You’ve been reading fantastic articles about self-care during this month-long Homage to Self-Care.
You learned about different methods of practicing radical self-care.
[pullquote]“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person’s physical, emotional and mental states.” – Carol Welch[/pullquote]
You realized you could be selfish.
Now you’re inspired enough to start a love affair with yourself. And the first step of that love affair is resolving to make self-care a deep-rooted habit.
- How long will it take for you to be able to say that self-care is a part of your daily life?
- When will you be able to feel the joy and comfort of having attended the needs of your mind, body and soul?
You must have heard that it takes 28 or 30 days to form a habit, but let me tell you that it’s not true.
66 Days in a Row
According to a recent research reported in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes 66 days on average for a healthy resolution to become an enduring habit.
This means, unless you commit to taking better care of yourself for 66 days in a row, self-care will not a become a part of your life.
It will sit there in the air just as an idea you cherish and be excited about from time to time whenever something makes you realize how much you need to care for yourself.
It will remain as a “should” or a “must” but it will never be a soothing and healing part of your daily life. Thus, your love affair with yourself will be nothing but a one-night stand.
You don’t want that, do you?
So, I’m here to challenge you to commit to a 66-day program.
Will you join me? If you do, the rewards will be terrific and you will have formed a powerful habit of daily self-care!
You can’t cut your well-being out of any part of your life, including your business. So, it’s about time you (and I) started working on this long-neglected relationship.
[pullquote]“Motivation is not a matter of will-power, it is a matter of want-power.” – Paul Karasik[/pullquote]
But Be Careful About Your Motivators
Self-care should not stem from fear or blind ambition. It’s true that when you take better care of yourself, you become healthier, slimmer and more beautiful. But you should accept these delights only as the natural byproducts of self-care and not consider them the sole goal of your efforts.
In other words, commit to taking better care of yourself chiefly because you love yourself and you know you deserve that kindness.
Your Free 66-Day Self-Care Program
Each week of your 66-day self-care program includes a writing/journaling exercise, breathing and fitness exercises, meditation and/or yoga and another activity that will strengthen your relationship with your body.
Some of these exercises are intended to raise your awareness about your body and the way you perceive your relationship to it. And others are closely related to your past and your emotions. They aim to help you recycle your emotions and use them to deepen your circle of understanding, empathy and care toward both you and other people.
This is crucial because self-care cannot be reduced to caring for your physical body only. Your body has its reflections on emotional, mental and spiritual levels, which are all interconnected.
Therefore, an old and forgotten memory of a hurt can emerge in your life in the form of a back pain. A deep resentment that has remained unexpressed can give you a recurring throat ache. Your fears about your future may cause your legs and feet to ache.
On the other hand, a simple act of true forgiveness may work miracles for your body just as a daily dose of yoga or stretching does. Or understanding your fears about the future may bring along a breeze of wellness to your entire life. And writing is an excellent way of instigating such inner processes.
Be sure to use an old-fashioned notebook and a pen for your writing exercises instead of your computer.
The idea is to learn to breathe through your diaphragm. Even simple breathing exercises will increase your overall energy and well-being. You can alternate between different breathing exercises that oxygenate the blood, stimulate the lungs and balance the negative and positive energies.
The basic meditation routine includes the following steps. But also keep in mind that the simplest form of meditation just requires sitting quietly with your eyes closed and listening to what is going on inside of you.
- Sit down in the lotus position or in any other position that’s comfortable for you.
- Shut your eyes.
- Relax your jaw and your eyelids.
- Gently let your shoulders drop.
- Relax your back and let the cushion or chair support you.
- Close your mouth.
- Breathe through your nose and pull the air to the back of your throat.
- Relax your chest and your shoulders.
- Breathe slowly and gently.
- Repeat this twelve times.
- Keep your eyes shut and bring your attention to your body.
- Observe any sensations such as itches, twitches or a burst of energy.
- Observe your mind. If your mind has drifted away, sweetly bring it back to the physical sensations again.
