Build new Self-Care habits in time for spring
We all need self care at any stage of our life, but more at some stages than at others. Tapping into what we need at different seasons can help us nourish ourselves in the right way.
At We Are Wellbeing, our Associate Trainer Rachel Letham discusses how we can build habits to gain what we need in the present moment.
“I love the feeling of possibility that comes from this time of year, it is almost electric…can you feel it? Spring is synonymous with starting afresh, new beginnings and there is such energy in this season of rebirth. We “wake up” at this time of year, nature around us blooms and we emerge out of Winter with a sense of renewal.
Now as we start to move towards Spring with the clocks changing and giving us longer days (eventually), is the time to re-energise your self care routine and revamp how you take time to recharge. It’s the perfect moment for getting in touch with your senses; opening your eyes to all the newness emerging, listening to birdsong, taking in fresh scents, feel the soft light and longer days.
Take time to live well this season, but take care not to overwork yourself. There is a tendency to cram everything into our lives in the longer summer days, as once we hit Autumn we retreat and hibernate. Go steadily in Spring and move with the season as the environment around you starts to blossom.
Be mindful; the results of your efforts when it comes to self care and building tiny, daily habits might not be seen immediately. Let’s compare it to gardening, an apt Spring metaphor. You need to prepare the soil, plant the seeds, water them and patiently wait for your garden to grow. Therefore take your time to practice your self care habits daily, try to do them to the best of your ability and you will see growth and feel nourishment.
Often at this time of year, we are drawn to spending more time in nature. Fully embrace this by taking moments in your day to notice what is around you. The tips I share in this blog encourage you to tap into the beauty that exists around you and also to contribute to your environment in your own way. This will raise your energy levels and help you to enjoy the life you live.”
Here are some new habits to start to try out in Spring:
1. Let your mind wander
“If you fill every single moment to the brim, you’ll never get anything of importance accomplished. Why? Because you need the spaces in between the things that you do, in order to consider what to work on next.
This tip is all about pausing and noticing where your mind goes if you let it wander. We all need more mind-wandering episodes in order to come up with new ideas. Focus is great but it is over-rated in so many ways. Let your mind wander when you do something fun, simple and that is a habit to you – such as walking the dog, enjoying a long hot bath, or even the drive home from the office. You don’t need to think of anything specific but see where your thoughts take you. Doing this activity and letting the mind wander allows us to pull in all the unresolved loops and tasks to the front of your mind.
Ever get a brain wave when driving about where you put that thing you’ve been looking for? Or maybe you remember someone you want to call whilst walking the dog?… It’s all about refreshing the mind – find the perfect moment of self care for you.”
2. Tend to something
“Watching something grow that you have tended to, whilst enjoying the sunshine on a spring day can be a great mood booster. I’m not talking about planting out anything too massive, a simple window box will do; especially if you don’t have a garden or outside space. Growing hardy plants, chillies, herbs or strawberries in a window box can reap rewards for your mind, body and spirit.
Studies have found that the mental health benefits of gardening are extensive. Not only can regular gardening reduce mental health problems like depression and anxiety, but it can also reduce stress and combat high blood pressure, as well as improve overall physical fitness if you are tending to a big space.
A simple act of tending for your plants can help you reconnect with nature and feel grounded which can have a huge impact on mental health. It’s also about taking responsibility for something and giving you something to focus on which can be great when you have a stressful life.
So maybe think about what you might be able to start growing, tending to or looking after this season…”
3. Enjoy a gratitude walk
“This is something great to do at the weekend whether home or abroad. Go for a ‘Gratitude Walk’ and leave your phone at home. Go for a walk, get some exercise and fresh air, and seek out all the things you are grateful for.
Notice your surroundings, be in the present moment. Take time to breathe in the fresh air deeply. Find things that you are grateful for and take note of them in your head or say out loud why you are thankful if you are walking with a friend. Vary the things you can see, touch and smell to bring all the senses into this process. Allow yourself to focus entirely on the environment around you and be in the present moment.
This is also a great thing to do with children over the weekend or if on holiday in a new place… it gets them exploring outside and practising gratitude without really thinking about it.”
4. Bring Spring from the outdoors in
This is another quick and easy tip for some everyday self care that people don’t think consider. Every week, I buy myself some beautiful flowers. They don’t have to be an expensive bouquet, normally they are supermarket tulips that are less than £10 and last for weeks.
Why do I do this? Well first of all if I don’t do it no one will; the husband hasn’t been trained in the art of good flower procurement yet! Also, it is doing something for me, this is a small gift each week to say “Hey you’ve done all right, you’ve survived the week”. However, it’s more than just self gifting for self care. The real self care comes when I awaken my senses as I walk into my kitchen – I see the flowers and they make me smile. The colours dazzle in front of my eyes and I love to see how cut flowers develop as they age. Then there is the perfume, the scent – usually subtle but still there, something to awaken my senses in the morning and get all facets of my brain functioning.
It’s also my way of being in touch with nature and in tune with the seasons. It doesn’t have to be cut flowers, you could have a favourite house plant that brings you similar joy, or nurture flowers in your own garden to be able to bring inside to enjoy all your hard work.”
Enjoy this new season we are in and think about how you can bring some new self care habits into your day to day life.