Your Self-Care Baseline

I recently read a lovely article on Self-Care written by American psychotherapist, Nan Joy.  It’s content and suggestions have stayed with me, to the point where I think I’m actually going to do this!

She writes on knowing your SELF-CARE BASELINE – how much time and what specifically you need to practice on a regular basis to retain a healthy sense of inner calm and awareness.

Figure out what are the essentials for you to retain a baseline of minimal self-care – that if you drop below this line, you know you could lose yourself, spin off your axis, feel imbalanced, uncentred, unconscious of your true thoughts and feelings.

All too quickly I find myself almost sleepwalking through many days: it’s not difficult to get caught up in activity, busy with one thing and the next, trolling through my to-do lists, pushing aside my inner pleas to get up from the computer, to stretch my body; pausing amidst activity to take a breath, clear my mind.

So if we knew what our baseline was – 2, 3, 4 things we did on a daily / weekly basis to retain a minimum self-care regime … well, that’s a start isn’t it?  So you need to figure out what are the things that you need to do for yourself on a regular basis.  This may be a process of elimination, an experimental time of trying things out: meditating, journaling, saying affirmations, doing some daily yoga stretches, trying out different ways to exercise your body: what and for how long etc.

I have created a mantra for myself (that was gleaned out of an art process I took myself through), so whenever I’m feeling off-centre I stop for a moment, breathe and repeat my mantra back to me. This is so simple and I’m finding it so incredibly calming.

I’m trying to keep to daily journal entries: stream of conscious writing mostly on how I’m feeling, what’s going on in my world … like I’m sitting with my best-friend, checking in on how I am.

Checking in also has to include how we are doing physically in our bodies. This is a big one for me. I’ve always felt a bit disassociated from my body: I carry it around ‘cos I have to! I don’t have a choice in the matter: something has to physically contain my thoughts and feelings!

I’m recently exploring a new concept: I converse with parts of my body, in order to try and establish a relationship with it. As I journal, I write as if I am the voice of a specific part of my body that I’m consciously aware of (usually in the form of mild pain or discomfort, I admit).

I’m currently running a Heart Art course where, after an art making process, I ask everyone to look at their art work, imagine they become the art piece and write using the following as prompts:

“I am the One who …” finish the sentence as if you are the image (or in this case, a specific body part), reporting back to you.

What do you have to give me:  “I give you …”

What do you want from me or what do you need from me?  “I what you to …”

Is there anything else you want to tell me today?

This is a really interesting exercise when you direct the questions to parts of your body.  It can be quite enlightening.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the drift.  What is YOUR self-care baseline? And get specific, such as: I journal for 20 minutes each day; I sit in stillness and focus on breath for 5 minutes twice a day; I exercise at least 3 times a week … and don’t forget to add some YUMMY activities to your list: I listen to a beautiful piece of music at least once a day; I splash on my favourite perfume at least 4 times a week etc.!  Have fun with it and keep it short.  Enjoy Xxx G

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