Is your busy schedule causing you to skip out on your self-care regime? Going from lockdown to easing back to normal, most people are filling up their diaries and forgetting to live in the chilled out lifestyle they were enjoying. Taking time for yourself isn’t a selfish act. It’s actually pretty selfless, because when you make time for your own wellness, it allows you to be at your best. That is good news for yourself and everyone is your life.
Whether you are trying to juggle commuting all over again, whether you are a new Mum, whether you are feeling snowed under with work. Starting off your morning off with a simple 5 or 10-minute self care routine should be everyone's best friend. You can always make time for five minutes even on the busiest days, or 10 if you have a little more time in the AM, and it will do wonders for your physical and mental health. Just stop and think now, do you get up and the first thing you do is reach for your phone and catch up on every notification and then end up mindlessly scrolling… guess what this is an awful way to start the day. Leave the phone alone and try to implement these habits.
Airplane mode your phone
As much as you may want to reach for your phone when you first wake up, try to resist the urge. It will be a hard battle at first as you are in a habit of doing so but eventually it will get easier. Switching off your phone for a few short minutes as you give yourself time to adjust to the day is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself. By removing any distractions of notifications as you focus on self-care, you allow yourself to be fully present with what you are doing. That not only helps you to stay consistent with your self-care routine, but also offers its own health benefits as well. Research suggests that frequently responding to alerts can increase stress and anxiety, lead to sleep problems and sleep quality.
Practice deep breathing:
This may seem a little alien to some people, but if you are new to breathing, be pre-warned…. One minute will feel like 10 minutes. Trust me in time, this speeds up and you will wish you had more time to just sit and breathe. Once you have removed distractions, take just one minute to focus on your breathing.
Practice taking deep, slow, controlled breaths in and out. Breathe in deep through your nose while trying to pull as much air as possible into your belly, feel your belly inflate. Hold the breath for a few seconds before releasing. As you breathe out, exhale deeply through pursed lips as if you were whistling until all the air from your belly has been released. Try to keep it slow and consistent. To take your mind away from just breathing you can focus your mind on inhaling any positive thoughts and what you would like to focus on, then exhale any negative thoughts or problems on your mind.
The act of belly breathing plays a large role in stress management. “Deep focussed breathing helps stimulate pathways in the body and brain that lead to relaxation and stress relief. Taking a few moments for deep breathing in the morning can be beneficial to start your day right but also regular practice of deep breathing can help when any stressful situations arise during the day.
Stretching and Mobility
Now you are feeling relaxed after breathing, it’s now time to stretch and move your body. Not only can stretching help you to feel energised as you start your day, but the act of stretching can offer a variety of benefits. Stretching daily can improve flexibility and mobility, which can help reduce injury risk whilst also improving posture.
In addition, stretching can also directly impact overall health, such as improving blood flow. The act of stretching also helps to reduce the levels of circulating stress hormones like cortisol in the body and may boost serotonin (the happy hormone)!
What are the best stretches and movements to do in the morning? Try starting with a simple child’s pose and moving into a downward facing dog to help open up your shoulders and stretch out your back. Cat camels are a great way to get movement through your spine and body. Finally work your way into a warrior 1 pose to help open up your hips and feel strong and empowered, ready to start the day.
Drink a glass of cold water
Drinking a glass of water may seem like a necessity and not like self-care, however this simple act can go a long way in helping you to feel your best in the morning. Drinking a glass of cold water helps with hydration, cold water particularly is refreshing and rejuvenating, which can boost your mood! You may even find you feel more awake and alert after too!
Write down one thing you love about yourself, this is the final step of your morning self-care routine, and will end it on a high. Take one minute to write down at least one thing you love about yourself each day, again like the breathing, this may feel really odd if you haven’t journaled in the past but this is a great habit to get into. This simple act can shift your mindset away from the typical self-critical thoughts and instead to positive, uplifting ones.
They may seem like simple little things, but by taking this time for you daily will have a huge impact on the way your day begins, try it for a week and document your findings!
by Amy Lees (Gomer)