Veronica Tift clarifies how little steps to me time can make a big difference in your well-being.
Ah, some me time! I run the bubble bath, light the candles, grab a glass of wine and climb in, wanting all my problems to melt in the magical bath water and to not think about the terrible day I had. That works for about a minute; turns out it’s all I think about, replaying what I could have said to that ‘Karen’ today. Is this really me time?
Sometimes me time (self-care) isn’t sexy and as glamourous as the bubble bath advert. Personally, self-care is an ever-changing journey depending on what is happening in my life at the time. What do I need right now? I need to hydrate (coffee doesn’t count, apparently), deep breaths, a good stretch and a few seconds to notice my body, the morning sunlight, and giving it little moments of care.
What feels right for you? What do you want and need for yourself? These are questions that will get you closer to understand what little steps you can take to help you care for yourself.
Limit the amount of time you spend with toxic people or information. Delete that Facebook page that makes you angry. Check the time you spend online looking at things that don’t make you feel great. Let go of the fear of missing out (FOMO) and learn to say no.
Little daily steps may not be fun, but they are important for everything else to be possible. Go to bed at a reasonable hour. Pay your bills on time. Stay home on a Wednesday. Floss. I know that these don’t sound like loving yourself, but by doing all these little things, allows you time and space to really enjoy your me time.
What can feel like a big step may be to challenge yourself and I don’t mean beating your Solitaire score. I mean with something enriching and interesting; challenges that force you to grow and something for yourself.
Assess your relationships
This one can feel like a tricky step but have those difficult conversations. We all need social interactions, and the quality of those relationships has a direct relation to the quality of your life. If a relationship is not working for you but you don’t want to lose it, tell the person how you are feeling.
This can mean that wonderful bubble bath, or it could be lying on the couch or in the arms of someone you care about and who cares about you.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to rest, while a hammock in the Maldives sounds like the ultimate way to rest, it’s not the only way.
This is another little step you could do every day. Reflecting on the day can assist you in understanding areas of your life that need to be worked on and that you are grateful for. Celebrate the good things in your diary, clear things that are bugging you and write down desires that you have for yourself.
Take note of your mirror neurons
Emotional contagion happens every time we interact with others, mostly without noticing. Ever felt calmer being around a person or feel angry the angrier someone else becomes. Basically, your mirror neurons in your brain give you this ability to feel stressed around a stressed person and calmer around a person who is calm.
Explore alternative therapies
Reflexology is a great way to explore alternative therapies and learn new things and explore ways of healthy living that you can include in your me time.
Most reflexologist and healthcare workers enter the profession because we genuinely want to help people. When you spend time in an environment with calm and caring people, your mirror neurons will respond, and your body will benefit.
The body is a mirror of your mental and emotional state. Emotions leave imprints in your muscles and nervous system; think about how you tense your body in response to mental and emotional stress.
By exploring body work, like therapeutic massage and reflexology, the physical effects of stress on your body could be eased. Regular treatments have better results and like regular exercise is good for the body, body work should be part of self-care.
Reflexology can be done every week or once a month depending on your budget and time.
Meditation just 10 minutes a day is another little step you could take. Harvard, the University of Montreal, Johns Hopkins and a meta-analysis have all proven that meditation aids in the reduction of depression, anxiety, stress and reducing pain.
I geek out on the science of meditation or mindfulness and that is why I include a five-minute meditation at the end of a reflexology session. Some of my clients will come in and meditate during the entire reflexology session, but even five minutes a day can have a benefit.
Put yourself first
Give yourself permission to put yourself first, even if just for an hour. Act from true care and from a sense of compassion for yourself, your well-being and putting yourself above the should and to-do-list.
Just doing one thing can make a change in your life. Take little steps each week and soon me time could be truly supporting and help you cope better with all the other stress you have to deal with daily.
MEET THE EXPERT
Veronica Tift is a therapeutic reflexologist, registered with the AHPCSA, based in Benoni. She continues to grow her knowledge through attending international and local courses on various subjects related to reflexology. Veronica has a special interest in working with couples struggling with infertility.
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