Do you know what Self care really is? Getting to bed a bit earlier, arriving home in one piece or the children not arguing? If so, you are not alone.
Let’s clear up one common misconception from the get-go: Self-care is not synonymous with self-indulgence or being selfish. Self-care means taking care of yourself so that you can be healthy, you can be well, you can do your job, you can help and care for others, and you can do all the things you need to and want to accomplish in a day.
When was the last time you were really stressed out?
Your heart starts racing. Your palms get sweaty, your stomach ties into knots. We experience these body sensations, so often we don’t even know the difference anymore.
Close your eyes, then slowly inhale in through the nose, exhale slowly through the mouth. Inhale slowly through the nose and again exhale slowly through the mouth. Do this a few more times, then you’re ready open your eyes. Well done, you just practiced self-care! It really can be that simple.
A few moments to relieve the stress in your body and relax.
The Self Care industry
Sadly the ten billion pound self-care industry, doesn’t want you to realise how easy it can be. The myth that’s fed by social media posts and endless adverts want you to think that self-care is a spa day, pedicures, manicures, massages and Prosecco weekends.
Because they want you to spend endless amounts of money on “Self Care”.
Isn’t it Self Care?
As indulgences go they are great, but they’re not self care. We find ourselves chasing these perfect self care experiences but they don’t actually restore us. First, there’s the pressure to do them and have a good time, then there is the cost that adds to the stress. They may bring down that stress and you may feel better briefly but you still have to go back to your life.
Some Causes of Stress
We experience stress because of what we put in our bodies and what we put on our bodies. Also with the thoughts we think and the many choices we make throughout every day. Some of the most stressful things that we can put in our bodies are sugar, alcohol, excessive, caffeine and processed foods.
Those are also some of the most consumed items in many countries. So, with all this stress impacting our immune system, it affects our energy levels and our emotional well-being. This makes it essential that our self healthcare practice combats this.
Now we want to know….
What Self Care really Is
Self-Care is deliberately taking care of your well-being through restorative activities. One of the greatest threats for our well-being is physical and emotional stress. It’s one of the leading causes of healthcare issues and we experience it every day. It has been made much worse by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Self Care begins with the diet. This needs to be rich in fruits, vegetables and whole plant-based foods. Practicing the slow breathing with eyes closed, even for a few minutes at a time can also help.
Inner and Outer noise
Every day we are bombarded by endless noise from the TV, the radio traffic, our kids shouting at us and each other the noise from other people’s headphones and games played on various devices.
But the loudest noise of all is the voice in our heads. We have roughly 60,000 thoughts a day and for a lot of us, 80 % of those thoughts are negative.
Meditation brings moments of stillness and silence. Then we become aware of that internal voice and that’s when we can choose which thoughts are worth holding on to and which we want to let go. It’s a good way to adjust the volume of that internal voice too.
There is no right or wrong way to meditate. It’s important to be comfortable though otherwise you just keep moving about and start thinking of all the things you should be doing.
Time in nature
Walking in nature can be a form of meditation. Just walk at your own pace and enjoy your surroundings and you will find your mind just drifts. It’s very therapeutic.
Be sure to breathe properly as you walk.
Time in nature will improve your mood, reduce stress and improve cognitive function. Apparently the average person nowadays spends a high percentage of their life indoors, yet getting outside has such amazing benefits. I think the Pandemic has increased people’s awareness of the need to be outside more.
Some of the other benefits in include reduced stress, improved sleep and improved circulation.
It’s so good for physical and mental health.
This could be walking, running, dancing, yoga or anything you enjoy, inside or outside
Our bodies are meant to move and when we move and exercise, it creates endorphins, which make us feel good. They help to improve sleepand naturally reduce stress, sending a positive feelings through the body.
You don’t need a gym or a trainer, just do what feels good.
So that is what self care really is!
When you combine these activities and practice them daily, it will support your mood, increase your energy and your joy in life. Imagine if you practice self-care for 30 minutes a day. 10 minutes of stillness, 10 minutes of movement, 10 minutes of time in nature, add in a diet that’s rich in whole plant-based foods and that’s a lot of improvement for not much time. It doesn’t have to be done all in one go.
Everyone seems to be time poor. But if you look at time you spend on social media, in front of the TV, on the computer or on playing games, it adds up. Take 10 minutes here and there because self care is important.
Can you do it?
Just fit it in here and there but turn it into a habit that you just do without thinking about it. It doesn’t have to be done in any particular way. There won’t be anyone standing over you saying ‘you got it wrong’.
However you want to do this is perfect for you. Enjoy it and before you know it you will feel the benefits with more energy, better sleep and feeling happier with greatly reduced stress.
Self Care is important
Don’t do this because anyone tells you that you should. Do it for you because you want to improve your life, health and general well being.
Add in a gratitude habit to really jump start your life improvement. When you wake up, before you get out of bed, list a few things, in your head, that you are grateful for. This can start your day with a smile because you feel happier. For the few seconds it takes, the improvements over time can be amazing.
Don’t wait, start immediately, if only with a few minutes of slow breathing.