“If I am not good to myself, how can I expect anyone else to be good to me?” – Maya Angelou
You may recall that a while back I shared a blog post with some fun and insightful Sensitivity and Self-Compassion Quizzes. I have done a lot of my own inner work on these topics over the past few years, and through that work have come to realize how I have not been doing a particularly good job of being loving toward myself. As I share in my Stop Sabotaging Your Self-Care self-paced course, when it was first brought to my attention by my spiritual counselor, I brushed his observation aside, thinking it really didn’t apply to me. But the more I thought about it, watched how I responded to situations, and treated myself, the more I realized that maybe he had a point. The unfortunate truth is that many of us do not treat ourselves very lovingly, and it’s usually because we’re not even conscious of what we’re doing. So how do we become more loving towards ourselves?
Contrary to popular belief, true self-care involves way more than lighting candles and sipping a glass of wine in your bubble bath while listening to your favorite playlist. As I teach in my above-mentioned self-care course, it involves things like examining the obstacles and beliefs that stand in the way of you taking better care of yourself, cultivating greater awareness around your self-care needs, and learning tools that will make new self-care habits stick. AKA, it involves a little work. But for this post today, I want to address just a few tangible things you can do to create a morning self-care routine. Why morning? Because, as Louise Hay once said, “How you start your day is often how you live your life.” If you’re anything like I used to be, you think you don’t have room in your morning schedule for self-care. You’re up, moving as efficiently as possible, entering the rat race, and already feeling stressed out by 8:30am. This sets the tone for the rest of your day. Stop! Is this how you really want to feel?
Instead, set the tone for your day on your terms, by doing something that nourishes you. Here are 5 quick and simple things I do to nourish myself and start my day on my own terms:
A while back I increased my meditation time from 20 to 40 minutes a day. I found that it was hard to carve out that time during the day so I started doing it in the morning, right after I wake up. An extra benefit of this is that sometimes – not always – my busy mind hasn’t switched into full-gear yet so I can experience those moments of clarity a little easier.
If I didn’t do it the night before, I also take a moment during my meditation practice to think of 3 things I was grateful for the previous day. Research shows that practicing gratitude cultivates positivity and resiliency.
3. ‘Coffee and reading time’
Slow mornings are an absolute necessity for me and my fellow HSPs (Highly Sensitive People), and this is one of my non-negotiable ways to ease into my day. I take at least 30 minutes (and more if I can swing it) to drink a cup of coffee and do some reading. It should preferably be something inspirational or light-hearted, not the daily news or social media.
4. Get outside
Going out for a 20-minute walk in the morning as early as possible after you get up helps your body wake up and gives you more energy throughout the day. It also gives you some Vitamin D that we in this part of the northern hemisphere definitely don’t get enough of during the winter.
5. Healthy breakfast, water and supplements
Speaking of Vitamin D…I have taken supplements in the morning for years (more on this in future posts), always washed down with a tall glass of water to start hydrating my body, and followed by a healthy breakfast that consists of protein, good fats and fiber. (My personal winter breakfast of choice is typically oatmeal with frozen berries, walnuts, flax seeds, etc. and a piece of muti-grain toast with peanut butter. In the summer I often have homemade granola with pea protein milk and/or some variety of green protein smoothie.)
All of these things will allow you to ‘fill your tank,’ in the morning, and set a positive tone for your day. Even doing just one of them on its own would be a great way to start giving yourself more self-love. Deciding you’re worthy of that love is the hardest part though. You need to do your inner work to make these habits stick. You need to change your beliefs, your consciousness. Once you do that, it’s easy to give yourself self-love, and I know that you will feel a million times better when you do.
If you are ready to do YOUR inner work, my Stop Sabotaging Your Self-Care self-paced course is a great place to start! My intention with this course is to empower you to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are worthy of feeling good, that you deserve what you want for yourself, and that you can make simple changes everyday that help you thrive instead of just survive.