January: Self-care 101

Let’s set the scene: We are three weeks into January and the weather has been grimy. Christmas spending has racked up into debt, the activity of the festive season is over and even the most meaningful of New Year's resolutions are proving difficult to stick to.

Monday 17th January has been labelled Blue Monday, also known as the most depressing day of the year. While yes, it is a day set up as a marketing ploy, yet truthfully, I struggle with the month. I prefer to stay in my burrow (aka my flat) or the quiet of a yoga class than to go out and smash any New Year goals. So, I’m sending you big love if January is not your favourite time of year. 

It's time for some self-care

Take some time for yourself now and listen to how you feel. Place your hands on your belly and allow your breath to become a little deeper and slower, in and out through your nose. Allow yourself to acknowledge how you feel. Listen to what is coming through for you. It is OK to feel however you feel. 

It can be challenging to hold space for our January feels. In a world that promotes 'good vibes only' and 'keep calm and carry on' slogans, our true states can be hidden beneath the noise of trying to maintain a happy face regardless of what is really going on for us.

We are faced with fearful headlines on the daily in the mainstream media, and three years into the COVID situation, it's taking its toll on even the most stoic of people. We are, after all, only human, with wounds and vulnerabilities that we deserve to honour and heal.

Speaking from experience, and hearing the stories of my clients, sometimes the most compassionate thing we can do is to let things fall apart and give ourselves time to heal. We deserve the time and space to take stock of how our body feels as a key to understanding our ever-shifting emotional landscape, no matter the day of the year. However, the so-called Blue Monday can bring mental health into focus and perhaps this day can act as a line in the sand where we look forward into life through the lens of self-care.

I am offering you some sweet, easy-going, tried and tested ideas for self-care so that you can nourish yourself and move through this time of year. Enjoy.

14 ways to practice self-care

  • Express what you need to express regarding how you feel. Talk, rant, make art, journal, punch a pillow. 
  • Share how you feel today with a person who will listen to you without judgement.
  • Seek help with whatever you need help with.
  • Find a therapist if you feel you could do with some extra help.
  • Be in nature. Molecular compounds called Phytoncides, found in trees are proven to help lower human anxiety, boosting the body’s rest and digest response of the parasympathetic nervous system so a walk in nature really does us good. 
  • Take some mindful movement. Movement such as Yoga and Qi Gong can help us process how we feel while helping to reset an overworked sympathetic nervous system (fight, flight or freeze response).
  • Breathe. Softly, calmly in and out of your nose.
  • Honour your boundaries. No is an excellent word and we can say no whenever we want with no further justification.  
  • Rest. Again, so important for the nervous system. Reiki and Yoga Nidrā are my go-to's when I need a proper break. Turn your phone off and enjoy. 
  • Gratitude. Write down three things you are grateful for and really tune in to feel the gratitude in your body.
  • Wear your best/fave outfit. Just because. 
  • Be in contact with your favourite people, in person. We are pack mammals after all!
  • Search for positive news articles. There are whole websites dedicated to this!
  • Change the narrative. If you don’t want to be dragged deep into the Blue Monday doldrums, stay off the newsfeed for a while. 

I am sending you Reiki and warm wishes for a smooth January and 2022. Enjoy your self-care.

Therapy Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Brighton, Sussex, BN3

Written by Sarah Wheeler

Brighton, Sussex, BN3

Sarah Wheeler wants a world where people know they are enough, just as they are. She works as a Reiki Teacher, Yoga Teacher (specialising in Hatha Yoga and Yoga Nidra) and Author. Sarah is the founder of You're Enough Yoga in Brighton and Hove, UK and author of Shadow & Rose: a soulful guide for women recovering from rape and sexual violence.

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