You can’t pour from an empty cup
Life is busy and it’s easy to override the signs that we need to stop and recharge. But when we do pause, there’s the clamour of thoughts about what we SHOULD do, MUST do NOW. If you work in a caring profession or have caring responsibilities, it can be particularly hard to switch off.
That’s why practising regular yoga and meditation can be so helpful. For a few minutes a day (how long do you spend checking your phone for updates?!), we choose to focus just on the breath and body sensations. This anchors us in the present moment over and over again – you can only experience a physical sensation as it happens! With guidance, this practice of noticing then letting go of emotions, thoughts and impulses helps take the urgency out the situation. It’s a chance to feel grounded again – less overwhelmed, more in control.
It’s not just yoga and mindfulness that provide a breathing space and fresh perspective. A walk in nature, listening to your favourite music, a soak in the tub, some quiet time with your favourite hobby – these are all excellent self-care tonics!
Once you feel less stressed, you’re more able to notice the pressures on those around you and be more compassionate. It’s a virtuous circle and everyone benefits. With austerity measures impacting hard on lots of people, we need to look after ourselves first so we can continue to help others. It’s certainly NOT selfish. It’s common sense. Remember the airline cabin staff advice – fit your own emergency air supply first before you attend to anyone else!