“Self-care is not selfish or self-indulgent. We cannot nurture others from a dry well. We need to take care of our own needs first, then we can give from our surplus, our abundance.” Jennifer Louden
Life can be busy, demanding and stressful. With ever increasing demands from work, family obligations and life in general, we may feel the consequences of not taking adequate care of our physical, mental or emotional health. We can end up feeling drained, depleted, stressed and out of control.
For some, self-care may seem like an impossible luxury. You may be running at a thousand miles an hour, never catching up and the thought of self-care may even seem selfish to you.
Self-care is not a luxury, it is ESSENTIAL. We cannot operate from an empty vessel so ignore any warning signals from your body, mind and spirit at your own peril. If we do not take the time to fill up our vessel, we will have far less to offer others including those closest to us.
If self-care is being avoided, your body-mind-spirit will start to flag up this lack. Initially the signals may be subtle but if ignored, over time, the messages will get louder and louder. You may experience anger, frustration, fear, impatience, lack of energy, illness or injuries.
The key is to understand when we feel unbalanced and to identify self-care strategies that work for you. We need to understand what helps to restore and nourish us. This may be different for each individual but developing your self-awareness can help identify what works for you.
Here’s a list of self-care activities. See what resonates with you and add anything that makes your heart sing. We have a deep inner knowing so take the time to connect with your heart to understand what your body, mind and spirit are calling out for.
- Eat healthy fresh foods – Plant based foods or those closer to the sun (less processing) will have greater energy and health inducing qualities. Eating a nutrient packed diet can help you be more productive, reduce stress, ensure that you are healthy and help you to live longer.
- Get sufficient sleep each night – The recommendation is 6-8 hours per night and make sure that you switch off devices several hours before bedtime as the artificial blue light affects your circadian rhythms and melatonin levels which can disrupt the quality of sleep.
- Take regular exercise – Find something that you really enjoy and commit to it on a regular basis.
- Get outside – Sunshine and sunlight are hugely beneficial for our health and wellbeing. Sunlight can help with the production of Vitamin D which the body can store for about a month. Regular exposure to sunlight, particularly in the winter months, enables the body to maintain levels of Vitamin D.
- Maintain your social networks – Social support and social interaction have a positive influence on our physical and mental health. It helps lower stress, depression, anxiety and also highly affects our endocrine-immune system. We are social animals so positive social interactions are hugely important.
- Laugh! – There’s nothing like a deep-rooted belly laugh. Laughter is known as the best medicine. It can help lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormone levels, improve cardiac health and trigger the release of endorphins. No wonder it feels so good!
- Meditate daily – Developing a daily meditation practice can be hugely beneficial. Your life will become calmer and clearer, it helps to lower blood pressure, helps to reduce stress, your mind becomes clearer, you will be able to achieve more and you will feel amazing! You may feel that you don’t have the time to meditate but start off with 5 minutes and increase your practice over time. You will find that extra time will open up for you as you deepen your practice.
- Get a massage – A soothing massage can help you unwind. Massage is known to help with reducing stress, pain and muscle tension. It’s a perfect way to dedicate some time to yourself in order to replenish and nourish.
- Cultivate hobbies – A hobby is an activity that you enjoy. Hobbies can enhance your well-being and give more meaning to your life. It’s a chance to connect with ourselves and to explore our creativity.
- Develop mindfulness – Mindfulness is developing a moment-to-moment awareness of our experiences without judgment. Mindfulness can help reduce stress, improve focus, decrease emotional reactivity, improve empathy and compassion and promote a better quality of life.
Go ahead and find out which self-care strategies work for you. These may change over time but make a start.
Here’s a gentle reminder: Take care of yourself today.
“Taking good care of YOU, means the people in your life will receive the best of you, rather than what’s left of you.” ~ Carl Bryan, Tennis Coach
“Self-care is a divine responsibility” ~ Danielle La Porte
Sign up to my monthly e-newsletter here for updates, events, blog posts and a free monthly meditation download.