Self-care rituals to slow down by Nicky Clinch – RitualsOtis Rodgers December 5, 2019 3 Comments
I’m Nicky Clinch. I work as a transformational
life coach and a holistic counsellor. I’m really introducing everyday rituals,
everyday anchors… that can be part
of the everyday way of self-care in our life… so that self-care isn’t a luxury,
it becomes part of our living. Tips for everybody
to bring slowing down more into their life? Journaling and meditation are two things
everybody can do. You don’t need to be an expert. Two practices that help us become more aware
of our self and help us to be more in the moment. Very, very simple
and very accessible for everybody. Hi everybody, I’m Nicky Clinch.
Thank you so much for coming. Have you all been having
the most amazing day? I work as a transformational life coach. I’m also a holistic counsellor
and I’m a qualified macrobiotic healing chef. So in my work and in my training… I’ve trained in Oriental medicine and
Eastern understanding and philosophy… of how we find and restore ourselves
back into balance, back into an alignment. Not just through physical health, but
in our emotional and our mental health as well. In my training and in my teaching it’s not just
diet and lifestyle that affect how we feel… it’s also our emotional well-being
and the way that we think… and everything is connected to each other. Our emotions and our mind connect
to how our physical health is… and our physical health impacts
our emotional and mental well-being. In my job I work with a lot of one-to-one
clients, so I have a full list of clients. I teach big group transformation
workshops, I run retreats…. I’m launching an online programme in May… I run a business here in London,
and I have a 4-year-old. A very strong-willed little lady. And I’m married and I have a home here
in London, and I have a cat called Pango. I say all this, because I live a very full life. And I juggle and people go:
‘How do you do it? How do you juggle?’ And for me, finding anchors in my life… to slow down, self-care… has become a fundamental part
that is a necessity of my everyday life. Otherwise I would not be able to do it.
There’s no way. But I learned a long time ago
that if I don’t take care of me… I can’t take care of anything else. I have a memory. I remember when I first
had my daughter and she was a newborn. I was a new mum, about four weeks in.
My husband had gone back to work. It was a really tough day. I hadn’t even
managed to get out of my pyjamas yet. He got home from work at 6 p.m.
and I hadn’t eaten since 10 that morning. I was still in my pyjamas, I hadn’t had a shower.
A normal scenario when you have a newborn. He walked through the door and I just
broke down in tears. I was a mess. He stopped me and he said to me: ‘Nicky, if you go down, we all go down.’ And I thought: ‘God, he’s right.’ And all these years later
it’s the same lesson: If I go down, everything goes down. I can’t take care of my clients,
I can’t run my business… I can’t be an available, present mother
to my daughter… I’m a much less pleasant wife
to my husband… and I don’t feel good in myself. So I’m here to speak to you today
about everyday rituals… finding those everyday anchors. I love the word anchor, because for me
it’s one of those tools and practices… that root us back into the moment, that
ground us when there’s a storm going on. What do we need to do
so that we have roots again? Really simple everyday practices
that become the anchors in our life… and slow us down
so that we can find balance. So, how many of you struggle
with finding balance in your life… and finding time for self-care?
You can put your hand up. I think that’s pretty much everybody. I put my hand up too,
because I don’t want anyone to assume… that because I do this job,
I’ve nailed it and I found balance. I say that
because balance is not a final destination. It’s not like we find balance
and then we can unpack our stuff… and can camp out for the next 30 years. No, balance is something
that’s ever-flowing. We’re in and out of it. Sometimes we go through phases
in our life when we are so out of it… and then we have to find our way back.
The more that we bring in these rituals… the more we bring in self-care
into our everyday way of living… we may get longer periods of time when we’re
in it, and then we’ll come out of it again. A teacher taught me a long time ago… that I’m going to recognise balance
the moment I swing right past it. I love that, because it’s like
we’re constantly in this little dance… of coming out of balance and
what do I need to do to bring me back. When we come out of it again,
what do I need to do to bring me back? It isn’t a final destination.
