Welcome to Terra’s Top 10
This will be a regular Tuesday post where I can share a list of my top 10 things. These are lists of things I found to be useful, informative, inspiring, motivating or just some fun to lighten my day.
Today I have been very active in attending to the wellbeing of my body, mind and heart so it is only appropriate to share my top 10 self-care practices.
Please feel free to participate by adding to the list, trying stuff out and sharing your own experiences.
TERRA’S TOP 10 SELF-CARE PRACTICES (starting from the beginning of the day)
1 Sleep Hygiene – This is one of the most important habits I picked up during the first stage of recovery. I immediately noticed a difference in my mental health as I recovered a regular sleep pattern overcoming insomnia and stopped sleeping off my depression through the day. It wasn’t easy at first but the natural rhythm, or circadian rhythm, feels instinctual now. Obviously I have an advantage camping in nature most nights but when you wake to the sound of birds and get to watch dawn lighten the horizon as you eat breakfast do you need any more incentive! As well as all that, the correct amount of sleep, for me it is 8hrs, allows the body time to heal. The human body is an incredibly thing, while you sleep it is mending, knitting, building, fortifying, strengthening ready to take on more.
2 Mindfulness – For about 10 to 20 minutes (I don’t time it) I lie in bed listening to the world wake up around me, feeling my mind becoming alert and body wake up, clearing away the weird dreams I had during the night. I slowly open my eyes but not until I’m ready to get up and let them adjust to the level of light or darkness.
3 Healthy Eating – I love treats, my latest being hummus and white tortilla strips, but I eat lots of nutritious, fresh, organic unprocessed plant-based food. When walking around Australia without a support vehicle this isn’t always possible so I take equally nutritious, organic dried and powdered fruit, nuts, seeds and raw energy bars to tide me over between towns. Then I binge on salads and fruit until returning to the wild again 😉
4 General Hygiene – The simple habits of morning ablutions are more than just getting up and showing up. I care for myself therefore I take care of myself. Breaking bad habits developed while sick and creating new healthy habits remind me that my body is a vessel holding my heart and mind, it must be looked after. Taking a shower, cleaning my teeth, brushing my hair, putting on clean clothes are all things I do with mindfulness because I remember when I was so sick I stopped doing all these things.
5 Exercise – Just 20 minutes a day is all you need to feel great! Any exercise will do, what ever you feel comfortable with. If you are not already in the habit of regular exercise I wouldn’t suggest jumping straight into a triathlon but by all means definitely make it a goal. I love walking. Regular exercise is an incredibly effective preventative for just about everything that might ail you from mental illness to heart disease, even writer’s block! It is the best therapy for mental health and recovery and all the benefits kick in quick. Even when I’m not walking 40kms a day I take some time out to exercise.
6 Nature – In every city I have every visited, even Kowloon in Hong Kong, one of the first things I notice are the many public gardens and proximity to conservation and national parks. Spending time in Nature is wonderful. There is something about it that recharges me. When I spend time in Nature I relax. My first experience of enlightenment as emptiness was while meditating under an ancient oak in a botanic garden in the middle of a city. While food feeds our body, Nature feeds our soul.
7 Sunshine – Here is an interesting little tidbit of information, one of the translations of my last name means sunshine. Sunshine gives us Vitamin D which is an important nutrient for mental and physical health. During my recovery from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) my psychologist prescribed me sunshine or Vit D supplements. I chose the free option and added a generous dose of sunshine to my daily walks in Nature. I get a lot of sunshine now and believe it is one of the things contributing to the joy in my life.
8 Humans – If you met me 6 years ago, no, actually you wouldn’t have met me 6 years ago. In May 2010 I hit rock bottom and became suicidal. I was scared of humans, locked myself away, decided I needed to escape the world and aliens were taking too long in returning to collect me. Now I love humans! Family, friends, the thousands of people I have met during this walk and all my wonderful supporters have restored my faith in humans. Now I love the company of other people. I still love solitude but with solitude I have a greater appreciation of company. There are so many people making a difference, creating change, helping each other and the planet we all share. We are a social species and we thrive as part of a community. My community covers the world! I am in an ideal situation where I meet and am befriended by people from every culture and every demographic, all walks of life. I am so lucky. (just joking about the aliens)
9 Productivity – At the end of the day I like to feel like something has been accomplished. In the morning I set myself a goal and during the day I work towards it. Like today my goal was this blog post. It is already 10:00pm but the moment I press “Publish” it will feel great. Sometimes my goals are small, sometimes just achieving #4 is enough for the day and sometimes walking 60kms is enough. In our modern western society we have been in the habit of glorifying productivity associating it with working harder and putting in longer hours. What if productivity was seeing your child smile while you play on the beach every weekend because you have invested your love in their happiness or catching up on dirty laundry because there were a few dry days in the rainy season or cooking biscuits for your grandmother after you perfect the secret family recipe she shared with you? Set goals that will make you feel good and your productivity with result in real happiness and satisfaction.
10 Acts of Kindness- Altruism is sooo good for both the receiver and giver. Do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return. If you want an instant natural burst of euphoria try an act of kindness.
I hope my top 10 is helpful. These things work for me, they might not work for everyone. Please let me know in the comments what you would chose as your Top 10. Have you tried any of these and how have they helped you?
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