Why Self-Kindness Is Essential
"Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself ". Hermann Hesse
I talk a lot about self-care. To me, it is a crucial part of our wellbeing and something that must be incorporated more and more into our busy lives.
Unknownst to myself, my own self-care started at a very early age when I went on a school retreat. At the time, to me, it was a bit of fun and a chance to spend time away with my friends. Little did I know that the experience would be so profound that it would remain with me into my adult life. My first ever retreat with my school was only to the other side of town but it was shortly after my dad had died and it was when I met someone who would go on to be one of my best and dearest friends in the world. I can almost remember the detail of the weekend to a tee, all these years later. One of the exercises we performed was a letter-writing exercise whereby we wrote down all our thoughts, feelings and anxieties as well as any unresolved issue we had with people (living or deceased). Well at the time it felt like I had a multitude of unresolved issues with my Dad who had died. We then went on to burn our writings in old-style aluminium ash bins in the gardens of this magnificent retreat centre right in heart of the city but what felt like a million miles away from anyone. I can honestly say it was the most liberating experience I have ever had (despite the tears) and something I now encourage all of my clients to do whenever they have any issues to solve, deal or let go of in their lives.
Unfortunately, too many people look on self-care as a luxury, a treat and sometimes even as something that they are not deserving or worthy of ~ well this message is very much for your eyes and ears. If you have other people in your life that you spend a lot of time with and who ultimately depend on you to be there for them (and that's most of us!), be it a partner, a husband, a wife, children, parents, neighbours, friends, colleagues, etc. etc. then you need self-care! When you look after yourself properly, you are far more capable of looking after others. Retreating from the world doesn't have to be a year (or even week) long of locking yourself away in the Himalayan mountains, a monastery or a convent. Although to me that does sound like bliss. It can simply be time spent in nature or alone doing something that you love.
You can start off small and slowly build it over time. All you need to do is be willing to make the commitment to yourself to be kind to You. Here are my tips for bringing some self-care into your life:
~ A daily / weekly walk in nature
~ Time to sit and contemplate near a river, under a favourite tree, in your garden or in a park
~ A daily meditation practice (you know I call it a legal drug)
~ Space to dance, read a book, play a musical instrument, listen to your favourite music or exercise your creative juices in whatever way pleases you
~ Doing some gentle exercise like yoga, tai-chi, pilates, swimming, walking (remember the body was designed to move)
~ Listening to a guided Yoga Nidra (sometimes called yoga sleep) which can be deeply relaxing and restorative
~ A facial, massage, pedicure or manicure
~ An alternative treatment such as reiki, acupuncture, reflexology or whatever you feel drawn to!
The most important thing is that you start to make self-care a crucial part of your life and if it feels a bit 'self-indulgent' to you then begin with something small and work up to making it a habit you do monthly, fortnightly, weekly and eventually daily.
The key is to not be too hard on yourself.
START YOUR SELF-KINDNESS NOW WITH MY FREE GUIDED MEDITATION:
ACCESSING THE SILENCE
This meditation will help guide you into some well deserved peace and stillness of the mind.