I find New Year and my birthday (which is conveniently in the summer, so they are well spaced!) good times to reflect on my life and particularly my self-care routine. Unlike traditional New Year’s Resolutions, I like to use this time to be gentle with myself. This year I am eating more healthily (a good opportunity to reduce plastic use too) and getting more exercise. I am aware this looks like a standard ‘loose weight, get fit’ resolution but my aim is to reduce stress, enjoy cooking and review how I talk to myself (in my head!).
A few years ago I worked really hard to change my self-talk. I tried to observe how I related to myself and what it did to my emotions. It took a lot of practice but eventually I got to a point where if, for example, I said something silly, instead of thinking ‘I’m such an idiot’ and feeling awful about it, I would think, ‘That was embarrassing, but everyone makes mistakes’. It really made a massive difference for me. Over the last few months I’ve been quite stressed, and I’ve noticed some of the old habits creeping back in.
Because of this I have been strict about what I have signed up to this year. There are so many exciting movements to be part of, but I want to give myself space to evolve without feeling guilty if I mess up. So, I have limited myself to a 30-day yoga journey. So far I haven’t missed a practice and I am finding it useful as a daily reminder of my journey to self-kindness. A frequent saying of my yoga teacher is ‘set yourself up for greatness’. For me that means allowing myself to fail and reminding myself that it’s part of being human.
While my ultimate aim is to get back to a healthy rhythm regarding self-care, there have been additional advantages of establishing a more sustainable lifestyle and reconnecting with aspects of my faith which are closely linked to my sense of self. I love engaging with these benefits, but I am trying not to force anything and allow them to grow out of re-committing to myself. A friend also reminded me of the importance of gratitude; not to rush into the new year looking for a new start but to also positively reflect on last year.
Self-compassion by Kristin Neff is a book I refer back to when I notice critical attitudes to myself creeping up.
Yoga with Adriene - https://yogawithadriene.com/
Written by Helena Ripley, and SCM Member in Lancaster.