This weekend for the first time since a holiday in the sun [a few years ago now and for many of us I am sure], I took a siesta.
I had had a difficult and emotional week and I felt tired and foggy.
Yes, I went to lie down to rest and sleep for 30 mins.
I listened to a 5-minute meditation, and then slumbered.
I set the clock to wake me, as with more than that you can enter the deep sleep cycle and wake groggy, unless you sleep for the full sleep cycle of 90 minutes and I didn’t have time for that 
It was bliss.
It felt like a treat. It was a treat.
Free and easy to access.
These things matter and I know how important it is for both mental and physical wellbeing that we stop and give ourselves a moment to rest, indulge, to pamper, to relax, to listen in to our own inner voice. We down regulate and switch on the relax, renew, and recuperate part of us. The time to allow the body to rebalance and reset.
I guess you could call it self-care. This has been described as “a multidimensional, multifaceted process of purposeful engagement in strategies that promote healthy functioning and enhance well-being.” It is the activities that include care of our body mind and spirit. It allows and gives us access to ourselves and when we access it and ask ourselves “what do I need right now?” we can then begin to address it.
How to start your Self-Care
Good self-care includes treats. These have been described as “an event or item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure”. Perhaps you could say they are “special self-care” activities. The icing on the cake of self-care!
Each person’s treat is different to another and really if you think about it, only we can decide what is a treat for ourselves. For me, right then, the siesta was.
Self-care on the other hand is the regular and intentional activities that are taken to take care of ourselves each, and every day. From cleaning our teeth to that 10-minute mindful walk. It all counts and we all will benefit from it in more ways than many of the clients I see as a coach realise.
I’d say as much that these activities are essential for wellbeing and health in the fullest sense.
That state of being fully present with ourselves, connected to our own inner voice and needs allows our body and brain to downregulate and in doing so drops the needs for the immune system to work harder and as a result inflammation settles.
We become at risk of diseases like heart disease, blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, and poor mental health. We can pick up and go under with infections – the classic holiday illness as we eventually get a moment to self-care!
So, I’d suggest this is act of self-care and I include treats is not a weekend thing or a thing to wait for a holiday to do.
No, it needs to be integrated into the fabric of our lifestyles. It needs to be something we all as humans just do. Not just for the professional pamperers or the ones with more time on their hands. And certainly not just when we retire, whatever that means for us.
By the time these moments come the horse has already bolted and we can be several steps behind the illness curve and need a more concerted effort to recover fully truly and deeply.
I little like the daily dishes, little and often keeps the surfaces clean and decluttered.
Small moments of self-care are the answer to reduce the potential of build-up that can in time affect the quality and quantity of our lives.
So, what next? How can we make this really happen?
What would these activities be for you?
Sounds good so what’s next?
Here are my suggestions, that I too am leaning into for upping your own “self-care medication”.
- Know the importance of Self-Care as a route to health care. It matters and it makes a difference to your mental and physical health.
- Set moments aside each week ahead where you make this easier to do – get the bath salts, tell the family, ensure the meals are prepped before so you can delegate
- Jump on opportunities and don’t look back – just do it! – Have that 20 min siesta. Sit under that tree for a few moments. Rub that foot cream in. Breathe and do a 5-minute meditation.
- Reflect on the times this has been done in the week before. None? Once? More? I would suggest you give yourself the permission to aim to get micro moments of self-care most days. Call it a reset.
- Create your own version of a spa session. Wrap yourself in comfortable clothes and maybe do this with family or friends – that adds in that special extra of connection, also good for health.
- Keep a journal and note it all down in a few minutes as part of a sleep routine.
- Eat well, move well, sleep well, socialise and relax well. This all counts as self-care
- Share the love – treat someone else. Pass this on and make it part of a new normal!
That’s all from me, bye for now.
Until Next time
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 Sleeplessness by Lindsay Browning
 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-019-0675-0 naturemedicine
 The Stress Solution by Dr Rangan Chatterjee