Does anyone else feel like in the past year they haven’t been alone—truly alone—for more than a handful of times? Ironically, staying isolated at home can mean not being very isolated (ever!) from your kids. Without any time to ourselves, many of us are catching up on our own lives outside of childcare—aka work, laundry, grocery ordering, whatever—at night. Self-care? Never harder to prioritize…and never more needed. We asked holistic wellness expert Kimberly Snyder to share some of her thoughts on how to make self-care happen.
First of all, why is this lack of alone time so challenging?
It’s really important for all of us to have time for stillness and silence. In this stillness and silence, we are able to listen to ourselves listen to our needs, to our intuition, and have the space to breathe. And if we don’t have that space we start to feel cramped, both physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually because, this space is really essential.
In nature there are natural gaps, say between sunset and sunrise, between waves in the ocean. So these natural spaces, constitute a really intrinsic need that we have as humans and especially as moms because we really have a lot to do, including nurturing the family and our homes and our work and so on. We all needs regular space.
What are signs/symptoms that you could use more self-care and alone time?
To start, I would say feeling more edgy snappy, anxious, depressed, having trouble sleeping, having trouble discerning what your body needs to eat, or the best modes of exercise for your body. Basically, any sort of disconnection with yourself, your body and your needs is one big sign that you are definitely needing some self-care and alone time.
What are some tangible things we can keep an eye out for?
Besides the above, you can also keep an eye out for changes in your moods, weight, energy levels and sleep patterns.
How do you define self-care?
Self-care in our culture is very misunderstood, and approached in a very surface way. Ayurveda offers the idea that self-care is really for helping you to fulfill your purpose in life.
I believe that self-care is about every day monitoring and being the personal manager of your energy, and taking steps to modify what you are doing in your choices and practices to balance your energy. And for me these practices are really centered around our Four Cornerstones of True Beauty and Wellness, which are food, body, emotional well-being and spiritual growth. And when we take this holistic approach, I find that we really are caring for ourselves because we are multi-dimensional whole beings.
So we can modify our food, for instance. If we feel depleted, we can lift ourselves up with incorporating more B vitamins, more energizing foods. If we find ourselves over-anxious, we can help calm our energy by modifying our food to reduce pitta-heavy onions and garlic and chillies, for example. Body-wise, if we are feeling sluggish, we might need to go for a run or a bike ride, but if we feel depleted, we can modify our exercise so that we feel soothed, like perhaps doing yin yoga.
In this way we must all manage and care for our energy on a day-day basis. Sure the baths and the home facials are fun and can be part of our practices! But we have to step back first and look at how we care for our overall energy.
That makes sense. What are some ways to do this if you can’t find alone time?
Some tips for practicing self-care, even in the midst of not having alone time are to bring ritual to everyday activities. So for instance, the way that you touch your face or body can be part of your self-care. While applying skincare, washing your body in the shower or applying lotion, you can consciously touch yourself with love and bring intention to soothe and nurture yourself. Touch is healing.
Also take a moment before you eat, and say gratitude. Gratitude shifts your energy and gives you that sacred pause (even if brief!).
And thirdly, I think mini meditations are really wonderful. So even if we don’t have alone time but you can find a gap where your kids are playing, or watching something on the iPad, you can just sit for a couple moments, drop into your body into your breath, and tune in. These little breaks can do wonders to keep you really centered.
Kimberly Snyder is founder of Solluna, a holistic lifestyle brand, and the three-time New York Times bestselling author of The Beauty Detox book series and Radical Beauty, co-authored with Deepak Chopra. She hosts the top-rated Feel Good podcast, which airs on the Podcast One network.