You simply cannot take care of others, unless you take care of yourself first. Taking care of yourself first, means that you have Self Love and compassion for the wider world around you. So often when we are stressed, Self Care is the first thing to go - yet it should BE the very thing we turn to.
Rumi stated: "Your task is not to seek love, but merely to find and seek the barriers within yourself that you have built against it".
In my practice, I see clients who are coming in at the end of their tether. They have put themselves last for too long and now their body's feel unbalanced, stressed, painful and tense. One of the first things I ask is how are you sleeping, how are your stress levels and are you moving? Often the answers are poorly, high and not much.
So, what is it about engaging in our Self Care that we find so hard to do?
I'm not a psychologist and nor is it my job to find the answers to these questions about self worth and self love, but there is a common theme that I see running through my clients and that is time. Or more correctly, busyness and the perceived lack of time. We prioritise everything and everyone else first and our own needs last. This is not sustainable long term. Fatigue and chronic stress will kick in leading to stress and dis-ease.
Introducing, Semi Supine
Also known as Active or Constructive Rest, Semi Supine is a posture taken from The Alexander Technique and I just love it! I share this technique with all of my clients and it helps to support and nurture them between visits. It is a wonderful, easy form of Self Care that creates connection, space and a feeling of alignment. As well as the physical benefits, the semi-supine practice will give you that all important time to be aware of yourself, to quieten your mind and just stop.
Ideally, 15 to 20 minutes each day to lie down, is enough time to help restore suppleness and realignment of the spine, and to reconnect the relationship between your mind and body. I know though, that this time commitment can be push for some people, so start off small with 5 minutes a time, and maybe do it twice a day instead, or give it a go on your lunch break.
Here’s how you do it:
• Lie down on a fairly firm surface, like a mat or rug on the floor, with a couple of paperback books under your head to raise it slightly.
• Bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor about shoulder-width apart.
• Take some time to allow yourself to ‘arrive’ and settle in this new position.
• Notice how you are in contact with the floor and your head with the books; notice the main weight-transmitting areas – the back of your head, the two shoulder blades, the back of the hips and the feet.
• Quietly notice what is around you, what noises can you hear inside and outside the room, what can you see? Notice those shapes, forms and colours to the sides, above and below (it doesn’t matter that they’re not in focus).
• Each time your mind starts to wander, gently bring your attention back to where you are here and now, simply noticing what you can see, hear and feel.
Semi Supine is a wonderful opportunity for Self Care. It is a form of mild stretching and meditation. A mindfulness practice that brings you back to neutral, feeling fully supported, the way nature intended. This practice supports and complements many other therapies - massage, reflexology, chiropractic care, yoga, naturopathy, kinesiology or conventional medicine. Give it a go!