I read yesterday that intentionally bringing pleasure into your life is just as important as decreasing stress as it turns on our parasympathetic system, which is all about rest, restoration, connection and calmness. In fact, pleasure has been scientifically proven to strengthen our immune systems and lengthen our lives!
As all business-builders know, the stress of launches, juggling all the balls, caring for a family and burning the candle at both ends while we try to get it all done can weaken our immune systems (who here has ever got a cold while launching? Nah, me neither ;)) make us tired and miserable, and can sometimes make us question why we’re even doing all this.
So now science is telling you what your body already knew – it’s time to introduce some self care into your life.
If you look after yourself – physically, emotionally and spiritually – then you’ll have more energy to bring to your blog, your business and your clients. Your business is limited by the energy you have to give to it, and your energy is limited by the way in which you fill your cup.
But in today’s world, where we spend so much time stressed and caught up in being busy, many of us have forgotten how to even bring self care into our lives. So how do we do it? Here are some ideas.
1. Listen to some music
If you can add dancing around the living room to that, do it!
One of my favourite teenage memories is driving the eight hours from Eden on the NSW south coast to Sydney, with my sister, singing a Greece medley for most of the way. I have the kind of voice that makes people ask me to stop singing, but I still get so much joy from it!
How can you create music? What do you love to listen to?
I love to laugh. One of my favourites is this video of Jimmy Fallon and Emma Stone having a lip sync battle. But be careful here; this isn’t a green light to spend the next hour watching random YouTube clips.
Try playing a game with friends, drawing some eyebrows on your baby or dog, a laughter yoga exercise (it’s basically fake laughing until it turns real, and it always does!) or watch an hilarious movie (Coming to America, anyone??).
Go and get a massage or facial, give out some free hugs or hold hands with someone you love.
Many women find it difficult to allow ourselves this kind of indulgence. If you’re looking for permission, here it is! It will be good for your business if you go and get a massage.
4. Spend time in nature
Mountains or ocean, forest or stream. Nature has a completely calming effect on us and for me, creates conversations that don’t arise in any other place. Take off your shoes, dig your toes into the dirt and just ‘be’ in nature.
Take a picnic to the woods with you. Swim at sunrise in the ocean. Turn your face to the sun, close your eyes and smile. How can you get nature to touch you, wherever you are?
I’m a fairly recent convert to meditation, but am finding that it’s bringing me a level of calmness and peace that I didn’t use to have.
The simplest way is to take 5 minutes (trust me, if you’ve never done it before then 5 minutes will feel like a long time!), sit up straight, and just focus on your breathing.
In breath. Out breath. When your mind wanders, gently bring it back to your breath. Simple!
Oh so hard. But through the difficulty, you will create space in your life, focus in your mind and peace in your heart.
Do you recognise what’s already wonderful in your life? Try taking the time each evening to write down three things for which you are grateful. It could be a morning cuddle with your kidlet, a beautiful sunset, a friend who always makes you happy.
Simple things are what make up our lives, so it’s important to recognise those simple things and be grateful for them. To paraphrase Brene Brown, many of us ignore the ordinary moments in search of the extraordinary, but the ordinary moments are what makes up our life.
So notice the ordinary and appreciate it.
This is always the biggest one for me. I love afternoons spent lazing and chatting with friends, nights drinking wine and laughing, and 80’s movie-and-pizza marathons in someone’s living room.
Even so, I sometimes find a month has gone by and I haven’t seen my bestie. Do you get the connection you need? Or are you too busy being busy to fit in what is most important?
8. Choose your own adventure!
What brings you happiness and joy? What are the things that you love spending time doing? Write them down and commit to making time for them in your life.
If you’re like me and you love a good list then feel free to print this off and use it like a checklist.
Are you doing these things regularly? Are you prioritising self care in your life?
And maybe the biggest questions of all;
Are your business, family or friendships suffering because you’re depleted from a lack of self-care?
Can you afford to not look after yourself?
And if you feel too busy for self-care and pleasure, then what are you building this business and this life for?
Samantha Sutherland is the excitable founder of The Everyday Adventure where she encourages women to live through play in their everyday spaces. It's possible to live your life joyfully, full of freedom, connection and adventure! She runs in person retreats and events, a Fun-Life Overhaul Challenge and blogs regularly. She's a corporate refugee who is a certified Health Coach, a mother of one as well as being chief fun-maker of The Everyday Adventure. Come join us and be happy! Connect with her on Instagram, on Facebook and via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Credit: The Everyday Adventure