Whether it is to get fitter, healthier, spend less money, be kinder to others- we all want to make changes here and there. However there is a fine line between practicing self-care, and pushing yourself too hard in the gym, restricting your diet, or working too many hours at the office. It is easy to tip the balance too far. Lets make 2016 the year of positivity, self-love and releasing our true potential. So how do we go about doing so? Read on for the lowdown…
Moderation is the key to achieving balance in all aspects of life. Too much of anything can become unhealthy, which is why it is important to be mindful of our actions, and whether or not the outcome will be positive.
We have all heard the saying ‘do to others as you would have them do to you’ well this is absolutely true. Treat yourself as you would treat a friend. In the same way that you would show loved ones compassion and understanding, you must act the same way towards yourself. If you make a mistake at work, eat one too many cookies, or act in a way that you are not happy about, think of what you would say to someone close to you, and how you would help them in that situation. Offer yourself the same advice. That it is ok, it is not the end of the world, and tomorrow is a new day.
Taking baby steps is important! Have patience and do not try to take huge leaps or shortcuts to achieving your goals quickly. Show yourself dedication. If something does not quite go to plan, do not beat yourself up, instead take a deep breath and try again.
Make sure you create time for yourself amidst your busy day-to-day tasks. On an evening try to switch off from work, read an interesting book, take a bubble bath, and do something positive for yourself.
Try something new- Take up a new hobby such as a cooking course, art class or try Tai Chi. Tai Chi is great for the mind, body and spirit. This calming ‘meditation in motion’ is extremely beneficial for our physical and mental wellbeing and provides a constructive way of unwinding.
Get creative- Adult mindfulness colouring books have become extremely popular in helping to de-stress and relax. With beautifully drawn art therapy designs appealing to all ages, these artistic images are fun to colour, whilst simultaneously taking your mind into a state of balance and calm.
Try to be present in each moment, and focus on your own personal needs. We are all guilty of constantly checking instagram and social media pages to see what other people are doing, and it is easy to get caught up in trying to keep up with the Jones’. Yet this can be detrimental to your overall happiness. Focus on what is right for you and if you are where you need to be.
Meditation is a great way of practicing self-care. Meditation focuses on being in the moment, and noticing your thoughts as they come and go in your mind, almost like moving clouds in a constant sky. It allows room for thought and reflection, and helps you to become more aware of situations. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t have to be completed whilst sat on the floor crossed legged like Rafiki, nor does it have to be done for long periods of time.
Set yourself a positive challenge, and try to dedicate 5 minutes every morning when you wake up, to focus on your breathing and setting your intentions for the day. Meditation has proven to drastically improve one’s wellbeing. It isn’t always easy, but with practice and determination you will see positive results. The great thing about meditation is that you can do it anywhere, a quiet room is preferable, but if you are a busy bee, you can even meditate on the tube. There are many meditation apps that you can use to guide you, with some even offering different meditations for specific occasions.
Write a journal: Writing down your thoughts and feelings as well as tasks for each day can be a very productive way to reflect. The Happiness Planner is a brilliant diary that incorporates the practices of positive thinking, positive affirmations, mindfulness, gratitude, and self-development into the daily and weekly/monthly pages.
Most importantly of all – fall in love with yourself this year!!
Recommended reads: Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world by Mark Williams
Recommended apps: calm and headspace
Recommended classes and events:
Tai chi for beginners classes round London.