Each season provides us with valuable reminders about living in greater harmony with nature and embracing the natural rhythms of life. For me, Summer is the Season of Self Care.
What is self-care?
For me self-care is the intention and consequent action to foster wellbeing of oneself, to embrace oneself with awareness, to accept the truth of who we are. In essence self-care is about cultivating a friendship with oneself.
Why is self-care important?
Becoming a mother to two beautiful daughters has inspired me to ask the question – what is the legacy that I want to pass on to my children and to the world around me? How do I want to experience life and how will I be able to give the best of myself to my children and to others?
The answer for me has centred around taking responsibility for my own wellbeing and happiness. In fact I have come to see that taking responsibility is the BIGGEST responsibility in life. I have seen that it is in showing rather than telling my children how to care for themselves that they are learning to cultivate the practice of self-care. This is not something I have grown up with or that I have inherited from past generations in my family, and in the past I certainly have not been a friend to myself. But self-care has become an essential part of the way I live my life today.
In my experience I have found that self-care ensures I can give the best of myself and fully shine my light into the world. If I can be the best version of myself and light the way for others, then I am on track to leave a beautiful legacy in the world. For me self-care is not so much about “what” I do but “how” and “why” I do it. We each have a multitude of opportunities each and every day to practice self-care, it does not need to be an “additional” job we need to find time for, but self-care does take commitment, patience and persistence.
Cultivating a practice of self-care
If you reflect on what it takes to cultivate a friendship, you will be on the right track to developing an understanding of what it takes to cultivate self-care.
How do you cultivate a friendship?
For me, there are 3 key aspects of cultivating a friendship:
- You invest time getting to know someone;
- You listen with presence and without judgement; and
- You are honest, you speak kind words and give your love and acceptance unconditionally.
When we practice self-care, it’s the same….except that someone else is you 🙂
Not sure where to begin with the practice of self-care this Summer?
Here are 5 of my favourite ways to cultivate a friendship with and nurture myself in the Summer months.
1. Keep Hydrated – Sit and Sip – our bodies are at least 65% water, we need water to maintain vital organ function and optimal wellbeing, keeping hydrated is essential in the Summer months. Water is wonderful (filtered or fresh from a clean source is best), add a slice of lemon or lime or some mint leaves for great flavour, a spoonful of chia gel will also help to keep you cool. Here we have a great daily opportunity for self-care – each time you drink a glass of water, pause, sit with yourself and remember that this is a way that you care for yourself, give thanks for the water that is easily accessible to us, I like to remind myself at least once a day to “Sit and Sip”.
2. Pause and Ponder – When we pause, the mind becomes still and we pay attention to the moments of life. Pausing provides an important balance to the intensity of the fire element in Summer and to the often habitual “busy-ness” of daily life, it is an opportunity to be with yourself, to invest time in cultivating that friendship with yourself. Sometimes it helps to have a focus when we pause – you can light a candle, watch the moon, gaze at the sea, draw, write in a journal, pause in the shade and lay on the earth, take time to meditate (perhaps you might like to join us for Monday Meditations). If you are still not sure about pausing, you might like to read my post A Pause is Powerful.
3. Breathe fully and consciously – a powerful tool for any season, use your breath to keep calm and cool this summer – try this it actually works!! Pause and spend a few minutes each day paying attention to the breath, especially if you are feeling overwhelmed, “rushed” and overheated. Simply feel the breath moving and out of the nostrils. You will begin to notice that there is a little pause after each inhalation and after every exhalation. Paying attention to these pauses returns us to a place of calm, and peace and cools us down.
4. Eat for the season – Summer is a time to “lighten up”. Foods and flavours for summer are ideally light, fresh, cooling, dispersing, soothing, calming. Each time we eat or drink we have an opportunity to practice self-care but choosing what we put into the body, we also have an opportunity to pause, to give thanks for the food and drink we have, to give thanks to this amazing body that enables our experience of life. Some of my favourites in summer are bitter foods, raw salads, sprouts, vegetable juices, smoothies, lots of leafy green herbs and I love including cooling, soothing hydrating ingredients such as coconut, aloe vera, chia gel, cucumber and combinations of chamomile, dandelion and peppermint or fresh ginger and lemongrass (for cooling teas on a hot summers day). Adding in some high quality protein is also important to help me stay grounded and focused.
What are your favourite foods and flavours in Summer?
5. Get in touch with yourself – Sometimes it is easier to take time out for yourself if you have an “activity” or “something to do” – Summer is the perfect time for the practice of simple self-massage for the face and body. You have an opportunity to send love and care to yourself whenever you touch your body – do you embrace this opportunity? Self-massage is a great way to reconnect with yourself. Don’t be afraid to explore and nurture your body, think of all the amazing things your body does for you each and every day! Trust your touch, find the perfect fit, your intention is the key to a nurturing experience. The practice of Yoga and Qi Gong (in particular the Radiant Lotus Women’s Qi Gong practice) has been am empowering way for me to be more confident in getting in touch with myself.
What are your favourite ways to cultivate self-care?
Do you need support in cultivating a practice of self-care?
I will be posting regular reminders on the Share, Grow and Heal Facebook page to support you to embrace self-care and I would love to hear about your experiences and journey with self-care along the way.