'People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.'
I think this quote is really beautiful and telling of the power of self-love. If we wish to be happy and shine throughout our lives (even in the dark times) then we must make sure the light within us is nurtured. How do we do that? What is the best way to practice self-love? It’s simple. Self-care and rest!
Have you had a time in your life when you don’t wake up in the morning excited for the day? Maybe you’re feeling that right now. Does every task seem tedious and time-consuming? Well… how can we feel happy about our day if we don’t feel happy about the body we have to live it in? If you’re not giving yourself enough rest and if you’re not having any personal time for yourself to nurture your mind, body, and spirit, you will feel sluggish, uninspired and no doubt unhappy!
Time for some facts. Did you know self-care is one of the main ways of combatting depression? Yes, it really is that good. Mind (one of the leading mental health organisations) lists ‘practising self-care’ as one of it’s main ways to help people in elevating depression.
Self-care and rest can boost your immune system too! Taking vitamins, exercising, mindfulness, getting lots of rest and taking a bubble bath all have one thing in common. They activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System. This means it puts the body into ‘rest and restore mode’ making us feel rejuvenated and refreshed! The more self-care we practice and incorporate into our daily routines the better able we are at coping with the chaotic events of the day. This gives our body a chance to build its defences against illness. Not to mention you will have much more energy!
Self-care means slowing down and this can actually improve productivity. It seems hypocritical, right? How can slowing down speed you up? But, it really does work. It helps you to refocus. Picture this, you say no to a commitment that doesn’t serve you, you make some time for yoga or you meet a friend for coffee. These things can help you feel happier and when you get back to your working day you feel replenished and ready to go.
Has this ever happened to you? Your to-do list is trailing on the floor and you’re watching YouTube videos of ‘cats and cucumbers’ (please search this when you’re having some me-time because it really is hilarious). The problem is your procrastinating. You’re not ready to take on your day at all. When this happens you should make self-care your main priority and then come back to your tasks for the day. Maybe make yourself a cup of tea and sit and watch YouTube videos guilt free for 15 minutes. After you have given yourself that small amount of time for you, to do what you actually wanted, you will feel much more ready to complete your list of to dos.
Many people often misunderstand the meaning of self-care. They think it means an expensive shopping spree or a luxurious spa day. That is not the case. There are many things you can do at home to practice self-care and self love. Here are 5 for you to try.
Surprised? It’s such a small thing that we often forget. The pleasure and nourishment of a healthy, hearty meal. How often have you eaten your lunch whilst multi-tasking? Or grabbed a breakfast bar whilst running out the door? Would you sit with your laptop whilst having dinner with a loved one? No. Then why do we not treat ourselves with the same level of respect? Mindfully indulge in a meal without distractions.
2. Tidy up.
Hear me out. The environment we live in can have a major impact on our mood. By creating a space that feels warm and welcoming, you establish an inviting retreat for when tough times arise.
This may not be just about physical clutter either. Digital clutter can affect us too (unwanted software that slows your computer down, countless unread emails, or even Facebook friends).
3. Read a book.
I am one of those people that can not switch off from work. I can be in the shower washing my hair and my mind wanders to the things I have to do. It can be very draining. But, you can get lost in reading. You can be transported to another time or world. Pretty hard to think of hanging out the washing when you’re in New York with Mr. Gatsby.
People only ever usually post their successes. It’s not often they post about the tough times they’re going through. This can be disheartening, especially if you’re comparing yourself (very easily done). Take a weekend where you log out of all your social media. Focus on the beauty around you.
Don’t feel silly. Put on your favourite tune and get moving. You will instantly feel happier and moving around will release those happy endorphins!