When I made the decision to start my own business in order to own more of my time, I very quickly realized how much I had missed…me. All those years of go-go-go, showing up for a boss, being social after work and weekends (before motherhood, of course), maintaining relationships with friends and lovers, and being available for my family of origin, I barely made time to strengthen the only relationship that truly matters in my emotional well-being–the one with myself.
So here are 5 ways I’m loving on myself more everyday:
- Unplugging before bed. When I learned that Ariana Huffington, queen of online media, could manage to separate herself from her technology in order to rest peacefully at night, I thought ‘DONE’ and I began to do the same. Now, I plug my phone in on the other side of the room, shut down my laptop and turn off the television before going to bed. It’s amazing how much more rested you feel when you don’t feel obligated to stay half alert to social media and email messages throughout the night.
- Journaling. I am thankful that journaling is something that was instilled in me from the time I knew how to write complete sentences (thanks Grandma); and I hadn’t realized how vital it had probably been to my ability to manage my emotions until I stopped doing it for a while. So, when I began this practice again a few years ago after losing a relationship, home and job all at once while simultaneously battling postpartum depression in silence, I began feeling connected again. It was as though I had found a long lost friend, and suddenly all my pain and hopes had somewhere safe to live. Unloading my thoughts and feelings on paper at the end of everyday, and reflecting my gratitude at the beginning of a new day help to solidify trust in myself and allows me to feel free and secure. In turn, I have more of my heart to give to the souls I serve and lead each and everyday.
- Nourishing my body with goodness. So often when we think of nourishment and nutrition food is what comes in mind. Right? But did you know that what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body? When I committed myself to a life that prioritized what I value the most, that also meant needing to amplify my self preservation practices as well. So what does that mean? I work hard to stay properly hydrated, eat foods that are colorful and nutrient-rich, and use only non-toxic personal care products and cosmetics. Once I reconnected with my heart and learned to love myself harder than ever, I also noticed that I’m gorgeous! I mean, really, how did I ever forget that and why would I want to poison myself or compromise my temple by mindlessly consuming toxic foods and products?
- Prayer and meditation. I’ve always loved quiet. But as much as I love quiet, my mind is not always a quiet place and can be full of “should” landmines and self doubt. To combat this and strengthen my relationship with my maker, I take at least 10-15 minutes every morning in silence just consciously connecting with my breath and another 7-10 minutes praying and thanking God for that breath and for every good and imperfect thing in my life. When I feel connected to God and held by his divine wisdom, I can let go of my need to understand everything that happens to me and around me and feel free to do my best to serve His people. And to keep my mind focused on God throughout the day, I close out my morning session by reading a devotional message from a book like this.
- Moving my body. Okay, so you had to know this was coming. Before I was teaching yoga, I was practicing it for many years; and the one thing I communicate to every one of my students in every class is “listen to your body, and move in a way that feels good to you.” Some days I may be stiff or sluggish, so I move slowly; and some days I am excited to get the day started so perhaps I dance. The point is just to get moving on my mat, get my blood circulating and warmed up, and set the tone for the day before me.
What’s most important in creating self-care rituals for yourself is consistency. As with any relationship, time matters; the more time you spend truly listening and observing, the better you grow to love and understand yourself, your boundaries, and your individual desires.
So, what kinds of rituals keep you grounded and loving yourself everyday? I’d love to read about them in the comments below.