It’s learning how to do this dance… and learning
what is the tool belt that works for us? Individually. Each one of us
will need something different. What is the tool belt
that we go back to time and time again… when we need to come back into balance? I was doing a little bit of research
in the last week. I just wanted to look up some statistics,
which were quite shocking. I discovered… that mental health is the reason… that 40% of sick leave happens
in the workplace. 40% because
of mental health-related issues. And that right now,
we, women between 25 and 40… are at the highest suicide rate
that we’ve been in a decade… because of mental health-related issues. In the last five years,
with the people that I’ve worked with… People come to me for all sorts of things.
For physical health issues… and for emotional issues. In the last five years I have seen more
and more younger-generation people… suffer from mental health-related physical… sorry, from burnout-related physical and
mental health illnesses, than ever before. Insomnia, stress, anxiety,
depression, ME… digestive issues, reproductive issues.
More than ever before. So this has become a vital, vital thing
that we need to change. The fundamental thing we need to change
about how we live our life. So, before I want to teach you
any useful tools… that would be useful for any of us… first we need to change
the way we think about self-care. Let’s blast a few myths
about self-care, OK? Number one: Self-care is not a luxury. It is a necessity. How many of you think that self-care
is a luxury or have thought of it as a luxury? Yeah. It’s like the pampering spa day
for our birthday… or the nails that will get done
before the big event. But it’s not a luxury. It is a necessity. Actually,
taking self-care into our everyday life… doesn’t just help us to feel better… it actually helps us
to become more effective in our life. It actually allows us to become more
present, more available, more grounded… and more effective in what we do. So, self-care is not a luxury.
It is a necessity. Number two. Number two… What’s the
number two? I’ve totally forgotten number two. Oh yes: We never have enough time. Who says: ‘I don’t have enough time
to do this? To take care of myself?’ Not right now.
-Not today. Obviously not today. I mean in general life.
‘I don’t have enough time.’ ‘There’s not enough time.
I can’t have enough time to do this.’ I can’t tell you how many times
I hear that. And I say it to myself. ‘There’s not enough time,
there’s not enough time.’ That is such an illusion. I tell you,
it’s a thought process in our mind. We think we don’t have enough time,
so we skip it. But actually, what happens when we’re running
around saying we don’t have enough time… is everything is getting really tight,
we’re getting stressed, we’re starting to panic. We get panicked, because we’re running
out of time when we don’t have enough time… and then we’re worrying whether we’re going
to have enough time later on to have enough time. And then we start messing up.
We start making mistakes… we start forgetting things,
we stop being able to see clearly. We no longer have our ability to make choices,
we’re just reacting all the time. I can see so many heads going:
‘Yeah, yeah. Stop talking about me.’ I’m talking about me. There’s not enough time…
I tell you it’s an illusion. It is. You know, I discovered it really clearly
about 18 months ago. We had a really busy day at work,
me and my assistant. It was one of those days where we just… We were at our laptops and we were going
to have to be flat at it from 9 a.m. to 5.30. We were like: ‘We’re never going to get
through everything.’ We were at the laptop. And I had forgotten that I had arranged
for this reflexologist to come in… and give me a free treatment. She wanted to give
me a free treatment. She was new to the industry. So, I’m at my laptop, like this, going: ‘There’s so
much to do. I’ve got to get on, I’ve got to get on.’ And then the doorbell rings,
and I was so annoyed. I was like: ‘I don’t have time for this.
What am I going to do? I’m so annoyed. She’s going to ruin my schedule.
I’m never going to get everything done.’ Obviously,
I wasn’t in a very pleasant state that day. And she walks in. She was very calm.
She sits down on the sofa… and I’m like: ‘Oh God, I’m so annoyed. I now
have to lie on the sofa for 25 minutes. God.’ And she gives me a reflexology treatment. I’m so annoyed that I even said that if my assistant
would go after me we’d lose another 25 minutes… it’s going to be all day,
and then I’m going to be really behind. So, I lie down on the sofa,
annoyed and probably not being very polite. And she takes my feet… and then just very slowly
I start calming down. I must have gone
into a really deep, relaxed state. And as I came to… the whole room looked different. Everything seemed calmer, nicer. I was so happy she was there. Suddenly we were having a really nice chat. And then I was like, to my assistant: ‘Oh, it’s
your turn, go lie down, have your treatment. And I sat at my desk, at my computer,
and I just started to compose myself. And then I carried on working. When my assistant
finished her treatment, she carried on working. And what was amazing, is when we got to 4.45
we had finished everything. And we had 45 minutes to spare. I was sitting there, going: ‘My God,
I learned something really new today.’ When I went back to my desk,
everything I did felt easier. It was more efficient.
