By Petra N.
Self-care that doesn’t take any time? In fact, when you do these things, you can even get time back on your calendar. How? Self-care is not just about what we do, but also about what we don’t do.
In this post, we’re going to explore some ideas that you can use to care for your mind and sanity. Because mind care is self-care.
1. Saying “no”
Whether it’s FOMO or pleasing people, we frequently say “yes”, just to feel overwhelmed or rushed as we squeeze in one more thing. And we may feel guilty when we finally turn something down. Sound familiar?
Saying “no” is one of those superpowers that—when we do it mindfully—can invite calmness and tranquility into our lives. When we say “no” to something, we inevitably say “yes” to something else. Weighing our options based on not only what we’re saying “no” to, but also what it’s opening up space for, will make saying “no” easier.
If you’re familiar with ayurveda, an ancient natural medicine from India, you’ll appreciate this: our constant “rush and go” lifestyle vitiates vata dosha, the first-line and most common culprit in mental, emotional and physical imbalances. This can also push pitta dosha out of balance. In Western terms, our fast-paced lifestyle creates a stress response in our bodies.
Managing the hustle mindfully helps keep vata at bay. So, say “no” to recharge. Say “no” to relax your mind so creativity can flow through you. Say “no” to give yourself the space to focus and become more productive. And last but not least, say “no” to reset for a better mood.
2. Giving yourself permission
…to be perfectly imperfect. Striving for perfection is a pitta trait in ayurveda. We even use terms like “giving 110%” to something. I’ve written and talked about this issue before, so it’s no surprise that I love this article by University of Utah Health on the problem with our 110% culture.
Choosing wisely how you use your energy and becoming intentional in your actions are key to self-care that helps create sustainable, positive results for your body, mind and spirit.
As a reminder of my priorities, I like to give myself the 5-5-5 test: will this matter in 5 days? In 5 weeks? In 5 months? Or, you can even do 5 years. Because sometimes good enough is good enough and in the end, the extra 20% will not make a difference.
Along the same lines, ask yourself if a meeting is really needed or if the topic can be handled in an email. Or, are you even needed in the discussion?
On the flip side, see if Slack is really the best way to collaborate or if a call is more productive. And does it need to happen right now, distracting you from what you’re focused on, or can it wait?
The bottom line is this: you just can’t bring 110% to everything, every time. Pick your battles. Pick them wisely and intentionally. Give yourself permission to reclaim your calendar and time.
3. Laughing for self-care
You didn’t see this coming, did you? Haha. Laughter is the best medicine. It’s no joke that laughter relieves stress and tension, but did you know that it leaves your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after and laughing 10-15 minutes a day can burn 40 calories? That’s the equivalent to losing 3-4 pounds a year.
Other benefits include strengthening your immune system, boosting your mood and even increasing your lifespan.
Laughter therapy is a thing. Laughing doesn’t require any time. You can literally do it at your desk, while cooking, in your car or in the shower. Anywhere, really.
4. Digital detox
I’ve written about why digital detox should become a part of our routine. Since writing the original post, the average screen time has reached 6 hours 58 minutes a day globally, with a nearly 50-minute per day increase since 2013. What’s even scarier is that 49% of 0-2-year olds use smartphones and gen Z spends 9 hours a day in front of a screen.
A little known fact is that taking good care of our sense organs is key to our health (and productivity). Too much screen time is a form of sense organ overuse, which can create imbalances in the body and mind, ultimately affecting our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
Giving yourself the permission to turn off your phone, silence it, not respond to texts or calls right away is not only good for your health, but it also frees up time and space for you to just be and enjoy the moment.
Caring for your mind and senses is just as important as caring for your body. And as you can see, self-care doesn’t always mean carving out time for a massage or activity. It can be as simple as rewiring existing habits and activities in ways that put your wellbeing first.
Image by Ogo, Pexels