Life is busy! It seems like there is always something (or 10 things) to do. There are obligations at home, from chores to family time; your work requires full attention and can often be stressful; children need a LOT of time and energy! Not to mention attempting to create a "work-life balance" so you can also have time to relax and be with friends. In an attempt to cross everything off of your daily to-do list, sometimes you even skip meals and time at the gym, and cancel fun plans with friends. When life gets as busy as it often does, taking care of yourself is often the very first thing to go. Taking time for self-care while being so busy can seem indulgent and frivolous, but looking after our well-being on all levels will help us to be even more productive and care for other people better.
The biggest issue that often stops people from self-care is commitment and consistency. But of course, committing to a consistent self-care routine is essential to live a healthy and balanced life. But what that routine looks like will be different for everyone. No two people have the same self-care needs, but Ayurveda is set up to accommodate each one of us.
The 5 following commitments to self-care can make a world of difference in supporting a consistent Ayurvedic life.
1. Self-Assessment Using Ayurveda
One of the keys to staying motivated enough to stick to a consistent schedule is checking in with yourself on a daily basis. The practice of self-assessment invites us to come to study our emotions, feel them, and be in the moment. It's important to be honest when evaluating your current state. Here are a few ways to get in touch with yourself.
- Take a 10 minute break from technology and the outside world. Turn the phone on airplane mode. Shut the computer down. Rest on your porch or in your bedroom. You can update your to-do list at another time! Allow the senses to simply rest for at least 10 minutes.
- Pause and find a quiet place. Take 10 slow and steady breaths that go deep into your belly.
2. Know Your Values & Priorities
One of the ways to stay committed to your self-care is by clearly writing down your values. After you have clarified your top priorities and values, it will be easier to stay committed because you know and understand why you are doing what you are doing, making it easier to stay on track. Answer the following questions in writing and keep it somewhere you can read it often, especially when you're feeling discouraged.
- How do I want to feel?
- Why is this feeling important to me?
- What resources do I currently have that can help me feel the way I want to?
Establishing a routine in your daily life is a simple and effective way to find balance in the Doshas and also solidify the beginning of your self-care journey. Finding the right routine for your unique constitution and then maintaining it can be a gateway to a peaceful, healthy life. Products like Triphala Churnam and Brahmi Oil (for abhyanga) can be used on a daily basis to promote consistent health and a calm mind.
3. Rise Above Any Obstacles
Obstacles do occur but they can also be overcome! First, to get past any challenges, it's essential for you to be able to identify the obstacles that are keeping you from taking care of yourself. These may be underlying self-hatred or disorganization. Write all of these limitations clearly down in a notebook so you can create goals to change the way you live. Consider these two basic questions:
- What am I doing that's working?
- What am I doing that isn’t working?
Start taking steps toward incorporating new strategies and tools that will benefit your health and well-being. Work on reducing, and then eliminating, negative coping strategies. If you find yourself using negative strategies, then begin by choosing one action you feel is most harmful and identify a positive strategy to replace it. Keep the helpful tools, and ditch the stuff that doesn’t help you.
4. Build Your Tribe
Sometimes line between taking good care of yourself and not taking good care of yourself can be whether or not you have a strong support system. We’ve all heard the saying, “it takes a village!” A support system of friends and family that help motivate you can make it that much easier for you to take care of yourself in a loving way.
5. Allow Room for Change In What Your Self-Care Looks Like
Your self-care will adapt and change as your life does. What works for you today may not work three months or a year from now. Get curious about the way your mind, heart and body work, and get creative with ways to love yourself. For example, if you try a certain technique and figure out that it’s either not ideal or just not working for you, it’s okay to try something else until you find the routines and practices that are effective. Flexibility is key if you are to stay committed, though don't let Vata Dosha run your life and keep you bouncing from trend to trend - try practices out for at least several months before changing them.
Remember, self-care is not selfish. Self-care prevents burnout and all of the symptoms that come along with that, such as mental illness and physical sickness. Self-care routines, from spending time with friends to practicing abhyanga, to cooking nourishing meals, you give your body and mind time to rest. Self-care ultimately increases your productivity, boosts your energy and leads to a better life!
All views and information shared here is only for the sharing of Ayurvedic knowledge. Please do not try or prescribe or take any of the remedies and suggestions here without talking to your regular, qualified doctor. Kottakkal Ayurveda and no other person associated with Kottakkal is responsible for unwanted side-effects or contraindications in your health.