Everything flowed better. There was no panic. It just got done. And we had time to spare. I tell you that story
because we say there’s not enough time. When we create time to take care of ourselves… we create more time, we create more space… so that things happen more effortlessly,
things happen easier. We become much more efficient at what we do. So, there’s blasting a few myths about self-care. Let me talk
about bringing some anchors into our life… bringing some everyday rituals
that we can really do at any time. We don’t need to go to the spa.
This is a very lovely day to come to… but these are things
that we can do just in our living room. On the tube, on the bus, while you’re walking. One of these everyday things
that become accessible to all of us. I don’t think it would be effective for me
to just list a routine. Wake up in the morning, have your hot lemon,
get on the yoga mat for 90 minutes… and after that eat Bircher muesli, and then when
you’re walking you should be really peaceful… and say in your mind: ‘I am enough,
I am enough, I am enough, I am enough.’ I don’t think it would be useful for me to give that. Because then we’d start treating self-care
like we treat everything else: Like a military operation. I can’t tell you how many clients, when they
sit down for the first time in my counselling room… on paper they look
like the healthiest people on the planet… but inside they’re filled with anxiety and stress. ‘Every morning my alarm goes off at 6 a.m.,
then I do an hour of ashtanga yoga… I drink my hot water and lemon and then this, that,
I drink my green juice and then I go to work.’ And I just say to them: ‘Well, do you want to do that?’ ‘Eh… Um…’ ‘Well, how do you feel
when you get up in the morning?’ ‘Oh, I’ve literally never asked myself.’ So, self-care, on its own, is not enough. We also need self-awareness. Self-care plus self-awareness equals self-love. When we gain more awareness
about how we are, how we feel…. what we need, ‘How am I today?’… we can make conscious choices about what tool
we need to use to take care of ourselves. We’re not using the tools to override our self… we’re learning how to listen to who we are
and where we are and how do we take care. So self-care plus self-awareness
equals self-love. The first two things I want to talk about
are really amazing practices… that deepen our ability to have self-awareness. Awareness is the first step to any lasting change. First we need to be able to see clearly,
before we can make a choice. Does that make sense? Yeah. The more that we get to know ourselves… the more we can make choices for ourselves. The first tool is meditation. Who here practises meditation? OK, good. Yeah, me too. And there are all sorts… I’m sure you’ve all heard
a lot about meditation, particularly nowadays. There are all sorts of different techniques,
and all sorts of different ways to do it. And I also know that the word ‘meditation’
has a lot attached to it. It’s like: ‘Meditation? You mean I have
to be enlightened on a mountain somewhere?’ Then it becomes this sort of overwhelming thing
that we can’t reach. I prefer to keep it really simple. Can we just sit and breathe and be? For 10 minutes, 10 to 20 minutes… can we just sit and breathe and be? There are many different techniques
that you can use. They’re all very useful… but sometimes I find it really, really easy
to just sit and breathe. Sometimes it’s so simple that we forget.
We’re like: ‘How can it be that simple?’ ‘That’s too simple. Where’s the transcend… When
am I going to be raised to a higher vibration?’ No, can we just sit with our self and breathe… and be present for 10 to 20 minutes with our self? So, let’s just practise now. Can you all put your feet flat on the ground? If there’s something on your lap
just put it on the ground. We’re not going to be in this for very long.
I’m just using it as an example. And just close your eyes. And just take two deep breaths. And if it feels comfortable, put your hand…
put one hand below your belly. In Oriental medicine this is called ‘ahara’. This is our centre of energy, centre of balance. And then take your other hand and place it just
above your belly button, underneath your ribs. And just breathe. And don’t try to breathe.
