Welcome everyone to our month-long self-care challenge!
Over the coming 31 days you will receive daily emails from me providing ideas, thoughts, and activities to try all under the label of self-care.
Remember that almost anything can be self-care it just requires two ingredients:
1) Intention and
2) promotes health and wellbeing.
So, without further ado, here is your first self-care challenge: Tonight, let’s do NOTHING!
That’s right you read that right. Nothing can be self-care.
What do I mean when I say do nothing?
I mean give yourself a break from responsibilities such as cleaning the house, making dinner, catching up on emails and social media, shoveling the snow. Pretty much anything that involves adulting.
Caution: this does not include ignoring your children’s needs. Please always remember that children need our support and attention so while I am saying release yourself from responsibilities for the night it does not include the responsibilities of being a parent. 😊
Okay so I’ve given you the night off what do you do instead????
That is up to you my friends.
Read that book that’s been collecting dust on your nightstand.
Watch one of the cheesy Christmas movies that Netflix and Hulu are promoting.
Eat a tub of ice-cream.
Send out for dinner.
Take a bath… or don’t!
Go to bed early.
Paint your nails.
Turn on music and dance around the living room like no one is watching.
WHATEVER YOU WANT TO DO tonight is self-care. Why? Because we are doing it with intention, and we do it with our wellbeing in mind.
But wait! What if you need a little more structure around this idea of doing nothing? Here’s a few tips to help out.
Doing nothing can be as simple as letting go of responsibilities for a little bit. But it can also be much more than that.
When we do nothing, I mean truly do nothing, it means we aren’t engaging our minds or our body in some sort of mental or physical challenge. It is providing space for rest and peace.
How do you do that?
1) Sit and breathe for 10 minutes
2) Meditate for 15 minutes or
3) Sit and listen for 5 minutes.
Any of these simple do-nothing activities will quickly rejuvenate your brain and your body. They are like taking a power nap!
We all know how to breathe, but here is a simple breathing exercise that can be done literally anywhere.
Simply breathe in through your nose, allowing it to fill your lungs, feeling your chest and belly expand with the inhale.
Then slowly exhale through your mouth, pursing your lips a little as if to whistle a little tune. By pursing your lips, you regulate how slowly the breath is released from your lungs.
Repeat 5 times, or 2- 5 minutes. It’s up to you!
Mediation can feel daunting and unreachable, especially when your mind is racing with anxious thoughts or to do lists. But guess what? That breathing exercise I just laid out for you is meditating!
Here’s a simple jump start to mediation if you are looking for some more guidance.
1) Find a quiet, comfortable place. You can be sitting, lying down or even standing up. You just need to be able to concentrate without being too distracted.
2) Begin by simply taking a moment to thank yourself for being here and for taking care of yourself. See what this feels like — simply giving thanks.
3) And if you're feeling anxious right now or even a little stressed, let's see how you would describe it. If you're not feeling anxious, simply recall a recent experience when you were anxious and relive that experience to see what you felt at the time.
4) Now be curious and ask yourself What is the sensation that I feel most strongly in my body right now? Take a moment to locate where it is. Now see if you can get really curious. Do you feel it more on your right side or left side? Or, if it's right in the middle, is it more toward the front or the back of your body?
5) Now imagine slowly breathing in through your nose and right into that body part. Let that breath go right into your anxiety and hold it there for a few seconds before letting your breath go out.
6) Let's do this again. Take a slow, deep breath, imagining that kind, curious breath going right into your anxiety. Let your breath hold that feeling of anxiety for a second in a warm, kind embrace. And then breathe out — let it go. See how much of that anxiety releases with your breath.
7) And, again, on the next breath in, bring curiosity to that anxiety. What do the physical sensations feel like right now? Have they changed at all? And, continuing with this practice, one breath at a time at your own pace, breathe kindness and curiosity right into those physical sensations. Hold them there for a moment and then, on the out breath, let them go.
8) You can continue doing this breathing exercise now or any time throughout the day for a few seconds, anytime you feel anxiety coming on. See what happens as you keep practicing it. And don't forget that attitude of kindness and curiosity. These are key.
Sit and Listen
This one combines breathing with listening to soft and soothing music.
You can sit and simply listen to your surroundings. When you hear something name it and let it go.
For instance, you may notice a car outside, you simply say “that is a car” than you let that sound and thought go and listen for a new sound to name and release.
Doing this for 5 minutes will reawaken your mind, and you will notice that you are more in-tune with your surroundings the rest of the evening.
A last note….
Did you notice I didn’t include things like:
Drink an entire bottle of wine? Or smoke an entire pack of cigarettes? Why aren’t these included in the do-nothing self-care night?
While both of those things may sound enticing and even fun, research has shown that drinking alcohol and smoking increases your anxiety over time as well as risky behaviors. So, while society may promote doing both those things as part of a fun night, scientists warn that overindulging in these activities will have the opposite effect than what you desire: which is a feeling of wellbeing and self-love.
So, let’s enjoy this night of doing nothing my friends and allow it to rejuvenate our mind and body!
Enjoy this night my friends!