Self-Care Tips for Summer
International Self-Care Day, created by the International Self-Care Foundation with the aim of promoting self-care as a vital foundation for health, falls on 24 July. Here at Noble Isle, we love author and psychologist Suzy Reading’s practical and effective self-care books and the tips she shares on Instagram. Suzy recommends thinking of self-care as healthcare. Here we’ve gathered some advice from Suzy to inspire you to cultivate a healthier, happier you this summer.
The Art of Rest
Think of rest as energy management. Suzy recommends not waiting until everything is “done” to take time for you, working on the principle that we don’t need to earn the right to nourish ourselves. Rest doesn’t have to mean lying in stillness – why not make a list of things that help you feel relaxed and replenished and keep it close by? Perhaps it’s time in nature, gentle movement such as slow, flowing yoga or swimming, following a guided meditation, reading, or taking a moment to be with your breath – it could even be just taking a pause to closely observe the world around you.
Re-Frame Your Self-Image
“If it’s too hard to love your body, begin with respect and tenderness. You can do that,” says Suzy, encouraging us to show our bodies the same respect we show to others. Her advice forms a great starting point to begin to work on your self-image. Heat, hormonal changes and anxiety can all impact on our sleep and often tiredness brings a cascade of negative thoughts. Suzy urges us to question: “Maybe you don’t need to drop a dress size, maybe you just need an early night?”
Wake Feeling More Refreshed
Longer summer days and hotter nights can leave us struggling to sleep. Taking moments to relax throughout the day soothes the nervous system, making it easier to wind down when it comes to bedtime. Having a regular bedtime routine has also been shown to aid sleep – Suzy’s suggestions to finish your day on a positive note include putting on some PJ’s you love, introducing a favourite calming scent, listening to or reading something soothing, some yoga stretches or journaling. Getting to know your body clock is also key – most of us need between seven and nine hours of sleep a night, so take note of your own needs and then set yourself up for success!
Feeling Is Healing
Suzy urges us to banish “should” when it comes to our emotions. Emotions in all the colours of the rainbow are normal and natural. So instead of ignoring and suppressing how you are feeling, try to recognise, express, validate, name and permit your emotions. And if an emotion feel too heavy, it’s ok to take a break. Suzy explains: “healthy distractions are key, engaging your mind but also soothing your nervous system and topping up your energy bank”. Examples include gently moving your body, watching a bird in flight, green gazing, focusing on the cloudscape, listening to music or stroking a pet.
Replace “To Do” with “What Got Done”
Goal-setting can be powerful but reflecting on and celebrating your achievements can be just as potent for motivation and important to your health and wellbeing. Sitting down to acknowledge what she’s achieved is one of Suzy’s favourite self-care activities. Here’s a list of questions from Suzy to get you started:
- What events have unfolded recently and how did you navigate them?
- What have you learnt about yourself and other family members, or your work, your colleagues, or about the world in general?
- How have you grown?
- What skills or strengths have you drawn on?
- What’s gone well? Please let your mind sift over the big and the small stuff – they’ll accumulate and fill you with light and life.
Five Minute Self-Care Routine
If you’re short on time, why not try these ideas from the experts, and take a note of how you feel afterwards:
- Put your hand on your heart and start the day with saying to yourself, “good morning, I love you”. Shauna Shapiro
- Text a picture of a happy memory to a friend. Suzy Reading
- Give yourself or someone else a 20-second bear hug. Emily and Amelia Nagoski
- When your head hits the pillow at night, think of one thing you are grateful for. BJ Fogg