Don’t try to get anywhere. Just let your body breathe itself. And while your body is breathing itself,
can you just meet yourself… wherever you are… right now? Have awareness of how you feel… right in this moment. How is your body? Is there anything coming up for you? And let yourself land in your own body… without trying to find answers or fix anything. Just become an observer
of where you are in this moment. And when you’re ready,
just take one deep breath more… and very slowly open your eyes. How was that? Good. Can you feel that the space feels a bit different? Like everything
just feels a little bit more grounded? This practice doesn’t try to change where we are. It actually helps us to connect
to where we are, in the moment. How we’re feeling, to have awareness
of what might be going on. If you’d spend 10 minutes in the morning, just
sitting and breathing… You can do it lying in bed. You can do it sitting on a yoga mat,
you can do it wrapped in blankets. I have done it on the tube.
I have done it on a bus. Wherever you are. You can even do it
in the toilet in the office on a stressful day. Just sit and breathe… and reconnect to where you are right now. Bringing a practice like this
into your everyday life… helps you to connect to you… so that you may go out there
having some awareness of you… before you start meeting everybody else
and hearing what they have to think and say. The more awareness and presence
that we have to where we are right now… the more choices we can make for our self… so that we’re not just reacting
to everything around us. The second practice that helps
to deepen our self-awareness is journaling. Who here journals? A smaller amount. Yeah, it’s actually a really accessible practice. We can all get a piece of paper
and we can all get a pen. That’s it, it’s really that simple. I like to actually have a journal
that makes me feel good. I have a few of these. Journaling is a fundamental practice
that I have been using for the last 20 years. What I find amazing about it… is that it takes all the noise
that is going on in here… and all the stuff that is going on here… and you can just release it and put it on the page,
literally getting it out. What’s really useful about it
is that when it gets out… you can start to see clearly
what’s actually going on. It’s really hard to work things out when it’s just
going around and round and round in your head. Have you ever noticed that? It’s really, really hard
to get clarity and to see clearly… when you’re in the experience,
in the obsession, or the panic, or the worry. You take a piece of paper
and start writing out what’s going on. You get it out and put it on the paper. You literally have a moment when you actually
start to see: ‘Oh, that’s what’s going on’… and you start to gain an awareness and insight. Some of the biggest life changes in my life… have come from ‘aha! moments’
from when I have been sitting journaling: When I first realised
I was ready to become a mother. When I realised I wanted to change careers
and go back to school. It just happens in simple moments of writing. When I realised I was really on the verge
of burnout and I was taking way too many clients. These moments of insight, aha! moments,
give me the ability to then go: ‘OK, something needs to change.
I need to do something to take care.’ But it could have easily gone on
for another couple of years in here… without anything ever actually changing.
I would have just been struggling in it. And it’s also very cathartic.
If you have a lot of… If you have emotion going on, if you’re struggling
to find a solution for something, use your journal. Get up in the morning, maybe journal
after meditation, or bring it with you. Instead of scrolling Instagram on the tube,
get your journal out for five minutes… and literally write ‘How am I doing?’. And then freewrite.
Just let yourself write whatever comes next. It’s really, really fascinating, and it’s different
to typing on a phone or typing on a laptop. A teacher told me once… that the ink
is an extension of your truth to the page. It’s quite impossible to write in a journal
without getting honest. It just comes out of you. Which is why I think
a lot of people resist the practice. Because actually then the truth comes out
and you realise: ‘I don’t feel good in this job’… or: ‘I really don’t feel good doing that thing’… or: ‘I really need to move house,
I’m not happy here.’ You start getting the truth,
and then you can start taking care. These two practices are anchors of mine
that I have absolutely used. And I… You know, there have been days
and months when I haven’t done it. It’s not a military operation. But it’s what I
come back to. It’s always what I come back to. Particularly at times
when I felt disconnected again… I’ve come back to 10 to 20 minutes of breathing
and then the journaling. Let’s talk about some other tools and practices,
and rituals. What about… nourishment? Food? Who likes food here? I’ve actually never known anyone
who said: ‘No, I hate it, I hate it’. Food. How we feed ourselves
is how we love ourselves. It really is the truth. I know, when I’m not doing well… when I cannot be bothered to cook for myself
or buy food to put in the fridge… and I just keep getting takeaways… what happens next is
I can’t be bothered to answer my emails… my bedroom gets really messy,
and I do not do my admin. That’s when I’m like: ‘OK, something’s up.’ The way that we eat is the way that we live. How we nourish ourselves
is how we nourish ourselves in our life. So let’s choose food that nourishes ourselves. I’m
not going to give you a diet or anything like that. But what kind of quality are we giving ourselves?
