‘The in-between is mine
I am mine’ (Pearl Jam)
by See Change Ambassador, Eamonn Moloney
So, it’s January, a New Year and a chance to focus on yourself. A chance to check in on your self-care plan and how you look after you.
First thing to note, please remember that self-care is not selfish, remember airlines tell us in an emergency to put our mask on ourselves first before helping others. The second is little changes done often can make a big difference.
My plan is always changing, constantly adding in new things helps to keep it fresh and adaptable to life changes. It helps me to keep learning. It doesn’t matter what age you are, by constantly keeping your mind open to new ideas, methods and learning from others you can keep growing. I keep new ideas on a whiteboard to remind myself .
There are a few foundation blocks that I make sure I do daily so that I never stray far from my plan (there are times which test these, so they are vital).
- Cold Showers – the first thing in the morning I have a cold shower. For me, this is key to my morning as it wakes the body up and I can practice my breathwork during the shower (combined they help ground you for the day ahead).
- Have breakfast before you leave the house – For me it’s a pint of water, porridge and coffee. For years I didn’t eat breakfast, and this had a major effect on my mental and physical health as I would end up eating more during the day.
- Exercise daily – I try and fit in some form of exercise during the day. It can be a walk at lunch time, a cycle in the evening, a short hike or a gym session. I have fallen in love with sea swimming in the last couple of years and it really has made a huge impact to my mental and physical health. Check out Blue Mind by Wallace J Nicholls or Saltwater in the Blood by Easkey Britton and clairewalshlife.com. Try something different and mix up your exercises and routes if you can, to keep it interesting. Set yourself some achievable goals, write them down and see how you get on.
- Immersing in Nature – I live for sunrises and sunsets, forest walks, mountain hikes, full moon swims, watching wildlife and try to engage all my senses when I am out. I take lots of photos which is basically a lazy way of doing a diary but also of capturing magical moments.
- Quick helps – Write down simple quotes or sayings that you can use to help bring you back into the present. I have a few on a whiteboard that I use. ‘Green Lights’, ‘flip the switch’ and ‘just breathe’.
These are the building blocks for my plan but there are so many other facets that I include which crossover with these to help me get through each day. Hopefully these will give you some ideas for your own plan.
- Reading books – find subjects that you are interested in and get lost in the pages. You can easily disappear for an hour in a good book.
- Music and Podcasts – since I was a kid, music has always been a go to for me. Podcasts are like your own private radio station. You can always find something interesting to listen to.
- Sleep – I try to make sure I am in bed by 11pm and I wake every morning just before 6am.
- Avoid toxicity – you owe it to yourself to remove toxic people, places and things from your life. This is your life, and you don’t need the extra stress and tension that these bring. Sundays used to be an extremely toxic day for me because of the jobs that I worked. I would stay in bed late to avoid getting up and my mind and body would be wired to the dread of Monday morning. Now, my Sundays are for family and for swimming, walks, coffee and chats.
- Volunteer/Find your Tribe – get involved with a group or cause that you are particularly interested in; it helps others but also it helps you as you can meet like-minded people. Through my volunteering I have worked with First Fortnight Arts Festival (which led to See Change), Jumpers For Goalposts (which led to 20-4-21). I have met so many brilliant people that are now best friends and I have learned so much during this time. Surrounding yourself with good people makes life a lot better.
Making time for your self-care is really important. Find the things that give you the space to be you. Find the spaces in your day or week and prioritise them for yourself, give yourself space to breathe, rest and reset if necessary.
You do not owe anyone an explanation for doing what is best for you.
If you are having a tough time at the moment and need to reach out for support, please contact any of the following