I discovered meditation after my coach encouraged me to try it out a couple of years ago. It wasn’t easy to start, but developing a regular practice has given me a wonderful understanding and appreciation of myself, helped me develop and connect deeply to my vision and centre and ground me when I’ve been feeling off balance.
Meditation is a daily practice for me, and even on days when I’m busy, I stop - even if it’s just for a few minutes. It helps still me, calm me down and re-focus on what I most need to do. It IS an investment of time and effort at the beginning, our minds go crazy when we try to be still, but a practice takes practice!
Making my bed
Keeping everything a posto (the Italian for 'in place’) contributes massively to my creativity, peacefulness and efficiency in how I live and work. I’m not obsessive about cleaning but most of the time, I keep my space neat and tidy.
One daily act I do not compromise on is making my bed. I see it as one of my greatest acts of self-love. When I return to my room before I sleep, or even just getting in from town, it’s there ready for me to have a nap, all neat and tidy. It’s a gift from myself. (I wrote a longer blog post about this here)
Every day pleasures
Giving myself permission to have pleasure - even when the work is not all done - has been (and occasionally still is) one of my biggest challenges. So I’ve developed a self-care practice inspired by Thomas Leonard, one of the founders of the coaching industry, whose book, The Portable Coach, is one of my favourites. The practice is: having something to look forward to every day. I’ve expanded this a bit to say ‘Do something just for me every day' - whatever is going on. At the moment quite often this might be something like stopping for gelato break, or making time for a good book.
Affirmations are positive statements. It can feel as though positive statements are just lies, after all they seem to contradict a difficult reality we find ourselves in. However when you look for evidence that an affirmation is true, even if only in some scenarios, suddenly we can open up a whole new way of being.
My favourite affirmation at the moment is: "There is a gift in every moment". It reminds me that I can just come back to where I am now, even if everything is topsy-turvy and challenging and overwhelming, or I feel I’m not ready, or I can see a big load of fear heading my way. I can look for peace and appreciate something fabulous in the ‘now’.
Checking in with my 'Top 10' list
I was coaching in a small group the other day and the first exercise I asked them to do was to make a list of the top 10 things they loved to do. I smiled to see how long it took them. Most of us don’t prioritise time in our schedule for those actives that bring us joy in our lives, in fact many of us can’t even write a Top 10 list that easily.
I regularly check in with my list to ensure my life is focused on the joy I know I’ll get from doing these things. It might not be anything grandiose or earth shattering - it might just be having a bath or reading a book in the sun. If it’s been a while, I make myself write a top 20 list!
What are your self-care practices? Have you tried any of the above? Tell us in the comments below.