Are we taking the time to cook something? I hear it all the time: ‘There’s not enough time
to cook. I don’t have time to cook.’ It takes 20 minutes to make a soup,
literally 20 minutes. And it’s not about following a diet either. There’s something about cooking
that acts like an anchor. Has anyone ever noticed that?
When you’re cutting vegs… Yes, go on please.
-I really enjoy cooking. It’s therapeutic. It’s a really therapeutic,
nourishing, grounding tool. Whenever I feel chaotic and scattered,
I will get in my kitchen and I will make a soup… a really simple soup. Not because I feel like soup,
but because I want to cook the soup… so I can ground myself. Cutting the vegs, being in my body again,
coming back into the moment. Just creating some nourishment
that I can then sit and enjoy afterwards. If you have a really busy life, I guarantee that
if you make space to make a soup one evening… by the time you sit and eat it,
you will feel different… than how you did
when you walked through the door. Instead of walking through the door and
getting out the tortilla chips and putting on Netflix… you will feel different if you get in the kitchen
and just cut some vegs and make a soup… and sit and eat it,
which will take 20 minutes. It will transform not just the taste
of what you’re going to eat, but how you feel. So, I’ll tell you a little story.
I was at a workshop once. I’d just come out of
this group emotional process. I was very emotional.
I had to go to a cooking class. I was standing in the cooking class and
had this chopping board in front of me… and an onion and a knife. I was crying away because
I had a really big session earlier. It was a transformational workshop.
Tears were streaming down my face. The cooking teacher came over to me. I said: I can’t cook,
I had a really bad session just then. He just looked at me and said:
Nicky, just cut the onion. ‘You don’t understand,
it was a really bad session.’ And I’m like sobbing away.
He said: Nicky, just cut the onion. I was like: God, he’s really brutal. So I picked up a knife and was crying
away, and not because of the onion. I’m like slicing away,
and I am slicing away. It was really interesting as I started
noticing something happened. So I am crying away
and slicing my onion… and then the emotions just come,
and then it goes. And then it comes and then it goes.
And it comes and then it goes. And all I am doing
is I’m cutting my onion. By the time I finished prepping the veg… I’m not crying anymore.
And I feel calm, and it’s passed. And I’m still cooking. So I tell that story because
there is something very meditative… about doing these very simple
grounding acts… that allow whatever we’re experiencing
and wherever we are… to just calm and then go.
They’re meant to come and then go. It’s like meditation, no different. So how we feed ourselves
is how we love ourselves. If you are going through a crazy time
in life, make time to cook. It’s important. Thank you. Number four: body. How is the relationship we have
with how we move our body? Movement, getting into our body… I’m not saying exercise,
I mean being in our body. There’s a difference between getting
on a treadmill and running for an hour… so that you do not feel your body… which I have also done… to actually doing some kind
of body work or movement… where you actually become
more connected to your body. You can still do that with running,
there’s nothing wrong with running. But can we bring in a practice
into our everyday life… that is just part of life,
that we make time to move our body. That may be different each day. Because as we get more aware, each
day we may need something different. This morning I did some yoga in my own
house, preparing myself to come here. Yesterday I walked 40 minutes
in the park. The day before I did a body scrub
because I was having a really tired day… and I didn’t feel like doing much, so I
scrubbed my body with a body scrub. Last week I went for a big old run,
and it’s like… how do I need to move my body today? When we get in our body
we come back into the moment. It is an anchor,
this actually is our anchor. Our mind can go all over the place,
but when we are in our head… Have you ever left the house… without even remembering
whether you put you shoes on or not? You have done that, I have done that.
Literally. I got halfway to my daughter’s school… and I’m like I don’t remember when I put
my shoes on. When did that happen? We are so in our heads that we don’t feel
anything else from here downwards. So can we take time to get in the body? Because when we’re in the body,
we’re in the moment. When we’re in the body we are back
grounded again, we’re not in here. When we’re in here we’re probably
a week ahead. Or we are a year behind.
