The greatest gift you can give yourself is a little bit of your own attention.

— Anthony J. D’angelo

I have spent the past 5 years cultivating a self-care practice which has changed my life! I have become more grounded, more positive and more grateful because of it. I am kinder to people, including myself! I am more productive and able to give more to others because I first take care of me.

Beginning this routine, at first, seemed self-righteous and selfish. With all the habits I include currently my practice takes about 2 hours. It took me a long time to dedicate so much time solely to my own health and well-being.

Every day I wake up at about 5:30 am to begin my morning practice. This is when it is still in my very busy house and it is also when I can catch a glimpse of the sun rising out of my kitchen window reminding me of the incredible blessings each new day brings.

Here is what my practice looks like:

Prayers I begin each morning in prayer. I have realized, for me, that recognizing the higher power in my life and accepting my spirituality as my guiding force has lead me to a deep and powerful understanding of my purpose here.

Meditation I sit in meditation each morning for 20 minutes. Presently, I am focusing on my breath, as well as, repeating a Hindu mantra. This practice has brought a peace to my life that I am so grateful for. I have become much more in tune with my body and have felt an exponential positive energy in my life.

Metta Meditation This scripted meditative practice helps me send the positive energy I receive back out into the universe. It is a beautiful and peaceful practice with many physical and emotional benefits. Metta means loving kindness and is a Buddhist practice of meditation that cultivates the heartfelt wish for well being for you and others.

Glass of Lemon Water The first thing I consume in the morning is a warm glass of water with freshly squeezed lemon. I try to be very mindful when drinking this, remembering the blessings of having clean running water, my healthy body and privilege of taking the time to take care of myself.  

Chakra Affirmations I have approximately 30 positive affirmations that I say to myself each day. They are clustered in groups relating to each of my chakras and I include a simple yoga pose as I move through each group of affirmations. This practice has created a sense of balance and has been a key factor in shifting the way I speak to and feel about myself.

Cup of tea I love tea! I used to drink 5 or 6 cups of black tea a day. But I have had to limit myself to 1 cup of caffeinated tea recently. I make this cup(in a really big mug) each morning and truly savour it! I include it as part of my practice to remind me that I must enjoy what I love but also be moderate and healthy in my choices.

Gratitude Journal I have two journals which I write in daily. I always begin my writing in my gratitude journal. I write a page worth of things, people, events that occurred the day before that I am thankful for. This practice has completely shifted my perspective. I have learned to be grateful for challenges as well as joyful moments. It has allowed me to see just how much there is to be grateful for in my everyday life.

Journal This journal is where I write about what is happening in my life, where I work out problems I am facing and where I celebrate my wonderful life. I try to be very honest with myself and to write without thinking about what I am writing too much. I find this self-reflective practice to be a great tool for me. It has calmed me down. It has helped me look at things from other people’s perspectives. It has helped me acknowledge all the healthy and healing choices I have made.

Work out This January I added the next 2 habits as part of my intention to shift towards having a more positive body image and physical health. I have been working out for the past 8 weeks, 5 days a week. I have been inconsistent a few times but have practiced being kind to myself when I don’t succeed. As well, I feel really strong and very energized by the internal motivation I have tapped into.

Blended Fruit/Veggie Drink As part of this new health habit I bought myself a blender and have made myself a fruit and vegetable drink each morning before I eat breakfast. I love the crazy colours the different combinations create…and I have only made two that have been hard to swallow! They have energized me, made me feel healthier and helped me to make better, more conscious food choices as the day goes on.

As I mentioned, this all takes about 1-1/2 hours to 2 hours. Sometimes, because of other commitments, I have to shift some of my habits to other times of the day. Sometimes, when I am tired or not at home or something unpredictable happens, I cannot complete them all.

When this happens I truly feel the effects of not fully caring for myself first. I am not as calm or grounded. I am more impatient, more stressed and I have so much less energy.

I have learned that investing this time spent on self-care fills my internal tank up and then I am able to give so much more to others.

I recommend beginning your own daily self-care practice. Start with one habit and work your way up to as many as you need to feel rejuvenated, fueled and full of love for yourself!

I would love to hear from you about your daily practice. What self-care habits do you have in place? Do you have questions about how to choose the best habit to begin with or make time in your schedule for yourself? Please contact me at karla@kslifecoach.com.