1. Meditate for 10 minutes
When you’re overextended and running on adrenaline, it’s often easy to just power through and “keep it moving.” Consider replacing that practice over the next few weeks by sitting still for 10 minutes each day to simply follow your breath. Ideally choose the same time each day – then set the timer on your phone. Research shows that deep breathing can reset the nervous system – and calm you down. Meditation is often thought of as having to be in a particular space or atmosphere, with candles and incense burning. Not so! Consider these easy steps:
· Find a comfortable place to sit still with your feed touching the ground.
· Take a couple of cleansing breaths – the breath that comes from deep in your belly.
· Then close your eyes or just soften your gaze
· pay attention to each inhale, then exhale. Repeat
2. Listen to Your Body
During the hustle-bustle of preparing for this unique holiday season, there are many more considerations than normal. Remembering things like putting on your mask to pop out the car for a quick errand – did everyone who’s coming over get tested? Oh my, do I really need to keep on my mask in my own house since my nieces are coming over? The questions and thoughts are endless, especially now.
Our bodies will always tell us the truth – guaranteed, without exception. When you feel constriction in your gut, tension behind your eyes or your heart rate increases, trust that your inner spirit is trying to get your attention. Listen by slowing down and asking a couple of questions such as these – what’s here? what do I need in this moment? Then listen to the wisdom which will emerge – because it will. Your body and all your systems will thank you for it!
3. Focus on Your Own Goals
Radical self-care is about loving yourself enough to prioritize what’s important to you, unapologetically. Covid-19 has forced us to re-evaluate so many things, including “what is important to me? What’s my Big A – (big agenda)?
Activate your imagination as you think about your goals for the next 12 months, 36 months or even the next 5 years. What is your reason for being? What is it that you really want? Allow your imagination to take you to the place where you want to be – is it property, being more financially stable? Perhaps it’s to be able to save for college for your children or nieces and nephews. Visualize visiting them on campus, or the report you’re getting from your financial planner. What does it look like to have that farm table in a country kitchen somewhere deep in the woods? During this holiday season, practice radical self-care by remembering you are important, worthy and enough.
4. Be Gentle with Yourself
This is one of my favorite holiday reminders. Resist the urge to be harsh and judgmental. When we practice this on ourselves, it’s a natural extension to do the same with others. Be kind and compassionate as you mess up the meal, forget to send a gift to someone you intended to or entirely miss the Zoom gathering with your book club. What’s it look like to acknowledge you thought of them AND also didn’t get all the way to completion? Consider this – take a deep breath and literally give yourself a hug… Go ahead, right now, stop and give yourself a hug! Can you feel it?
5. Maintain Physical Health
This radical self-care tip is not about a resolution – it’s early for that anyway. This is about being consistent with a practice that allows you to get fresh air, enough sleep and take in enough water. Here are a few ideas:
· Drink water - half your body weight – every single day!
· Wear sunscreen – even though the sun may not be shining where you are
· Get outside – be accountable to yourself and commit to walking outdoors during the day. It could be simply around the footprint of your home, walking the parking lot 2 or 3 times in your apartment complex or something more exotic… the point is to get out in nature and take in the fresh air. It’s wild how radical this can be on your thinking, processing and attitude
· Eat well – just a little better than you did last month. What’s that look like? Another spoonful of greens, one less soda or adult beverage per week, juicing veggies to have a tonic nearby that’s nourishing
· Schedule medical appointments – even though Covid-19 will forever change the way we take care of ourselves and one another – we still have to get in for check-ups… Annual visits are important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle
6. Set and Honor Healthy Boundaries
There’s a lot of “extra” during the holidays – extra food, extra alcohol, extra decisions and, extra stress. Choose boundaries that allow you to honor who you are and what’s important to you. This is powerful, affirming and contagious. When you say – “that’s not going to work for me,” it’s clear and liberating. You’ll love yourself just a little more by knowing when to say yes and when to say no.
At MCS we have lots of ideas on how to practice radical self-care, so feel free to reach out if you’d like to learn more.