When we’re here, we have to connect. And that gives us more energy. It gives us more presence,
helps us feel grounded and calmer. So can we move our body each day? Whether that’s twenty minutes each day
just stretching, breathing, running. Whatever, I would say
make sure you love it. Make sure that it is an act
of something that you love… rather than an act of punishment. Do I love… I ran seven miles,
seven days a week… fifteen years ago. And I’ve come from a pretty bad story,
I used to be an addict. I used to have eating disorders,
I used to struggle with lots of things. And when I first started getting better,
I would run seven miles every single day. Seven days a week, and it was like:
I’m getting better, I’m getting better. And somebody asked me once:
Do you like running? ‘I don’t know, I hate it.’ And I realised that I wasn’t doing
anything different… from when I was in my addiction,
it just looked prettier. Now I like the feeling of running.
But when I did it back then… I used to do it in a way that I would not
even hear what my body thought or felt. I would push myself so hard… until afterwards that I just felt
like I’d been punished. Now I go for a run. And if I feel like walking for a few
minutes, I walk a few minutes. And then I run again and feel alive. And then if I need to slow down,
I slow down a bit. Now it’s more like
it’s an enjoyable thing to do. I love dancing, I love yoga. I love weights, I love movement.
So it’s like what do you love doing? And how can you move your body?
Walking is fantastic. Yesterday I went for a walk in the park
and it was freezing. But God, I felt alive when I got home,
and really grounded. And then… Like with my last one.
Movement, yeah, this is a good one. Number five: managing our schedule. Who here struggles with doing
lots of things that you don’t want to do? How can we find time
to take care of ourselves… if we’re filling our schedule with all these
things that we don’t really want to be doing? When we start to practise self-care
and self-awareness in our life… become aware of how much energy
you are using… on stuff that you want to say no to. How many people are you trying to save
that don’t want your help? How many parties have you gone to
when you were like: I wish I was at home. How many things have you gone to that
you didn’t have the courage to say no to? Start saying no to the things
you don’t want. Start small, by saying: No, thank you very much.
I’m not hungry right now, I’ll eat later. No thank you, I don’t feel like
going to the movies. But you go, have a good time.
I’m gonna stay in and have a bath. When we start saying no
to the things we don’t want… the moment we say no… is the moment we say yes
to what we do want. Yes, I want to take better care of myself. Yes, I don’t want to spend tonight around
that person that makes me feel bad. Yes, I want to use my time better
for things that I love. Start small and build up,
it’s like a muscle. Saying no to the things
that we are wasting our energy on… so that we can start saying yes
to the things that we do. So, what I want to say is this: Those are just examples of things
that I use in my life that can be useful. But what I really would love you to do,
maybe before you go home today… or when you are at home tonight,
is write a list of five things… that make you feel more anchored.
Because each one of us is so different. So don’t just follow what Nicky says,
don’t follow what a book says… or what so and so says, follow what
you… What makes you feel grounded? Write five things, and that’s your tool belt.
That’s your anchor kit. So when you can go on to the anchor kit
each day and go: What do I need? Do I need walking? It really helps me,
do I need to go for a walk today? Do I need to go out in my lunch break
and walk around the block? What do I need? I haven’t eaten
very well this week. I need to go home and cook
something for myself. Whatever it is, for you. I need to go
to a zumba class, I don’t know. I need to go to a Beyoncé class. Write that list of five things
and let that be your anchor kit. And then keep that, that’s
where you keep going back to. Let me just finish. Last year before
Christmas my husband got very sick. He got diagnosed with cancer,
he’s in the clear now, thank God. But it threw me, like literally in one
moment my whole life changed. It was terrifying. I didn’t know whether
he was gonna make it or not make it. And I was so thrown by life
that I didn’t know what to do with myself. And my assistant Sara
is at the back there. She just said: Nicky, you know what the
tools are, just go back to your anchors. In a time I couldn’t control
whether he was gonna make it… whether he was gonna be in chemo, or
how my daughter was gonna react to it… I just went back to my anchors. I went and I cooked,
and I got back on my yoga mat. An I got my journal out, and I started
meditating in the morning. Everything else I couldn’t control,
but what I could control was that. And I tell you it helped me walk through,
every single moment of that month… until we got out the other side. So these anchors will be with you
the whole of your life. So find out what they are. Thank you very, very much.
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