Simplify Your Self-Care: A Free Little Challenge

Simplify your self care - a free little challenge
SIMPLIFY YOUR SELF-CARE: A FREE LITTLE CHALLENGE

If you’re struggling to take care of yourself or just need a lift and some self-love, check out my free little challenge to simplify your self-care. 5 simple challenges to help you think differently about looking after yourself and making self-care a consistent, effective part of your daily routine.

SELF-CARE SHOULD BE SIMPLE

I think we often complicate self-care to the point at which we make it unachievable. When we’ve got so much to do and a whole host of other priorities that demand our attention, the last thing we feel able to do is to put ourselves first.

We feel that self-care (to be effective) is too onerous, time-consuming or will cost too much. Yet, there’s the saying that ‘you can’t keep pouring out of a cup that’s run dry’. And it’s true.

If you’re running on empty, feeling tired, run down and lacking in energy then you’re no good to anyone, including you.

Take a moment to spend some time on yourself, do things that will help you feel better and more positive about yourself and you’ll start to notice a big difference that will impact on both you and those around you.

These 5 little challenges (originally designed as a series of emails but now available for you here to enjoy at your own pace!) are designed to help you start thinking differently about how you (really) look after yourself.

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THIS CHALLENGE

This challenge consists of 5 mini challenges or projects. None of the ideas will take long, perhaps 10-15 minutes each day, but I hope they help you start to think about ways you can feel better about yourself in the longer term if you keep them up.

And, before we begin, remember that this challenge is about simplifying your self-care. I’m not going to ask you to invest lots of time, money or energy that you might not have.

You can spend as long or as little time as you have, but each challenge could take you no more than about 10-15 minutes (maybe less).

I know you’re probably busy and looking for ways to simplify your life. So, this challenge is to show you that self-care needn’t be complicated to be effective.

You deserve to feel good about yourself and show up for your life as the best version of you. You deserve that, and your family and friends deserve that too. So, let’s go!…

Simplify your self care - a free little challenge
CHALLENGE 1: GRATITUDE

Why gratitude you may ask? Well, I believe that although many of us think we have to go elsewhere to seek enjoyment and fulfilment in life, often times we have everything we need right here already.

It’s often just a case of recognising what you have already and thinking about your life differently. Being grateful doesn’t actually always come naturally. Sometimes we get so caught up in our day-to-day that we forget to look at the bigger picture.

Think about:

  • Your greatest achievements?
  • What are you most proud of in your life?
  • What makes you get out of bed each day and keep on going?
  • What makes you truly happy?
  • What would you miss most if you were plucked off this planet by aliens?

Being grateful should be a daily habit. Gratitude reminds us of what we’ve got, the people we love, how lucky we are and why we should carry on making an effort in life.

Gratitude means we can learn to focus our time and energy on the things which are most important to us, rather than wasting time on things which aren’t so important to us after all.

A little challenge for you

Today I’d like you to make a list of things you’re grateful for.

  • They can be big or small, important to everyone or important to just you.
  • Make a list of at least 10 things but aim for more if you can.
  • Include people, places, events, feelings – whatever comes to mind that you’re most grateful for in your life right now.

Once you’ve written that list, keep it safe, read it back often.

Think about ways in which you can nurture and build on these things you’re grateful for so that you’re prioritising them regularly, daily if possible.

CHALLENGE 2: YOUR BODY

Keeping a healthy body is one of the cornerstones of self-care. You demand a lot from your body and it has to serve you as well as it possibly can, for as long as possible!

Unfortunately, though, I think that we often make it more complicated than it needs to be. Of course, there are some people who love exercise and have the time, discipline and motivation to run, hit the gym and so on.

But, for many of us, exercise is a chore that we feel we don’t have time, energy or motivation to do. We fall into the all-or-nothing mentality that if we can’t do an hour a day (or whatever time feels right to you) then there’s no point. We give up before we even start or can’t keep it up for more than a week because busy life gets in the way.

A little challenge for you

Today I’d like you to get outside and go for a walk.

How far, how long and how fast is entirely up to you and your personal situation. Grab the dog if you have one, take your partner or the kids, a friend, or just go by yourself and stride out.

