Over the summer break I had time off which meant more me- time. I loved that my days were unplanned and I could fill them with long lunches, yoga classes, or hours relaxing in the sun. I mostly loved just not being busy and feeling an improvement in my overall state of wellbeing.
Last year was a busy year for me with the launch of our online yoga classes, starting a new job and planning a wedding. Lots of amazing life events happened last year, but in the planning of all that my own self-care often fell to the bottom of my to-do list each week.
It’s not that I didn’t want to look after myself, I just couldn’t find the time.
Does that phrase sound familiar to you?
Have you ever found yourself prioritising everything and everyone else when life gets too busy?
This year I’m making a conscious decision to create more time for my health and wellbeing. Even when, and especially when, times get busy. It is a practice and some days I’m better at it than others. However, it is all worth it to feel even a little calmer, happier and healthier.
Here are some ways you too can make more time for your wellbeing, no matter how busy you are:
1. Literally schedule in time for your wellbeing
At the start of this week when I looked at my calendar, I had a physio appointment and a hairdresser appointment scheduled in. Both were booked over a week ago and I was certain I would attend them because I’d carved out time in my day for them.
Then I thought, if I can book in and commit to these appointments, why can’t I book in and commit to something for my mental health? So, as easy as that I booked in my yoga class before my week began. Once it was booked in, that time was reserved in my day and anything new that came up worked around that schedule.
2. Treat your self- care as a necessity
This one I learnt recently from a very wise three-year-old. My mum, my sister and her daughter (my niece), were getting ready to go out for lunch. We had chosen this cute café all decked out in pink from the walls to the décor. Very Instagram-worthy. When my niece had seen photos of the café she couldn’t wait to go.
We met at my sister’s house before the lunch so we could all drive in together. However, when I arrived my extroverted niece who loves to be out socialising, announced most assuredly that she, “wasn’t coming to the pretty pink café” because she wanted a “quiet day at home watching My Little Pony.” I was shocked. Firstly, because she is so social and never wants to come home. Secondly, because as a three-year-old she has that degree of self-awareness and the language to articulate it. She knew exactly what she needed and was honouring that.
That is what self-care is – listening to your body and prioritising rest when it needs rest (and movement when it needs movement).
3. Listen to your body
This takes us to the next point – creating awareness around your health and noticing what your body needs. When you find yourself getting sick with more aches and pains in your body, that is your body telling you to slow down. It is run down and exhausted.
It’s the same when your headspace is feeling spacey, and you feel like you can’t keep still. Maybe you’re overthinking or feeling all sorts of emotions at once. This might be a time when your body needs more movement and exercise to help release the stress, frustration, anger or whatever you may be feeling.
This is a tool we use in yoga all the time. With this breath-based practice it helps to create more inner awareness and you use this as your guide to learn what your body needs. When you notice a pose is feeling more than the usual discomfort you get from a good stretch, you ease out of it a bit. Or, when you’re in a pose and you’re not feeling much, you go deeper into the pose and take the more advanced option. It’s all about balance.
With these three tips you can open yourself up to a new perspective. Learn how to prioritise your health and wellbeing. It is a practice and there will be times you feel like you are going backwards again, but when you keep at it you will get there. Consistency is key.