Recently we had an online conversation that inspired me to reflect on my own life regarding the topic… so I ended up with this long list – I have never gathered it in this way – about things I follow or do for myself.
This blog post in a classic way won’t be too practical (it is not going to be 450 words, 5 bullet points, 1 practical advice towards the end… ) because there will be about 20 bullet points here and most of them practical advice ;-)))
When it comes to self-care, building resilience and managing stress we have to talk about and practice various things: immediate, on the spot usable techniques and habits that we can use in various situations and long term investment into yourself on various levels so you would have a stable foundation where you can use the techniques from.
The two approaches are not an either-or, sometimes they overlap and they help and enhance each other.
The list below is more about the long term investment aspect of the topic: these are the principles I find useful and the things I do on a regular basis to cultivate and strengthen the foundation. And in the spirit of transparency – as I will make comments on some of the things below –, some of them are sometimes more a conscious aim to do and not a constantly lived reality – yet.
In a way it would be nice to embody and do ALL these things consistently… at the same time one aspect of my growing self-acceptance is that I am not beating up myself anymore if there is a day when I just don’t give a sh!t about the whole thing and skip everything and allow myself to be lazy or depressed. I am not afraid of it. I know that I am committed on the long term. Typically my days off are days when I deliberately allow myself to either doing nothing or only doing parts of my daily routines.
(A small but wonderful experience was recently that during one of my morning cold showers – so not BEFORE hen you might have some inner dialogue whether you want to go ahead with the thing or not… – , I allowed myself to change my mind DURING it and simply changed the water temperature to warm as I was having the cold shower and enjoyed the freedom that I can do EVEN that. ;-))) )
It took me some time to arrive to this point and I have to admit that in a way I am still a newbie in the field of “self-love/self-care/self-acceptance”…
… with a continuously growing awareness about what all that means I am only getting more and more committed to walk the talk maybe during the last 2-3 years.
It does not mean that I haven’t done anything kind to/for myself before that… but I did not have the same awareness or clarity about how important that is.
The list below will contain classic activities (meditation, yoga, exercises etc.) and substances (lemon, food supplements etc.) and principles (when to have or not to have screen time).
Some of them I have been practicing on and off during the last 20 or so years (like running and meditation) some of them I only started a few weeks ago (TRE, protein shake).
What I do is that I introduce and apply every principle, practice or substance in my life that I am either sure that it is healthy, will contribute to my self-development and/or I know that there is no major risk in exploring so. If I like it – I keep it. The choice comes through intuition, own experience, conversations, gathering info on the net or from books.
So… without any further ado, I share this list like a menu in the restaurant… maybe you find here something you like and want to try or if you are doing it already it will just give you some confirmation that you are doing cool stuff 😉
- though in a way it is obvious, I will start with the brushing my teeth thing (Kingfisher, fluoride free). The reason to have it at the top of the list is because of the next bullet point: the acidic liquids (see below) interact with the calcium of our teeth so it is not a good idea to do it the other way. If I forget to wash my teeth first thing in the morning then I either only do it in the evening or I wait and do it later the day.
- next thing is to drink a half/whole lemon squeezed into a glass of water (temporarily suspended)
- since March 2020, in view of the pandemic, I replaced the lemon, and I put 1000-2000mg vitamin C (in the form of L-Ascorbic Acid power) into the water (I bought a 1kg pack from Peak Supps); I drink another 1000-2000mg cocktail later the afternoon.
- a 5-HTP pill (Higher Nature)
- an A-Z multivitamin capsule (Peak Supps)
- in view of the RDA I also add a Zinc-Magnesium-B6-Copper capsule (Peak Supps)
- and a vitamin D3 pill (Peak Supps)
- morning exercises – I got them from my chiropractor to improve my posture + push ups
- 2 complete sun salutation sequences
- 10min running around the block
- cold shower before the normal shower
- silent sitting (this week – not the first time in my life… – I made a commitment that I will stick to a dedicated 30-60min time for meditation each day)
- as I went to a workshop earlier, since beginning of April 2020 every second day the above morning routine is replaced by a 30min TRE practice (Trauma Release Exercises – 10-15min for the warming up exercises, 10-15min shaking)
- optionally if I have the time/mood after the morning routine then I play a little bit on my didgeridoo or guitar
- as I do intermittent fasting since over 2 years I skip breakfast (I roughly have a 16/8 or 15/9 rhythm – so ideally I have an 8 hour window when I eat and a 16 hour one when I don’t)
- unfortunately I am not getting on too well with this one 😉 but a la Tim Harris I do my best to delay checking my phone, if all goes well until having lunch (with emails I am on track, SM not really)
- since the end of 2019 I introduced a simple breathing practice: when I exhale, I think of NOW, when I inhale, I think of HERE. By now it started to become a rather nicely conditioned habit, so my breathing is becoming a reminder to be present. Since the last couple of month the focus of my attention is around the gut-tummy area as that is where most of my anxiety and fear based contractions these days seem to be. I do this anywhere and anytime when it appears in my awareness (e.g. on toilet, red light, during massage etc.)
- my diet is in general GF, dairy-free and mostly meat-free. Since February 2020, as an experiment, for a while I decided to cut to zero the nibbling, so no biscuits after lunch and no Haribo even on cheating Saturdays 😉
- mostly somewhere between my lunch and dinner I have a one-serving vegan protein shake (from The Protein Works)
- given the special current circumstances – 24.04.2020. – I wash my hands a lot and have hand gel with me if I have to leave home, and in general I am just simply not really leaving home besides shopping, working (I do part time pizza delivery)…
- … and spending time in nature. Since one of my recent journeys in nature I established some special connection with birds, so I get high rather easily on their singing 😉
- just like in the morning – though, again, especially these days… I am not on the top with this one – I aim not to use electric devices after family dinner (basically screens… apart from reading or rarely watching a movie that is fine)
- some reading before going to sleep (currently: When Plants Dream; True Purpose; DMT the Spirit Molecule)
- at least about yearly I go to a major plant medicine or similar retreat, roughly every 2-3 months I have a medium or just for fun journey
- since about two years I am in a coaching process that had about a year break but now is back on track that aims to find and define my purpose (based on Tim Kelley’s above book and method)
- randomly I am in other therapy or coaching processes (lately a 6x hypnotherapy session process, and another 5x coaching session process finished)
- though it is not obvious, I also consider the various forms of learning as a way of taking care of myself or contributing to my foundations or own evolution. There are longer professional courses (continued training in massage or breath work etc.) or simple stuff like learning a few minutes a day Hawaiian on Duolingo are also part of my habits.
- … and then there are the kind of spontaneous stuff like joy riding my motorbike, playing badminton, participating at the local men’s group meeting or going to an ecstatic dance event that all just lift the spirit no matter what J
I have no vehicle to numerically track down exactly, even applying the model of ceteris paribus – changing one factor at a time -, how exactly the following things improve my overall wellbeing or self-development but this is what I follow and do currently to stay healthy and keep my body-mind system resilient and balanced.
Please let me know your thoughts, especially if you’d like to share another good hint or if you think something above is not quite right. Thank you.
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