urgent ones, the rest can wait for the non-productive part of the day. Give 15 minutes to make your to-do list for the day and write down everything that needs to be done today. Everything. Doing this the night before is also a great idea. People who plan their next morning an evening before sleep well, wake up peacefully and are fully in control of their day, especially mornings which often spirals into a stressful one.
Make your child’s bag the evening before.
Do your prep for his tiffin the evening before
Make your professional to do list that includes meetings, social media posts, client calls etc.
Make your personal to do list too – shopping, salon, friends, child’s school meeting, homework etc.
Plan what you are going to eat for breakfast. After all once you have nourished your mind and soul, you need to nourish your body as well with a nutritious breakfast.
Lists keep you sane, they pass on the stress from your shoulders onto paper. It’s like having a personal friend reminding you of what to do at every stage. You no more need to remember each and everything and also you do not carry the risk of forgetting something important.
The list also helps you have a sense of achievement every time you finish off a task. This achievement motivates you to also finish the other tasks on the list.
I personally use Evernote and the Google Calendar to keep my schedule in place. The calendar reminds me of all my meetings and upcoming tasks while Evernote keeps a tab on all my lists. Together they help me stay stress free. Frankly I enjoy ticking off the tasks I finished. It makes me feel very accomplished and very organized.
While you are taking a shower do spend some time on skincare and that does not mean an elaborate routine. Just remember to cleanse, tone and moisturize. Use a good face serum followed by the moisturizer followed by whatever make up you want to apply. Remember serum is the lightest and hence comes first followed by other heavy layers of skin care products.
On weekends you can dedicate more time to apply a face mask or a face scrub to get rid of the dead cells. Having a bath with a body scrub also rejuvenates you and keeps your skin smooth and moisturized. If you are a spa freak like me, indulging in a good body massage sets you for the week to come. A body massage helps release happy hormones as well as keeps the blood circulation in place. It also takes care of tired muscles and aching limbs. Mentally it also makes you feel nurtured and pampered.
Invest in good skincare products that are free of chemicals. They may be slightly expensive but in the long run are good for you and your skin. Remember skincare can only work alongside a good night’s sleep, a stress free life and a good diet.
We cannot eliminate stress completely but being mindful of it and trying to reduce it at every opportunity can keep it under control.
Once your day starts it’s easy to get carried away in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. But do remember to take a few breaks in between to look outside the window, enjoy a cup of tea, catch up with a work colleague, chat with your mom or just generally repeat a few manifestation sentences.
Visualising the kind of life you want to build for yourself even for a few minutes can completely recharge you and keep you focused on your goals.
Divide all your big task into smaller tasks so that you do not get overwhelmed. If a task is going to take you an hour divided into four small task of 15 minutes each. Remember to take a small break of 2 to 3 minutes after every 15 minutes. If you are a person of longer cycles, you can even take the break after every 45 minutes or so. Work out what’s best for you and follow it through and you will see that it becomes second nature to you eventually.
Delegate tasks that do not require your full attention. If you can get away by getting a subordinate or team member to do the task by just supervising it, delegate immediately.
At home too, figure out if your family members can help you with the chores. See if your spouse or kids can fill-in in achieving simple tasks like cleaning the room or folding the clothes. Very often we try and do too much ourselves. We do not ask for help and hence do not receive it. The key is to ask for help, receive it graciously and then thank the person for their help.
I personally have seen that if I have my mornings under control, the rest of the day is a breeze.
Keeping a check on the time you spend on emails and phone calls as well as social media can actually keep your stress levels in place. Social media is a big sucker of time. Just browsing for five minutes can easily become a one hour activity.
A good way to keep a check on how much time you spend on social media is to designate certain times of the day to do it. If your work requires you to post on social media actively, you can use Buffer as an app that helps you plan your entire months posts in a matter of a few minutes.
If you are someone who creates content, you can work on multiple articles at one go rather than working on one article at a time. If you feel that on some days you are in the zone and can write for one or two hours at a stretch try and finish three or four blogs at the same time. If you are designing email newsletters you can actually do four for the entire month and keep them ready. Apps like GetResponse also help you schedule the newsletters to go out automatically relieving you of the burden of remembering to send them out on a particular day and time.
You must have realized by now that self-care has a lot to do with organizing, decluttering, automating and creating lots and lots of lists.
Organising keeps you sane and takes out the burden of remembering too many things. Decluttering makes you feel peaceful and prevents you from getting overwhelmed with the clutter.
Automation of tasks that happen repeatedly without any changes save you a lot of time and stress. For example if you give a certain amount in charity every month, make that payment an automated one. Similarly you can sign up for auto debit on electricity bills, phone bills, credit card bills etc.
The more you keep your life organized, uncluttered, and automate tasks, the more time you will have for self care.
Thankfully we live in a world of technology where there is an app for everything. You can select a few apps that work for you and use them to the fullest to make your life easier so that you can enjoy the things you love to do. And yes do not stress about remembering passwords for all the apps. You can use apps like LastPass to store all your passwords securely. Calm, Lumosity, 7MWorkout are apps that I use to keep fit physically, mentally and spiritually.
Self-care isn’t just about taking care of yourself physically but it also means to take care of yourself mentally, emotionally and spiritually. You might have noticed that while I have emphasized a lot on being focused and finishing tasks, there is also equal importance given to spending me time, setting intentions, exercising gratitude, visualization, self growth and relationships.
We aren’t just about work or our achievements. We are a complex mesh of all of the above and hence it is very important to keep every aspect of our lives nourished and nurtured.
Just like a morning routine helps you be in control of your day, a night routine ensures proper closure to the day and guarantees you restful sleep.
Before you sleep, spend a few minutes in removing your make-up, massaging your feet and hands with a good body butter applying some lip balm, a good night cream. While you are doing all this, say a few lines thanking your body for enduring so much every day. Spend some time with your loved ones asking them about that day and even telling them what they mean to you. Saying a prayer together as a family also helps keep everyone connected and loved.
Have lots of water, even a cup of calming chamomile tea helps. Make your to do list for the next day, sleep on a clean bed with thoughts that calm you rather than rattle you. Keep your phone as far away from you as possible and if possible, in the next room. If you worry about waking up early buy an alarm clock and set it to at least 10 minutes before the time you want to wake up. These 10 minutes are for you to get up in a relaxed manner and spend in silence sitting on your bed and soaking in the sounds of the world waking up.
Remember the world might take lots out of you but it’s up to us to do things on our pace and schedule without losing our peace of mind and yet achieving all that we want to do.
Self-care is possible if we create time and pockets for it in a daily schedule. Once you start seeing the results, you will be motivated to do it every day. The day Motivation fails, Discipline will get you by!
That’s where you start first – DISCIPLINE.