How to make more time for yourself
The excitement (and stress) is building as we can officially put up our Christmas decorations, watch festive movies and sing along to seasonal favourite songs. It is the most wonderful time of the year, but it is also one of the most stressful. How are your stress levels?
The beauty of following the teachings of Traditional Chinese Medicine is that this practice is pretty old and it offers plenty of advice and information that is still very applicable in the 21st century. Our TCM 5-element theory places us right at the most yin part of the year – the darkest, coldest and most introverted season. The metal element is considered the most yin of all the seasons as the nights (and mornings) are darker, the weather cools considerably and the feeling of wanting to snuggle up and stay inside can take over.
We are heading towards the winter solstice which will welcome in the water element and the winter season – offering us the opportunity to take rest and restore our energy reserves by slowing down. Before we get to the solstice though, it is suggested that we re-visit the earth element to ground us before we transition into a new season.
The earth element is all about nurturing and nourishing ourselves, so I am particularly excited about the prospect of embracing this idea. Moving from the metal element into the water element should be a gentle transition and using earth as a buffer helps us to feel more steady and ready to move forwards to embrace the winter season.
This is a great time to re-visit those self-care techniques we looked at back in late summer and make some time to tend to our own needs by filling our own cup. Here’s some ideas how you can make some more time for yourself over the next few weeks:
Use your time in the shower to focus on the breath. Take 10 slow, deep and mindful breaths at the end of your shower before you get out. This is great at the beginning of the day to set you up on a positive note or as a method of unwinding before bed. Bonus points to anyone who does a 30-second blast of cold water after the 10 breaths!
Turn your tea or coffee break into a mini-meditation session by slowing down and focusing on the present moment. Use your 5-senses to tune in – see, look at the colour of your drink, your mug and notice the small things about it; smell, take an inhale and notice the scent of your drink which might add to your enjoyment of it; hear, close your eyes and take note of any sounds around you, without getting caught up in them; taste, enjoy the first sip of your drink savouring the flavour; touch, notice the temperature of the mug in your hands and of the first sip of your drink.
Try to create some movement breaks throughout your day. Maybe while the kettle boils or before you sit down to eat, add in some stretches to help you loosen up and tune into how your body feels right now.
These are a few ways you can sneak a little bit more ‘me-time’ into your day without compromising on all that you give to others. Make sure you try to take a step back over the next few weeks and give yourself the gift of self-care.