Feel the fresh air, sunshine, wind, rain or snow. Enjoy the daylight. Blow the cobwebs away. See more than the four walls of your home. Look at the beauty of nature. Feel the blood pumping around your body. Listen to music or an inspirational podcast. Broaden your view and your mind. Walk fast when and if you can. Walk slow if you need to, but I encourage you to TAKE THAT WALK!

When you get back from your walk, think about how grateful your body is to get some exercise and how grateful your mind is to get out of the home and see new things.

That walk didn’t cost much in terms of money, it’s something you can do in pretty much all weathers, with others or by yourself. You can even multi-task by walking to where you need to go instead of jumping in the car!

CHALLENGE 3: THE POWER OF SILENCE

In this challenge, I’d like you to do the opposite of the previous one! I’m going to ask you to sit still for 5 minutes.

The power of silence is an amazing thing. In our busy lives, we have so much noise to distract us that our own thoughts get drowned out. We don’t realise what we’ve been thinking about, what’s worrying us or niggling at us. The thoughts fester, build up and just make us feel overwhelmed, grumpy, anxious or frustrated and sometimes we don’t know why.

We’ve tuned out of our own minds and tuned in to the world around us instead.

A little challenge for you

In this challenge I’m going to ask you to sit still and quiet for 5 minutes.

I’d like you to choose a quiet time. It could be first thing in the morning before the house wakes up or last thing at night before you go to sleep. Maybe when the kids are at school or taking a nap, or in your lunch break at work.

  • Find a quiet place where you’re unlikely to be disturbed.
  • Sit down and make yourself comfortable.
  • Set the timer on your phone for five minutes.
  • BE STILL.
  • Try not to get distracted.

What thoughts come to mind? Make a mental note to remember them and write them down afterwards if you’d like.

When the five minutes is over, dissect your thoughts. Were they positive and upbeat? Dreams, ambitions, goals, successes? Or were they worries or things that you’d remembered you’ve got to do?

Did you find it really difficult to sit in silence with just your own thoughts for company? Did it make you uncomfortable? Were you prepared to feel like that or was it a surprise?

When we have silence there’s nowhere to hide.

Take time to think about the overall nuance of your thoughts. Were they happy, sad, anxious or something else?

Take action on the thoughts that require actioning and repeat the whole exercise again tomorrow. Do you get the same results?

CHALLENGE 4: HAPPINESS

Today, I’d like you to think about the past week and 3 things that made you REALLY HAPPY.

Think…

  • What they were
  • Why they made you happy
  • How you can do them again
A little challenge for you

Pick one of those things and do it today.

Here are some examples…

  • Meeting a friend for coffee
  • Playing a board game with your kids
  • Getting your nails done
  • Gardening
  • Calling your mum
  • Reading your book
  • Eating chocolate
  • Taking a proper lunch break rather than a sandwich at your desk
  • Trying out a new recipe
  • Doing DIY

It doesn’t matter what you choose. Just make sure it’s realistic for the time you have available and you can find a way to do it today.

CHALLENGE 5: TURN OFF THE SCREEN

In this last challenge I’m going to encourage you to come away from the screens.

I know you might use these at work but in your free time, I invite you to switch off your TV, computer and to not touch your phone for a while. Forget about other people’s perfect Instagram lives or Facebook status and focus on your own (real) life.

Plan how you’re going to use the time instead, even if it’s just for 10 or 15 minutes. Try it now!

A little challenge for you

Read a book, listen to a podcast, plan your next holiday, declutter your home (I love this one because it creates so much free time and energy so in a way it’s the ultimate form of self-care!). Take the kids to the park, cook, play a musical instrument, go to the library, go to a coffee shop…!

Instead of scrolling through social media to see how everyone else is spending their day, look at ways you can spend YOUR day instead.

I’m not suggesting that screen time is bad. I love TV and my phone is my window on the world, but screens have their place. There is SO much more to life if you can pull your eyes away from the glare.

Try it for today and see what you can achieve instead.

MAKING SELF-CARE WORK FOR YOU

I really hope you’ve enjoyed it and it’s started to make you think differently about how you look after yourself and what self-care really means.

None of the things I’ve suggested are time-consuming, expensive or unrealistic, but they can make a big difference to helping you enjoy and make the most of what you’ve already got.

Remember to put yourself first every now and then. It’s not selfish and there’s no need to feel guilty. It’s just about finding simple, easy ways to love yourself that little bit more every day.