It would be an understatement to say that I travel a lot. In the past two months I have been to Mexico (not once, but twice), Guatemala, The Bahamas, Antigua, Hawaii, Philadelphia, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, NYC and LA. To maintain some sense of balance and health, I have had to learn non-negotiable self-care techniques. If I forgo them, I notice I have trouble sleeping, my brain stops working, and I become less than ideal to be around. (I turn into a grumpy pain!).
I try to carry this self-care routine into my everyday life also — as I find repetitive action of good habits tend to create a stronger resilience to the surprises of everyday life. Self-care is integral to my life. We cannot keep withdrawing from the energy bank without putting back in; having been burned out many times, it is an important lesson to learn.
Read on to learn my all-time favourite techniques for recharging.
- Meditate. This is a non-negotiable. Every morning I get around thirty minutes in to focus on my breath. If my call time is 5 a.m., I get up at 4:20 a.m. This is so important to me. Try the Headspace app — it has a great learn-to-meditate course!
- Spend time in nature. There is nothing better for me than walking, listening to an audio book or music, and breathing in fresh air. The sunlight does wonders to your mood (and your vitamin D levels.)
- Read books. I love my quiet time — with the intensity of my life I cherish any moment I can get to be still and quiet.
- Acupuncture. This always leaves me feeling so refreshed and recharged; I love to do this whenever I am home (which is rare these days).
- Massage. When I am on the road I always fit in a massage, and when I am home I also always fit in a massage. It's so important to have that time out.
- Talk to loved ones. Having a phone call with my husband, friends, or family whilst travelling is so nourishing to me, I am always in contact when I am away.
- Spend time with loved ones. This one is even better! I am fortunate enough to be close to a lot of the teams I work with. There is no better feeling than sitting around after a long day of shooting, laughing, and talking about anything. It is even better when there is karaoke and dancing involved.
- Cook. This is a very grounding experience for me, and whenever I am in my own kitchen I make the most of it.
- Handle your phone correctly. I don't have any notifications turned on, and I rarely use social media. When I have the mental space for other people's energy I am more engaged — but during periods of intensity I keep my focus inwards.
- Sleep! During busy periods it can be hard to prioritise sleep, but I always make sure I am powering down around 8 p.m. to be ready for bed by 10 p.m. Sleep is the ultimate self-care device.
And there you have it! Note that exercise didn't make the cut. While I love my daily workouts, during periods of intense work and travel I usually have to cut way back on intensity and duration. I try to focus on activities that are more energising, such as walking, swimming (floating), Tai Chi, or light floor Pilates. Busy time periods are all about maintaining and boosting energy for me and I find these workouts recharge me.
Self-care is a non-negotiable part of everyday life for me. I have found these habits essential to avoid burnout; and whilst they started during hectic work periods, I have found them to be extremely beneficial year-round. Life is best lived from a place of balance, after all.
To read more of Bridget's writing visit her website, and Instagram @bridgetmalcolm.