Read a book - or a chapter.
There are so many benefits to reading a good book. Not only does it make us smarter, depending on what we are reading it can also flood our brain with uplifting messages, ideas, and concepts.
Research has shown that reading is a great way to relax and overcome stress, and can aid in preventing disease. Reading helps us calm our mind and our body, it encourages us to sit still, to rest and relax.
Reading also encourages us to use our imagination. We can visualise stories and scenes and work those creative muscles. We can open up to new ideas and new possibilities, taking ourselves off to new places.
If we read before bed, it can improve our sleep. Because reading calms our mind and body, it sends signals to the brain to slow down and get ready for a good night's sleep.
Get a good nights sleep with an early bed time.
Sleep is such an essential part of self-care. We sleep to allow our bodies to rest and re-energise, to repair and restore. Without sleep, we are depriving ourselves of one of the most natural wellness functions the body offers.
Sleep allows our brains to consolidate what we have learned in the day, helping our memory perform better the next day. A good night's sleep of around 8 hours means we are less likely to overeat or crave sugary foods. It ensures we are clear in the mind for sharp decision making, concentrating and optimal performance.
Here are some easy steps to set ourselves up for a restorative night's sleep (with young children we are often at their mercy as to if we sleep well or not but lets plan for the best!).
- Go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.
- Movement during the day but preferably not just before going to sleep, unless it's gentle movement like yoga or stretching, to allow the body to cool down.
- Put screens away a few hours before bedtime.
- Dim the lights.
- Have a comfy bed, pillow, and sleepwear.
- Practice mindfulness before sleep to clear the mind.
Sounds so simple huh?! And it really is. Our lives are so busy that often we forgot to breathe in a way that nourishes our body. There are so many benefits in pausing for 5 or 10 minutes in the day and focusing on our breath.
Breathing, focusing on the breath, helps to focus the mind and bring us back to the present moment. And the best thing about the breath is that it is always with us, we don't need any special equipment, space or length of time to benefit from it! Sitting in stillness, following the breath in and out, can relax the mind and body to allow feelings to move through, to help regain control, to allow us to respond rather than react.
There are many different techniques you can try for deep belly breathing. Experiment to find which one works best for you. A lovely simple place to start is to find a quiet space to sit. Take a normal breath and then try a deep breath. Breath in slowly through the nose, feeling the chest and belly rise. Allow your belly to expand, hold the breath for a moment, and then slowly breath out. Try this a few times and see how you feel. If it feels good, try incorporating it into your daily routine.