Nurture yourself - my 5 self care tips for cancer season.

Nurture yourself - my 5 self care tips for cancer season.

Burn out is more and more common and so many of us just want to give and we forget about ourselves. As a new Yoga Teacher (7 years ago!) I wanted to share my love of the practice that brought me so much inner calm, relaxation and strength. Yet as demand grew I actually sacrificed my own practice to be able to give more to those asking for more classes.

At first it was amazing that so many people wanted to practice with me - hi ego! but in time I burnt out and didn’t enjoy what I was teaching - how could I when I wasn’t practicing myself, yet so many Yoga Teachers do this!

So how did I fall back in love with Yoga?

Self care tip number 1:

Make a date with yourself

Seriously make a date with yourself! Write it in your diary or put it into the calendar on your phone - which is great as you get a reminder if you set an alert to ping up on your screen!

If you make time in your day that you have scheduled in your diary then stick to it, that is just as important as a meeting at work, going food shopping, even booking a holiday. However how many times have you told yourself you have more important things to do?

One of my favourite sayings is - ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’ and this is the fastest way to burn out. Give yourself that time whether its 10 minutes, an hour, an afternoon, a day or even a weekend and stick to it.

You can do whatever you want that is just for you - Yoga practice, meditation practice, walk the dogs, soak in the bath, read a book in the garden, a yoga workshop, a weekend yoga retreat.

Open your diary or your calendar in your phone RIGHT NOW and make a date with yourself. Choose a time that works for you and start giving back to yourself. Make sure you stick to it.

Self care tip number 2:

Set boundaries

Allow yourself to say no to things you really don’t want to do, or say yes to things that scare you. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve wanted to say no to doing something and had a really crappy time and then there are things I’ve wanted to do and let fear creep in and miss out.

Setting boundaries is a healthy way to look after yourself, give yourself time and permission to say - ‘I’ll get back to you about that’ and then go back to self care tip number 1 - make a date in the diary to make up your mind and to get back to that person. Whether its to do with work, family or friends you need to have boundaries.

If you are always saying yes and know in your mind or your gut that its a no then tell them thank you but I’m not interested or can’t do that as I don’t have time in my schedule to do X, Y or Z. Or the big one for me, saying yes to something when its time for me - i.e giving up my Yoga practice to teach instead or run an errand that could be done by someone else or at another time. Being honest doesn’t have to mean being rude and in time you will be grateful that you have turned down things you would normally say yes to as it’ll make time for activities you want to partake in.

If you are always saying no now is the time to reflect on why. Is it based on fear? Of not being enough or having enough to give? This is a big one during cancer season as its super easy to stay within our shells and not experience the world. Now is the time to set boundaries with yourself to meditate, reflect, journal on this. I also highly recommend reading the book ‘Year of Yes’ by Shona Rhimes.

Self care tip number 3:

Have someone you can talk to

You can’t just talk to yourself (or the wall Shirley Valentine fans out there!) you need to have a support group whether that’s one person or a group of people that you know you can talk to. You may decide to see a professional that will be completely impartial that allows you to get things off your chest and allow for mental clarity.

Go back to self care tip number 1 and this time set a date with friends you can meet up with and have a chat, open messenger and send a friend a message and see how they are doing, or book an appointment with a therapist - remember this is super healthy. Just like seeing our GP when something is wrong physically we also need to speak to someone when we may feel off mentally too.

It can be really easy to get caught up within our own thoughts that we lose sight of our goals, we lose focus and talk ourselves into or out of things. Speaking to a counsellor or therapist can help us make sense of an issue from the past, clear our thought patterns, allow for deeper and more restful sleep.

The sign of Cancer is all about feeling into our emotions, its why its a water sign, we all have waves of emotions, low and high points. In Buddhism it is believed we become enlightened beings when we are one with all emotions, however how many times have you suppressed an emotion? - especially anger or sadness. Speaking to someone, whether a friend or professional allows you to express your emotions, feel the emotion without allowing the emotion to overrule you. This gives space to witness and then release the emotions. Emotions can then become a source of wisdom and compassion rather than something to ignore.

Self care tip number 4:

Listen to your body

I say this so many times during a Yoga class. Yes I may be teaching the class but you know your body better than I or any other teacher does. This tip also brings us back to self care tip number 2 - setting boundaries.

Listening to your body, whether that’s your mind, your gut, your heart or your hamstrings! Your body is trying to talk to you but how often do you listen? Set boundaries when you need to rest, say no to the adjustment if you don’t wish to be moved deeper into a pose, don't push or force yourself into a pose or practice especially if you have an injury.

As you are reading this pause, wherever you are and just be with your body and listen. How is your body feeling right now? Check in, say hello. Listen to your breath, your heartbeat, your stomach rumbling!

If your body is asking for rest then rest and enjoy it. If your body has been sat for the majority of the day and it needs to move then move it! Come to Yoga, roll out your mat at home and practice one of my practices available on my YouTube channel, go for a walk, a run or a swim!

Self care tip number 5:

LAUGH :)

Yup laughter is the best medicine, but how many times a day do you laugh?

From a quick google search apparently children laugh around 300 times a day yet as adults the numbers were coming in as low as 17!!!

I can remember a conversation I had with someone in a supermarket, I was at the checkout and the member of staff asked if I had been to a Yoga class - I had just come from the studio and was in yoga leggings and a top. So I told her I had just finished teaching and she asked the strangest of questions - are people allowed to laugh in your class? I laughed and said of course but why ask…she had been asked to leave a Yoga class because she laughed too much! Now I know Yoga comes from a serious place of practice BUT I love to hear laughter in my classes. I often step out of the room as people arrive at the studio and I love hearing the chatter and laughter as people arrive. Listening to the community forming as people come together to roll out their mats and move their bodies.

I’m one of those Yoga Teachers that says silly things, whether I mean to or not and they get a giggle. Its one of the reasons I loved teaching the Goat Yoga classes 2 years ago, Yoga brought people together and there were so many smiles and giggles that my face ached after class!

Perhaps you have a Laughter Yoga class nearby that you can go to, or just pop on a movie or a show of your favourite comedian and enjoy the giggles. Or come back to self care tip number 1 - make a date in your diary to go see a stand up show or see your friends and have a laugh about things of the past that still make you smile.

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The Astro Yogi )0(

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