Our lovely Holistic Health Coach, Louise Murray is back with another brilliant guest blog to share with us her favourite self-care ideas you can practice, even if you think you don't have the time.
Be sure to read her post on how to get better sleep as a busy parent as well.
Modern-day parenthood is tough. You are not alone if you feel this way. But I do know that it is possible to feel your best self too, and by combining the power of good food with self-care and mindset tools - you can truly live well. You can feel vibrant and energised. I know you are probably thinking, but I don't have time for self-care. Many parents feel this way, in fact research has shown that parents have on average just 17 minutes of time to themselves each day! This is why I love the concept of micro self-care - super small doses of self-care that add up to make a BIG difference. Just a few minutes a day is all you need to make a positive difference. The tools and practices that I recommend here take just 2 - 10 minutes. You owe yourself those 10 minutes a day. Mindfulness and self-care tools don't need to take a long time, just a few minutes can be enough to give you a little space to slow down, press pause, re-connect and re-energise for the rest of the day. And remember, there is no need for any guilt for practicing self-care because when you feel good, it overflows onto your children and you are a more patient, loving, joyful parent. Self-care is healthcare. It is self-preservation. You are loving more than just you when you take care of yourself. Micro-dose on self-care throughout your day using these tools to help replenish and restore your body and mind…
Tip 1 - BREATHEEnergy-boosting breathwork can be better than caffeine. You can use the power of your breath to create an incredible feeling of energy, clarity and focus through your body. If you're not breathing optimally, you're robbing yourself of energy. The way you breath may be causing you to feel tired, fatigued, foggy, and uninspired. This is because proper, controlled breathing ensures an optimal oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange. This is vital for high energy and mental alertness levels. Do this simple breathing exercise twice a day or whenever you feel yourself losing steam:
- Deeply exhale with a whoosh sound
- Deeply inhale through your nose for a count of 4
- Hold for 7
- Exhale through your mouth for a count of 8
- Repeat steps 2-4 about 3-4 times
Use this breathe too whenever you feel stressed or overwhelmed, it activates your parasympathetic nervous system, your 'rest and digest' system – and this triggers a wave of calmness through your body.
Tip 2: POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONSPositive affirmations are a powerful way of sending yourself a great dose of positive energy and self-love. They can be grounding, energising, motivating or inspiring. By starting your day with the repetition of one or more positive affirmations, you set the right intention for the day, brighten your mood and up your confidence. If you don't feel comfortable saying them out loud to yourself, try writing them down and pop them somewhere you will see them throughout the day (bathroom mirror, fridge door). Keep looking at them throughout the day to remind yourself of them. At first you might not believe the words to be true. Don't let that discourage you from actively using affirmations because slowly, day-by-day you will reinforce the messages and train your subconscious mind to tune into the truth of them more and more often. It really is MAGICAL stuff! With regular use, affirmations rewire your system both energetically and physically. Many people experience huge benefits after a few weeks. Here are a few positive affirmations that will help to attract good and positive energy, and help elevate and uplift you:
- I'm ready to fill my heart, mind and life with positive energy and live it everyday
- I give myself permission to thrive and I allow the positive energy to flow through me
- When I start to feel drained, I take time alone to replenish my energy
- As I breathe slowly and deeply, I become more relaxed and energised
- I regularly do those things which energise me
- I take time each day to wind down and relax so I don't get overtired
Pick one of those that resonates and use it for today and give it a try!
Tip 3: SAY NO!
As a parent, you can often feel like you're pulled in a million different directions trying to please everyone in the family. You might even feel guilty about saying no to requests from family members, children or friends. But you shouldn't! It's okay to say no sometimes, and to not take on extra work or commitments when you don't think you can manage it or it will stress you out. You can say ‘no’ and still be a good friend, colleague, sister, person. Saying 'no' is a massive self-care gift to yourself. Saying no is empowering. Even saying 'yes' to things you are ‘meh' about means you will be out of time and energy for the things you want to give a big fat YES to. So if it's not a’ hell yeah’ – make it a ‘no’. Design your life around the good stuff, make space for that first so that the not so good stuff slowly slips away. 'No' is such a small word yet so hard to say so here’s a few scripts: * While my heart wants to say 'yes', the reality of what's on my plate right now makes this a 'no' for me at the moment. Thanks for thinking of me. * I am really touched by your request, and although it's hard for me to say 'no', it’s so necessary. I'm grateful our relationship allows me to be honest about where I am. * This sounds wonderful and as much as I would love to be involved, I can't give it the attention it deserves right now. I am cheering for your success! * No, thank you. (sometimes it’s as simple as that!)
Louise Murray is a Holistic Health Coach with the qualification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and a Mindfulness Teacher. She takes a truly holistic approach to health and wellness by nourishing people ON and OFF the plate by coaching them with nutrition advice combined with lifestyle and behaviour change, healthy habit formation, mindset tools, mindfulness and self-care practices.