- Observe if there are any restful or relaxed places in your body.
- Then focus on your eyes, ears, tongue, and nose respectively.
- Open your eyes very slowly and bring your attention to your surroundings.
Keep in mind that meditation works best when you don’t approach it too formally. See it as a simple, pleasant practice or as the time you take to sit down, relax and listen to yourself.
If you want to learn more about meditating, visit Susan Piver’s site. She offers various videos on meditation and gracefully teaches simple and practical meditation techniques you can apply every day.
The two postures I recommend for this 66-day practice are Savasana and Surya Namaskar.
Savasana, the Corpse Posture, relaxes your body and mind at a deeper level, reduces blood pressure and transfers energy to your spine and internal organs.
- Turn off your phone, and set a timer in case you fall asleep.
- Lie on your back on the floor or on a yoga mat with your legs stretched out, your heels together, your toes apart, your arms by your side, and your shoulders flat.
- Relax your hands and turn your palms upward.
- Close your eyes. Let the gaze of your eyes be softly cast downward toward your chest.
- Breathe deeply and slowly while gradually reducing the depth of your breathing.
- Notice how your mind starts following your breath.
- Picture and mentally relax your toes, ankles, thighs, bottom, navel, chest, neck, lips, and the tip of your nose one by one.
- Notice how your legs feel as heavy as two tree trunks.
- Relax your eyelids.
- Relax your jaw, let your tongue fall back, and relax your throat.
- If your mind is drifting away, gently bring it back to your breath.
- Gaze upward with your eyes still closed, and focus your attention on the spot between your eyebrows. Now slowly let yourself
- forget your body and feel how it merges with the space around you. Feel the peace and calm cushioning you.
- Stay like that as long as you want. When you’re ready to stop, gently wiggle your toes and your fingertips. Open your eyes slowly.
- Stretch, tense and relax your whole body before standing up.
You might fall asleep during Savasana the first few times if your body is really tired.
The Sun Salutation:
Surya Namaskar, the Sun Salutation, is usually performed early in the morning and is perfect for energizing the entire body. This sequence of eight postures is practiced in sets of five, but begin with two sets and then gradually increase the number of sets to perform. Synchronize your breath with the movements of your body. If you already know how to do yoga, you’re definitely free to replace the Sun Salutation with different sequences.
You can find two good videos that teach this sequence here and here.
You can find a sample sequence here.
In addition, please try to do the following every single day!
- limit your daily consumption of coffee , alcohol, salt, sugar, spices, fried food, and fat,
- drink at least 10 glasses of water,
- eat less and ‘undereat’ (stop eating before you feel full),
- eat less meat and more fresh vegetables and fruits,
- sleep for at least 7 hours,
- stand up and move for 5 minutes after every half hour of work in front of a computer
“When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bounds: Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction and you find yourself in new, great and wonderful world.” – Patanjali
Download and print the free workbook at the end of this post. Review it each night before you go to sleep so that you mentally prepare yourself for the next day’s self-care.
If you skip a day, don’t worry and don’t make a big deal out of it. Just move on, and do what you have to do the following day. Most importantly, enjoy what you’re doing. You’re starting to take good care of yourself like you’ve always wanted to.
What can be more exciting!
Click to download C.A.’s 66 day workbook that will help you make self-care an indispensable part of your life.
Note from Sandi:
This is a bold invitation to join C.A. and I in committing to 66 days that will change your life. If you’re up for it (and I know you are), leave us a comment below telling us why this is important to you.
For example, I want to feel so good by my next birthday that I can dance the night away in celebration! I want to feel that energized and alive in my skin and I’d love for you to join me.
C.A. and I will be starting the 66 day count on Monday, Oct. 31, 2011. On the 67th day, Thursday, January 5, 2012 we’ll come together to share and celebrate!
This is an opportunity to be the change in your own life with the support of a community.
Join us and be part of the transformation!
p.s. Remember to download your copy of the 66 day workbook!