14 Day Self-Care Challenge
A lot of people ask me how I manage to keep my shit together on a semi-regular basis. And the fact that they do comes as a mild surprise because in my head, it actually wasn't that long ago that I could quite regularly be found lying in the foetal position, on the kitchen floor, in the middle of the night, wailing because I had just been dumped by my husband of seventeen years!
There is no doubt that this period was one of the LOWEST and CRAPPIEST of my life. And at the start of it, I had zero idea how to get myself out of it. The concept of self-care was about as foreign to me as that of running down the street naked. In my head I was a wife (even though I wasn't) and a mother. And as such my needs came wayyyyy down the list of needs.
Everybody else’s needs HAD to come before mine – this is the way I was brought up and it was a bloody hard habit to break. But, break it I eventually did. Because I had to. Because I was getting pretty damn useless at being a mother – a single mother – whilst in an almost constant state of stress, anxiety and worry.
And, so began the journey of self-care for Shona. Of very deliberately setting aside time for the things that I needed. Of finally realising that I had to refill my own tank before I could be of any real use to anybody else (just like a car).
Anyway, I know my story is not unique. There are a LOT of women – and men – who put themselves last on a daily basis. And that is the inspiration for my 14 DAY SELF-CARE CHALLENGE - to inspire people to finalllyyyyyy start giving a damn about themselves.
Of course, we should all be doing most of these things ALL THE TIME. I thought however that 14 days was a good start to rewire some neural pathways in our brains – to form some new habits which will hopefully last a lifetime. So without further ado – here it is:
Fourteen things you can do – ONE NEW THING EACH DAY – to get you well on the way to some tender lovin’ self-care. Good luck with it. Mwahhhh (virtual kiss).
THE 14 DAY SELF-CARE CHALLENGE
DAY ONE – Write down your worries
Let’s start by doing this. Why? Well, it is very hard to give yourself some tender loving self-care if you’re consumed with everything that’s wrong and needs fixing. There will ALWAYS be worries to deal with. For now, get them OUT of your head and ON to some paper. This will clear your head, allowing you space to get on with the important stuff below
DAY TWO – Write down three things you’re grateful for
Gratitude is a beautiful thing in that it is one way of effortlessly bringing our life back into balance - in finding things to be thankful for, we are able to let go of some of our suffering. Look for three things to be grateful for and write them down. Try to be specific – rather than 'I have great kids' try ‘my son brought me a cup of tea in bed this morning’
DAY THREE – Treat yourself with some wholesome food and sleep
No, this shouldn’t be a treat! Good food and sleep is something we should be doing every day – but let’s be real, most of us don’t. So let’s be good today. NO processed foods and eight (yes – eight!) hours sleep tonight. Calculate your bedtime accordingly. You’ll thank me (and yourself) tomorrow
DAY FOUR – Spend 30 minutes outdoors
Do this! Drag yourself away from the laptop/ kitchen sink/ screaming child/ demanding person and get the hell outside. For thirty minutes minimum. We humans need to be connected to nature A LOT more than we currently are
DAY FIVE – Do something creative or clever
Do you like cooking? Writing? Craft? Spend some time today doing something that you’re good at - or something that you’re not yet great at, but that gives you a sense of satisfaction and joy when you’re doing it
DAY SIX – Spend 10 minutes meditating
No need to do anything formal here – just sit quietly in a comfortable position - eyes closed, muscles relaxed. Start breathing through your nose. Remain focussed on your breathing, and pay no heed to the thoughts as they pass through your mind (you can’t stop them, so don’t try!) Stay in this state for at least 10 minutes. Do this exercise twice today
DAY SEVEN – Learn something useful
Think of something that you’ve been interested in but haven’t had the chance to look into or learn about until now. I love anything to do with spirituality – when I’m feeling stressed I read a few pages of one of the many spiritual books I have that I’ve never looked at (!) Doing this helps me feel that I’m doing something productive and nice for myself
DAY EIGHT – Spend 30 minutes exercising
Walk briskly or jog slowly around the block a few times if this is all that you feel you can handle. The endorphin hit you’ll receive after will make the pain well worth it! Not to mention the physical benefits you’ll be reaping
DAY NINE – Do something FUN
Call up an old friend and arrange a FUN date or just switch off the TV/computer and put on some tunes from your teenage years. Dance and let the endorphins slap you where you can feel it. Fun-time is a time for healing, even if you aren’t consciously aware of this at the time!
DAY TEN – Spend an hour alone
Even if you live alone, you can still benefit from this practise by spending QUALITY time with yourself. This means no cleaning, phone calls or stressing about ANYTHING for an hour. It means sitting in the garden with a cup of coffee, or reading, or painting your nails – whatever makes you feel good
DAY ELEVEN – Wholesome food and sleep day again
Today, we’re doing all of the stuff from Day Three! Your body will thank you for it!
DAY TWELVE – Spend 30 minutes outdoors
We’re repeating Day Four today! Hey, it’s important for your soul’s health!
DAY THIRTEEN - Spend 30 minutes exercising
Get ready again for the endorphin hit you got back on Day eight!
DAY FOURTEEN - Write down three things you’re grateful for
Woohoo! You made it to the end. I’m sending you a virtual high-five! So today, the last day of our challenge is the PERFECT time to revisit the exercise we did in Day Two. Write down as many things as you can that you’re grateful for (you will hopefully come up with a few more things now that you’re pumped full of tender loving self-care!)
Now that you’ve completed all of our lovely self-care exercises, how about trying to make a habit of them? Particularly those that resonate best with you.
To make it easier for you to stick with the challenge (and do it again and again!) I’ve summarised the important bits into a ONE PAGE GUIDE which you can download HERE. Print it up and stick it to your fridge! Or your bathroom mirror!
And just to let you know… I have more strategies, tips and good stuff in my eBook which you can purchase HERE. Excited? Me too!!
Let me know how you found the challenge – or if you have any more awesome self-care strategies to share – in the comments below!
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