Taking the time for self-care
If there is something that I have noticed above anything since becoming a hypnotherapist is that relaxation has been a big issue for those I have worked with. It appears our lives today are so busy that we have forgotten to take care of ourselves and take a little time to relax our minds and bodies. Whether it is a busy work life or you are running around doing your best for your children or juggling both along with an attempt at a social life, it can all be non-stop and, for lots of us, stressful.
There are few I have worked with who didn’t say something along the lines of, “I never find time to relax”, or “I don’t know how to relax” and so it is little wonder that the stress levels of society in general are increasing However, at the same time unless you have a time machine, it can feel like making time to relax is going to be impossible.
When I think back to my training and doing practical group work or individual sessions I remember sitting down and closing my eyes wondering what on earth i do now in order to relax. I have 2 psychology post graduate degrees and worked exceptionally hard in order to achieve them but my hypnotherapy training was the first time that I actually had to question myself and realise things about myself that I hadn’t even considered before. The truth was that I literally had no idea how to relax and I realised that I never did anything to even attempt to relax. I was always on the go both physically and mentally so no wonder I felt drained a lot of the time. My mind felt like the equivalent of a hamster running on a wheel, always having to keep going to get things done. I’m sure I won’t be alone feeling this way.
The turning point in my own self-care were my sessions with other therapists. With the help of hypnotherapy I was able to take some time out and the hypnosis itself thoroughly relaxed my body first but importantly I learned to relax my mind. Let the hamster get off the wheel for a while! It was a freedom I never knew even existed, I didn’t know that this is what hypnosis can do and that I can do this. My mind was free to wander in the calmest state I had ever achieved and it felt like a weight had been lifted from me. Afterwards my mind was so refreshed I could focus much better.
My particular training required an amount of practice hours throughout but it transpired that I learned so much more than I expected. I had expected to learn more about therapeutic techniques but found that in addition to this I learned how to take care of myself. I learned how, by taking just a short time out and practicing self-hypnosis, I can feel physically and mentally much more calm, as opposed to the frantic 100 mph life seemed at times. I am no less busy now with my own practice to run but I have learned skills that mean taking control of my own mental wellbeing and feeling much more able to tackle daily life.
There are lots of methods you can use in order to practice a little self-care and it can be fairly simple and doesn’t need to be time consuming. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Deep breathing
This is as simple as closing your eyes and taking a deep breath and holding it for a few seconds before exhaling and repeating, doing so at your own pace. If you are particularly anxious or stressed it may seem difficult but persevere, as this will benefit you greatly. Taking a few minutes to practice this can make a huge difference to your wellbeing and you will surely notice how your breathing becomes progressively steadier and you feel less stressed.
2. Keep a calendar or diary
This is especially useful if you have lots to remember, such as appointments and birthdays. Keep a diary or a calendar of some sort so you can write things down and go back to them at a more suitable time. This works best of course if writing it down then frees up your mind to focus on other things. You don’t need to forget about it, just let the calendar or diary keep it safe until a more appropriate time when it can be dealt with.
3. Keep a diary
This works similarly as keeping a diary or calendar but can allow you to write down your feelings and thoughts, which many find a therapeutic process. Combining this with organising any appointments in a calendar may be very useful in organising your daily life thus reducing some stress.
4. Adult colouring books
This is a widespread craze at the moment but for good reason. On the surface you may laugh and think that it is just colouring, how can this possibly help, colouring is for children. Yes children can get benefits from colouring but in different ways to adults. Using a colouring book as an adult can serve to focus your attention on this rather than whatever was on your mind before. Sitting down and picking your favourite pattern or picture in the book, deciding which colour goes where all serves to give your conscious mind a break from everything that was causing you stress. Giving your mind a break is what this is all about but there is no reason why you can’t get enjoyment out of it just as a child would.
5. Take some exercise
This may seem like an obvious recommendation but I have mentioned it since it is so effective. Doing something as simple as going for a walk can increase the feel good chemicals in our brains and reduce our mental stress in addition to the obvious physical benefits of exercise. Getting outside in the fresh air means we can be free of things such as our televisions, phones (if you leave it at home that is!) and other technology which distracts us. Take a break and enjoy some time being outside in the fresh air, it can serve as a nice mental break as you take care of your physical and mental wellbeing.
Of course these are just general suggestions and there are many other ideas you can try to find what suits you best.
You don’t need to go on a spa weekend or holiday in order to unwind or just relax a little. In fact these would only be temporary solutions anyway.
Holidays and breaks are wonderful but it is far more useful to think long term and find methods which help you to take good care of yourself and learn what relaxation is.
It may be alien to you at first and it may not feel like it comes naturally but if you give one of these methods, or one of your own, a try and persevere then you will feel the benefits and be glad that you took that time to invest in yourself and realise that you are worth taking care of.