You may have heard me talking about self-care a lot lately so I thought it was time to give a bit more clarity on what self-care really is.

My take on self-care comes alot from Renee Trudeau’s teachings.  She is a self-care coach who developed a series of classes/programs called Personal Renewal Groups, and what I love about her methodology is that it’s all about doing the things that simply recharge you.  

Filling your own cup first

When I’m running women’s retreats, the most first concept to grasp is the understanding that it’s all well and good to be a busy working / at home, or a successful corporate woman, but if you don’t set time aside for you in a way that nourishes you, balances you and de-stresses you, then you can be living most days in a very reactionary place.

Sometimes we are just so busy planning head that we don’t get time to think about what we’d really like to be experiencing.  And I guess in one sense that’s what self-care is really about. It’s bringing us back to being a bit more present.  

Some personal examples

I’ve recently been working on this lovely new website (the one your reading from now) and even though I’ve been chipping away at it for a quite a few months, it’s come to the pointy end of the stick and that usually means there’s a few extra things that need to be done. Suddenly I’m putting in extra hours around my client and family commitments and that can mean I push little bit too far out of my usual balance point. Doing too much thinking work (with my brain) and not enough feeling work (with my body and heart) isn’t useful for me.

In truth, for many women I’ve noticed this isn’t always useful either – because being too much in our heads disconnects us from the body – but thankfully my body is very wonderful at communicating this to me – through little niggles of discomfort in my neck, knee, hip etc, clearly tapping on my shoulder that something’s not right.  

One of the ways that I overcome this (or ideally prevent it from happening to begin with!) is through small regular self-care practises. If I start to feel myself tipping a little bit too far out of balance, I will become even more mindful of my self-care routines.  

That means that while I’ve been working on the website, I needed to take extra time to balance myself – so I don’t end up stressed, run down or un-well.  Because none of that is going to help me or my family.  

The way that I do that is setting aside small pockets of time.  So for me yoga is one of the thing that really helps me to take time for myself. Doing 10 minutes of stretches in the morning (on a bad day) is the place that I start. Often that just means getting on the floor doing some stretches and letting my body breathe and soften and release any tension. If I have a little more time I’ll do 25 minutes, 35 minutes, 45 minutes but I always start at 10.

I don’t know about you, but many of us don’t practise enough self-care because we get overwhelmed by priorities and feel as if there isn’t enough time and find myself wondering; how can I find an hour for yoga everyday?? So instead I break it down and start with the 10 minutes. I can pretty much always find 10 minutes to do some stretches and what I normally do is get up in the morning, first thing I get up, have a glass of water and start doing some stretches before I have a shower and start the other parts of my day.

self-care with food

Other things I do in terms of self-care is eating good food.  And while eating well is a predominant part of my lifestyle, if I’m stressed and getting to the point where I could get run down, then letting my healthy food habits slip is even more damaging on my energy.

That could look like eating less (because it easier than eating crap if Im short on time) and includes things like

  • lots of lemon water and herbal teas
  • in autumn and winter a warm Chai and a bliss ball will keep me feeling full until I have time to sit down have decent meal
  • fruit and some nuts to tie me over

woman tea pouring

self-care with movement

Movement is brilliant for all of us, and if im doing to much head work a simple moving activity is brilliant.  If finding time to walk the dog for an hour isn’t doable, then I’ll just take him for a short walk around the block and get my son out on his bike.

Once we’ve done that we’re all feeling a bit better, we’ve moved, maybe we’ll go for a little bit longer (15 minutes-30 min) but either way I feel bit clearer and more focused for it.

Gardening can be another self-care habit. It gets us out in nature, moving and reconnects mind and body to the physical world (even during 5 minutes of spot weeding).

Simply picking a few random weeds will often be enough to clean my head, give me perspective and help me to have an understanding of OK what is it I need to do now? What’s going to give me most value for the rest of this day?.  

self-care with stillness + quiet time

Other little things that I do for self-care include having a cup of tea/kombucha while listening to some music.

I might even do some colouring-in (a mindfulness colouring book) or draw some pictures on blank paper in quiet mummy mode. Drawing pictures with kids is a quiet mind-clearing therapeutic exercise!

If Im home alone or in the evening, I may also setup some pillows and do some restorative yoga for 5-15 min to still my mind and body. AAAH its bliss.

restorative yoga solo outdoors

Longer forms of self-care

Every 3 months I aim to so something more substantial, like a yoga retreat, 3 hour restorative yoga class or weekend away but that’s something that I work towards as a larger self care act.

Bringing more self-care into your life

Consider for yourself now:

  • what could you do differently in my life over the next week or two to bring in more simple approaches of self care?
  • What could you do today?? 
    • It could be shower, a haircut, a cup of tea, yoga, or something else.  
  • What is it for you that would give you a little bit more “me time” that only takes 5 to 10 minutes and often doesn’t have to cost anything at all?

 

For all you Brisbane women, feel free to join me at an upcoming self-care mini retreat in Samford for 5 hours focusing on self-care as you are nurtured in both mind and body.

xxxx Bree | Bree Taylor Molyneaux

 

About the author

Bree Taylor Molyneaux is a Brisbane based happiness coach, clinical hypnotherapist, HypnoBirthing® practitioner, self-care and personal renewal facilitator, mother and wife. She founded Aspire Hypnotherapy, coaches women in a wide range of areas, runs restorative + self-care retreats, and has a range of and hypnosis downloads available. Read more about Bree here.