Creating a Basic Self Care Routine
While in school I found myself compressed with stress. On top of school stress, juggling an unpaid internship, financial responsibilities and grieving the loss of multiple friends I felt defeated and out of touch with life. Stress management was the missing link for me to be able to successfully take back control of my life. I wasn't sure what being "gentle" to myself or "loving myself" really meant or was suppose to look like. I started with deep breathing and prayer and from there I developed a more in depth self care routine. I will share with you my first 5 basic steps that helped me establish my first routine.
Creating a self care routine Step One:
SET YOUR INTENTION
Setting an intention for your self care routine helps to provide a focus. On days were you aren't motivated to spend time loving yourself reminding yourself of your intention may help you be more open to following through with your routine.
Creating a self care routine Step Two:
CREATE A COMFORTING AND SACRED SPACE
Our Environment has a huge impact on our stress levels and our ability to relax. Choose environments that aren't full of distractions and somewhere you aren't tense. For some you may feel the most at ease outdoors, choose an area you feel safe. For others maybe your bedroom, bathroom or other area in your home may be where you feel the most relaxed. Set up your indoor space with crystals, artwork or deities that evoke healing, soft music, a nice candle or by burning sage or oils.
Creating a self care routine Step Three:
SET ASIDE AT LEAST 30 MINUTES
30 minutes can seem like a very long time to sit still or focus on yourself especially if you, like me, had never done anything like this before. 30 mins can be a goal that you work up to. Starting with 5 or 10 minutes and adding a few minutes everytime. Another suggestion is breaking the 30 minutes up in 10 minute increments. For example praying or creating a gratitude list for 10 minutes. Journaling for 10 minutes, and deep breathing for 10 minutes. The time is not as important as the intention and the act of setting and following a routine. You can increase the time longer than 30 minutes when you are ready.
Creating a self care routine Step Four:
RELAX AND RELEASE
Allow whatever emotions that arise to be felt. It's ok if tears flow, or if frustration arises. Be gentle with yourself meaning feel what comes up but don't grasp tightly onto anything other than grace, love, and appreciation for self. Our Emotions ebb and flow like waves. Ride the waves out and know that you and your body are in this together. You and your body will ride out the waves together and will come out better because of it. Use this time to create a bond with your body, mind, soul and spirit. Notice any tension in the body and invite those areas to soften, visualize the tension melting away. Keep in mind this is a practice, it may feel awkward or hard in the beginning but stick with it.
Creating a self care routine Step Five:
ALLOW SELF LOVE TO FLOW THROUGH YOU
Lead with curiosity on a daily basis. Everyday ask yourself "What would I do differently if my life portrayed self love? How can I show myself that I love ME today?" Start with small gestures like smiling at yourself everytime you pass a mirror and saying affirmations to begin and/or end your day. You could spend a little extra time lotioning your body or being actively mindful while showering paying attention to the smell of the soap, the feeling of the loofah or towel on your skin, the warmth or coolness of the water while you rinse, deep breathing and relaxing any tense muscles all the while. These small guestures are all acts of self-love.
Above everything else be gentle with yourself. Even in our self care journey we should find love, grace and compassion for self.