At State Of Liberty, our approach to self-care is all about sustainable wellbeing, but what does that actually mean?
It’s about creating a lifestyle that supports you day-to-day, month-to-month, season-to-season and year-to-year, positively contributing to your future health, wellbeing and happiness.
It’s about creating a routine that enables you to listen and understand what your body and mind need while cultivating a lifestyle that reflects your values. It’s about being connected to your environment, to the natural rhythms and cycles that influence us.
We live in a quick fix culture and are expected to perform at maximum capacity all the time, with no emphasis on the importance of rest or the cyclical nature of life.
Quick fixes usually mean temporary results too, forcing and pushing our bodies to cleanse and detox, to work longer and harder, to sleep less and deplete our natural energy. In turn, this then forces us to look for more quick fixes like caffeine, alcohol and medication. It’s a cycle, but not a sustainable one.
Our bodies are always working for us, doing the very best they can with the circumstances we present them with. By supporting and nourishing our bodies, they will naturally restore and cleanse when the time is right.
It’s a process to create a wellbeing lifestyle, one that is deeply, personally yours, that suits your values and needs. It can take time to unfold in its own unique way.
Lack of time, space, money, caring for others, short or long-term health conditions, genetic predispositions, and dated patterns and mindsets can all influence our wellbeing story.
Integrating short daily practices which evolve into everyday habits, aligning ourselves with natural cycles, and listening to our bodies to establish a routine that suits our needs can help restore our health, happiness and freedom.
Creating a Structure for Your Own Self-Care Routine
I resisted routine and structure for a long time, thinking it would restrict my freedom and creativity. Having a structure allows me to use my time more effectively, so I can be more productive, creative and healthier. It can take time to establish an effective routine. However, knowing your wellbeing practices slot seamlessly into your schedule will allow you to enjoy them every day.
It’s vital that you create a realistic routine that works for your lifestyle. It should reflect your needs, but also the needs of your children, partner, housemates etc. It can be frustrating if you’ve decided to meditate in the morning, but your children have different ideas and are seeking your attention, or your housemate plays loud music. Creating a routine and then communicating your intentions to others that share your home is a good place to start to ensure your needs are met.
A routine that works for someone else may not be suitable for you. Personalise your routine to suit your unique needs and allow it to be flexible and adaptive to complement new seasons, situations and needs.
Above all, keep it simple. Over complicated routines are likely to be overwhelming. The idea is to enjoy and have fun. A routine centred around your wellbeing needs to give you the space, energy and time to learn, adjust, grow and expand, as well as reflect and rest.
My Winter Routine
I had great hopes to wake early during the winter months and practise yoga and meditation before the sun rises and anyone else wakes up. The reality has been that during the winter months I need 9 hours sleep and I naturally wake at 7:30 am.
Creating a regular bedtime routine has been hugely beneficial. I sleep much deeper when I’m in bed and asleep before 11pm and being well rested allows me to wake up feeling refreshed and more motivated for morning practices. If I’m tired, I simply don’t feel inspired, so sleep is essential for me.
I was feeling overwhelmed trying to practise yoga in the morning, so I simplified my routine. Instead of doing 30 minutes of yoga, I decided to simply do three sun salutations. This helps me get on the mat, and once I’m there I almost always end up stretching more and adding a few extra asanas.
It feels good to move my body in the morning, especially in the winter. If I don’t, I seize up when it’s cold and my body is tight and tense all day. Yoga in the morning helps me warm up and focus my attention for the day ahead and also prepares me for a 20-minute meditation.
I moved my longer yoga practice to the end of my working day when I can’t wait to get on the mat, especially if I’ve been sitting at the computer all day. Practising yoga and meditation at the beginning and end of the day supports me in my work. I then have space to relax in the evening, or if I need to carry on working I have reset and released any stress and tension from the day so far. I can carry on feeling calm and clear rather than tired, stressed and overloaded.
Sometimes it’s not possible and busy life takes over, but it’s good to have a routine in place to fall back on and it makes us much more resilient to whatever life throws at us. It’s difficult to create an elaborate routine when you’re already tired, so weaving small changes into your everyday life helps to achieve long-term wellbeing.
Other Home-Based Practices Include
Cooking – I’m happiest in my kitchen, the heart of our home. I’m a cook and nutritionist, so over the years I’ve adapted my diet to support my health. You can read my foodie wellbeing story here. My passion for good food is a long-established routine that’s always evolving and changing as I find new inspiration and the seasons change. For me, missing a meal is a sure sign I’m too busy and I need to slow down, especially in winter. If I know the week ahead is going to be busy, I try to cook a big stew on Sunday. It makes me happy when there is a pot full of food on the stove.
Relaxing in a salt bath with essential oils and candles – This practice never fails to restore me. It is my favourite way to relax and always helps me to reset when I’m tired or stressed.
Everybody’s situation is different. It’s important to create a routine based on what’s right for you. I’m sure my routine will change again as we move into spring and the new season brings more light and energy.
The SOL team have lots of useful tools to share with you over the next few weeks to help you create a sustainable wellbeing routine. Sign up here to join our community. There will be limited numbers available for our first spring retreat and those on our mailing list will be the first to hear about it.
Next week, Sas will talking about resistance and why it often comes up when we focus on self-care.
Love Lizzie xx