I’m keen to take the time this February to refocus on my self-care habits that seem to have fallen by the wayside during the summer holiday break. I’d love for you to join me!
"An empty lantern provides no light. Self-care is the fuel that allows your light to shine brightly." - Anonymous
If you can carve out just half an hour a day to yourself, the benefits will be huge! Not only for you but for your loved ones. You’ll feel more focused, calmer and more energised. Yes, please!
Here’s five ideas to get us started:
SPENDING TIME IN NATURE
I’ve been reading Dr Qing Li’s book ‘Forest Bathing’ to learn more about a Japanese tradition called ‘Shinrin-yoku’, or Forest Bathing. With the vast majority of the world expected to live in cities by 2050, us humans are experiencing a ‘Nature Deficit’ meaning that we’re craving nature in body and soul. Dr Li has found that spending time in a forest can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and anger; strengthen the immune system; improve cardiovascular and metabolic health; and boost overall well-being. “Wherever there are trees, we are healthier and happier,” according to Dr Li.
I’m committing to immerse myself in nature for at least one hour a week in February. Whether that’s a national park, a nature reserve or walking in the woods around my house. The idea is to go slow, take your time. Let all your senses be awakened.
“Let nature enter through your ears, eyes, nose, mouth, hands, and feet,” says Li. “Drink in the flavour of the forest and release your sense of joy and calm.” Actively listen, smell, touch, and look.
Connecting with nature reminds us that we are part of a larger whole and that can help us to be more self aware. I’m very fortunate to get to spend so much time in nature at the farm - it really is a very grounding place for me. I like to literally practice the art of grounding with my feet on the Earth, or on the sand by the ocean, as it helps me feel very calm.
This is probably the most challenging for me to commit to but I don’t need to tell you about the benefits of mindfulness. I’m going to take 10 minutes a day to either listen to a Yoga Nidra meditation (there’s a bunch on YouTube if you do a quick search) or just lie still for 10 minutes and engage all my senses. Starting with 20 deep breaths to calm myself and then using each of my senses in turn to listen, smell, feel, taste and see what’s around me. It’s better for me if I do this at lunchtime as it’s a great reset throughout the day. Just 10 mins can equate to an extra hour of sleep!
Journalling is deeply personal but I find it the best way to fill my gratitude cup! By listing at least 10 things I’m grateful for on a daily basis before I go to sleep, it helps me to focus on all the positive rather than the negative things in my life. It’ll only take a few minutes a day. Grab a journal and get writing!
DRY BODY BRUSHING
I always forget how amazing this makes me feel and was reminded when I opened my bathroom cupboard and saw my brush there last week. Grab yourself a Body Brush and find 10 minutes a week to feel the benefits. Inspired by ancient Ayurvedic practices and embraced by cultures around the globe, it revitalises your skin by gently exfoliating, promoting circulation and revealing a radiant, glowing complexion. It’s detoxifying, helps with lymphatic drainage and leaves my skin feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. Try it!
READING / LISTENING
Whether it’s picking up a fiction book instead of scrolling socials or a self-improvement book that I listen to in the car on my travels, my plan is to keep my mind engaged and learning new things this month. I find that if I listen to a book that inspires change then I’m more likely to reflect on thoughts and patterns of behaviour that don’t serve me!
I hope that by doing this together, we can support one another to make ourselves the priority. I’ll be updating on Insta if you’re not already following throughout the month.
To brighter lights, my friend.
Love Sophie xx