What is self-care?
Self-care is the practice of ensuring we are looking after ourselves physically and emotionally. This helps us navigate through life easier.
Whilst the self-care phrase has been mocked for just being about candles and baths (both of which I love); it is fundamentally important to make sure we are giving ourselves what we need.
Stresses about our families, finances, work all play on our minds. Eating badly, sleeping badly, becoming dehydrated and not exercising enough affect our physical health.
So how can we put self-care practices in place?
Our lives fluctuate and so it’s important to think about what we need to help with the situations we are experiencing at that moment in time. We are all individuals and our experiences are different so it’s important our self-care practices reflect what we need. In a previous post, I put together a self-care audit template so you can work through areas to focus on.
It’s important to then think about what self-care practices we can put in place to help and how we can do this realistically. What self-care isn’t, is a stick to beat ourselves up with. For that reason, I would choose only a few practices to put in place at any one time.
What are good self-care practices?
Nutrition: I find the advice about nutrition overwhelming and busy lives can make it hard to eat well. I try to start the day with a smoothie (2/3rds green veg and/or beetroot and 1/3rd fruit) so I know I’m getting some vitamins. I buy frozen fruit to save time in the morning. I also find taking my lunch to work helps. It’s very hard to eat the perfect diet and our bodies all metabolise food differently. I would choose one thing to start with such as cutting down on takeaways and then take it from there.
Dealing with stress: stress is an inevitable part of life. However, it’s important to understand the physical and mental impact it has on us. Try to rest and yes, take a bath or light a candle. Think about a mindfulness practice and download an App such as Headspace or Andrew Johnson to help. Look at ways you can minimise what is causing you stress – although admittedly, sometimes it’s out of our control and we need to just be kind to ourselves.
Good sleep hygiene: sleep is essential for our physical and mental wellbeing. Going to bed at a regular time; switching off phones at least an hour before bed; avoiding alcohol and making your bedroom a sleeping sanctuary should all help.
Give yourself permission to focus on you: there is a saying ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup’ and it’s so true. Sometimes we are so busy focusing on other people, we forget to take care of ourselves but being depleted means we can’t give either. Do something for yourself even if it’s just taking a short walk or sitting down with a coffee.