I don’t know about you, but life seems to speed by like The Flash when he’s running late, and I can sometimes find myself feeling weary, tired, unenergetic, and basically like a human version of the month of January! My soul has become exhausted and neglected. In those moments, I need to take some time out to allow myself a moment of refreshment. I think it can be very easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of life and forget that self-care is very real and very important. If we don’t take regular moments to step away from the busy, then we find ourselves burnt out and unable to keep our heads above the water.
I googled “things that refresh your soul” and I got a whole heap of helpful hints and tips, and I thought that I would share some of my favourite with you. So, if you are feeling in a bit of a slump, physically, mentally, spiritually, perhaps try one of these things below.
- Stretch. For some people, starting their day with a good stretch of their whole body is enough to re-energise their mind and their soul. I find that a quick stretch every now and then during work hours can help give me the push to keep going during that mid-morning/nearly lunch time slump. It gets my eyes away from the screen, my fingers off the keyboard, and my bottom out of my seat!
- Reading the bible. The bible is full of words of wisdom and encouragement. And the best bit is, you can do it at any time of the day. Whatever works for you. If you don’t know where to begin, perhaps start with your favourite verses, or the Psalms. You can even buy a “Bible in a Year” bible, which splits up the Bible into daily chunks, with the aim of reading the whole thing in one year. For me, I’ve found that reading my bible before I go to sleep has really helped. It means that the last thing I’m putting into my brain is the word of God, and I have found that, on the whole, I sleep better the nights I read my bible than on the nights I don’t.
- Get outside. Take a walk, sit on the beach and watch the waves, find a bench and listen to nature, do some gardening. Being outside, away from a stuffy room, can work wonders for the mind (and the lungs!). Even if it’s a bit windy, get outside and blow those cobwebs away.
- Treat yourself. Whether that’s to your favourite chocolate bar, magazine, beverage, or something slightly bigger (or shiny!) that you’ve been eyeing up for a long time. Obviously, I’m not suggesting you put yourself in to debt or anything, but if you have the money available, why not treat yourself.
- Take a nap. As an adult, taking a nap can feel like a real luxury, especially when you have a massive list of chores that need doing. But sometimes, the most productive thing you can do, is to take the time out to have a nap. I know that when I have done so, my time afterwards has been so much more productive, and I’ve also been a much nicer person to be around (I’m very grumpy when I’m tired).
- Listen to calming music. The thing that makes me feel calm almost immediately, is quiet, classical music. It does something to my soul that makes me feel relaxed and at ease. Classical music has been shown to slow down your heart rate, lower blood pressure and decrease the levels of stress hormones. My personal favourite is Einaudi, but any quiet, calming sound would do. You could even try whale song?!
- Be creative. This can include all forms of creativity. Drawing, painting, crafting, getting the glue gun out, bake, dance, take photos, play a musical instrument. It can be big and elaborate, or small and simple. If you are a creative person, then remember to take time out to express that creativity.
- Meet up with friends. Chat about nonsense, laugh, just be in the presence of other people.
- Exercise in a way you love. Movement is excellent for our body AND our mind. It doesn’t have to be at the gym. It could be taking the dog for a walk, swimming, going for a bike ride, dance classes, badminton, hockey, tennis, pickleball, whatever makes you happy about moving!
- Hydrate. This might seem a strange suggestion, but it’s amazing what a cold glass of water can do when you’re a bit dehydrated. Drinking one glass of water when you are feeling stressed can improve the way you feel and keep you focused. It’s important to keep yourself hydrated because dehydration can slow down brain function!
I hope you have found this list helpful, particularly if you are struggling to take some time for self-care, and you are feeling burnt out. Maybe there’s one thing here that you can try to do this week? Whether it’s just for 5 minutes, or if you can spend longer, I do encourage you to take some time out this week and focus on just being rather than doing.