Martin Richards; a mild, mindful, martial artist living in London, England.

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What does the word self-care mean? I’d say putting yourself first in terms of your mental stability and well being. Making sure that you are taking care of and addressing your mental well being, so that you are not overworked and are taking time to look into yourself.

-How did you get into self-care? I find that too many people just focus on working and that is their only interest and they spend their whole life just working. I like to take time out just to be with myself and explore myself and not just on a physical level but more spiritually and mentally. I’ve always done martial arts such as Tai Chi which focuses on mental discipline in conjunction with physical discipline. I also started a mindfulness practice at the beginning of this year, we put away our phones and just focused on the exercises. We focused on ourselves in a way that wasn't selfish. I felt the calmest and most relaxed I ever have. 

What are some struggles in maintaining self care? The main one is having to work because it takes up about 10-12 hours of your day with travel and all and then you come home and try to unwind and then your thinking about the day and this takes time away from working on yourself and leaves you drained and tired, and it can become prolonged to a point where you are so engrossed with work. To find time to sit and meditate and reflect on yourself is hard and its a habit that needs to be developed and if you fail just keep working on it, struggle is normal and very human.

How do you share self care with others? With colleagues I speak about mindfulness and the benefits it’s had for me and suggest courses to them and explain that it is peaceful and such. I also am about to embark on a mindfulness teaching course so that I can share it with young people to give them strategies to use. It’s best to share this with children so they can have a go to guide to deal with their emotions and anxiety etc. that come up in their school and home lives.