Don’t have time for self-care? We’ve spoken to Louise Murray for some top tips on how to make time for some much-needed self-care.
To be effective it does not need to take up lots of time. Just a couple of minutes of ‘me time’ can be all you need to carry you on your way to a more positive, energised, motivated and happy self.
Louise Murray is a Holistic Health Coach with the qualification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and a Mindfulness Teacher. She takes a truly holistic approach to health and wellness by nourishing people ON and OFF the plate by coaching them with nutrition advice combined with lifestyle and behaviour change, healthy habit formation, mindset tools, mindfulness and self-care practices
What’s the magic trick?
Louise likes to create a ‘power pause’ list for her clients. This list consists of your go to ‘soul soothing practices’ for those moments where you feel overwhelmed and frazzled. From 2 minutes to 10 minutes is all you need to come away refreshed & reenergised. Well we hope you do.
Louises’ soul soothing practices include breathwork, positive affirmations, ‘cup of calm’ & mindful walking.
Energy boosting breathwork can be better than caffeine. You can use the power of your breath to create an incredible feeling of energy, clarity and focus through your body. If you're not breathing optimally, you're robbing yourself of energy. The way you breath may be causing you to feel tired, fatigued, foggy, and uninspired. This is because proper, controlled breathing ensures an optimal oxygen-carbon dioxide exchange. This is vital for high energy and mental alertness levels. Do this simple breathing exercise twice a day or whenever you feel yourself losing steam:
1. Deeply exhale with a whoosh sound
2. Deeply inhale through your nose for a count of 4
3. Hold for 7
4. Exhale through your mouth for a count of 8
5. Repeat steps 2-4 about 3-4 times
Use this breathe too whenever you feel stressed or overwhelmed. It activates your parasympathetic nervous system, your 'rest and digest' system – and this triggers a wave of calmness through your body.
Positive affirmations are a powerful way of sending yourself a great dose of positive energy and self-love. By starting your day with the repetition of one or more positive affirmations, you set the right intention for the day, brighten your mood and up your confidence. Don’t worry if you don’t feel comfortable saying them out loud to yourself, just write them down and pop them somewhere you will see them throughout the day (bathroom mirror, fridge door). Even if at first you might not believe the words to be true, slowly, day-by-day you will reinforce the messages and train your subconscious mind to tune into the truth of them. It really is MAGICAL stuff! With regular use, affirmations rewire your system both energetically and physically. Here are a few positive affirmations that will help to attract good and positive energy, and help elevate and uplift you:
- I'm ready to fill my heart, mind and life with positive energy and live it everyday
- I give myself permission to thrive and I allow the positive energy to flow through me
- When I start to feel drained, I take time alone to replenish my energy
- As I breathe slowly and deeply, I become more relaxed and energised
Pick one of those that resonates and use it for today and give it a try!
CUP OF CALM
This is super simple, just make yourself a cup of your favourite warm drink and sit down. Louise recommends an herbal tea like chamomile tea. Try to avoid coffee which can add to any anxious feelings. Try and press pause to be fully present and mindfully enjoy the moment. To help you do this, to help you dial down the chatter in your brain, focus on your senses - sight, sound, touch, taste, smell. You are fully immersing yourself in the present moment, using your senses to anchor yourself in the present moment. This is going to allow your mind to have a break from thinking about the past or the future, which is where our stress and anxiety often stems from. In these two minutes, focus your brain on what you are experiencing through your senses...just be open to your senses, rather than trying to analyse what’s happening with them. Try and bring in each of your senses in turn and just notice what you can experience with each sense.
- What can you see in this moment? It could be the colour of the drink in your cup, the leaves in the teabag, the colour of the mug in your hands, any patters on the mug.
- Move onto another sense, perhaps touch - mentally note down what you can feel in this moment. It could be the warmth of your cup in your hands, the texture of the cup, smoothness, any bumps, the weight of the cup in your hands. Just observe and mentally note down what you can feel.
- Now focus on the flavour of the drink. Really savour the taste. What can you taste? Sweetness, bitter notes, herbs.
- Moving on to sound, what can you hear in this moment? Are there any sounds around you at the moment?
- And finally focusing on the sense of smell. Can you notice any scent from your drink – floral, zesty, uplifting, calming? And if you can, just take the next minute or so to sit quietly and really enjoy your tea.
Your mind will probably start to wander, and that’s ok, just congratulate yourself for noticing and gently bring yourself back to your senses whenever you notice your mind has wandered. Sometimes it helps to label your thoughts as ‘thinking’ and then bring yourself back to your senses again…..sight, sound, touch taste, smell.
So just take two minutes to practice the ‘cup of calm’ whenever you need to slow down a little, be fully present, and reconnect and ground yourself...
10 minutes: Mindful Walking
This is great as you get double self-care benefits - mindfulness and time outdoors which is so good for your mood. This is also one you can do with the kids in toe too. Simply go for a walk and pay attention to the sights, sounds and all sensations. Try to focus on being in the present. When you notice your mind wandering to the chore list or work tasks, just gently bring it back to how you feel walking.
- Expand your attention to sounds. Whether you’re in the woods, or in a city, pay attention to sounds without labelling or naming, or getting caught up in whether you find them pleasant or unpleasant. Notice sounds as nothing more or less than sound.
- Shift your awareness to your sense of smell. Again, simply notice. Don’t push or force yourself to feel anything at all, just bring attention to the sense of smell, whatever you discover.
- Now, move to vision. Colours and objects and whatever else you see. Look up and notice the trees, look at how the light falls through the leaves. Notice the branches and how far they stretch. Notice all the different colours.
- Now focus your mind on touch. Focus on your feet and how it feels to bring each foot onto the ground. Which part of your foot touches the ground first? Last? How does the ground feel? Notice the feeling of the wind, the daylight, the cold crisp air on your face.
Keep this open awareness of everything around you, wherever you are. Nothing to do, nothing to fix, nothing to change. Fully aware, and walking.
When you’re ready to end your walking meditation, stand still for a moment. Pausing, choose a moment to end the practice. As you finish, reflect on how you feel and consider how you might bring this kind of awareness into the rest of your day.