It all starts with YOU.
Everyday, we carry some kind of responsibility for others with all the titles we hold. Mother, Wife, Daughter, Partner, Husband, Father, Sister, Brother, Son and the list goes on. Our routines are webbed through multiple expectations in our personal lives, relationships, and career. We tend to forget that we are responsible for ourselves as much as we are for others and once in a while, we can all use a little reminder. Carving out some time for ourselves can seem frivolous or even selfish especially during the busiest of times. Committing to self care will preserve our ability to give and be our very best to the important people in our lives.
Research shows that many people misinterpret self care as luxurious indulgence which leads to feelings of guilt when practiced. The term is widely used but experts say it’s often misunderstood.
What is selfcare?
Self care is about our overall wellbeing - physical, mental, emotional and spiritual- and there’s nothing indulgent or selfish about that.
It is important to remind ourselves that self care is about self-preservation, not selfishness.
The metaphor “You can’t pour from an empty cup” couldn’t be more true.
It is important to remind ourselves that selfcare is about self-preservation, not selfishness.
We’re so often brought up to believe otherwise – putting others’ needs before our own. Yes, that’s important, of course, but we need to learn to recognise when we are crossing the line between caring so much for others that we forget to care for ourselves.
When we forget to care for ourselves, our tank begins to run low… inevitably, it empties. Shudders to a stop with a fair bit of smoke and drama, too, probably.
Did you know that about 35 percent believe self-care is only possible for those with enough money?
Caring for ourselves doesn't have to mean spending a lot of money. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Often, the simplest self care practices are the most powerful.
As we slow down during this season, let’s take a moment to reflect on how it feels when we top up our cups- how do you feel after a relaxing day at the Spa? A lovely meal prepared with care for you and a loved one? A day of slowing down with your favourite book in hand?
This may not come naturally for everybody and if this is something you resonate with, here are some of our favourite ways to practice self care. They are simple yet tried and tested.
Get some fresh air - Ditching the comfort of your home is a great way to improve mental and physical health. Similar to meditation, spending time outdoors benefits the brain.
Try an outdoor workout - Consider taking your sweat session or yoga flows into nature. Research shows that working out in the Great Outdoors boosts self-esteem more than indoor exercise.
Pay it forward - It’s nice to be important, but more important to be nice. By helping others, we actually help ourselves, too. Lending a hand not only boosts mental health, but may also lead to a longer life. Is it truly altruism if you also benefit? Well, you’re making other people happy! You get to be a little happy too and this can positively affect self confidence, self esteem and our general wellbeing.
Breathe the right scents - What we breathe might be just as important as how we breathe. Finding your favorite aromas and having them on hand, whether it’s through candles, infusers, or bottles of essential oils, can help you create an environment that suits your energy and calms you down.
Stress less - Ugh. Stress. We all know the feeling, and if you’ve never experienced stress, it’s very likely you’ve never attended a family dinner. But stress can become a real burden on health if you find yourself in that state all the time.
Be mindful - Focusing on the present - without judging how we feel and what we think — can be both a liberating and healthy practice. This is known as mindfulness, and it has become an ever-more-mainstream practice in psychological therapy.
Be happy - We know. This often seems easier said than done. Happiness feels good - we know that. But it’s also genuinely great for your health. When you’re healthy, you’re happy, and vice versa.
Dance around - When all else fails, do Baby Shark. Or play your favourite music to groove to. Shaking your booty doesn’t just burn calories. It may also lead to improved mood and body image, a better quality of life, a lower risk for dementia, and funkier friends and connections. win-win!
Turn up the tunes - If you’ve ever noticed that certain songs bring a smile to your face, you’re not alone. As it turns out, science has taken note, too. Research shows that listening to happy music helps stimulate creative thinking.
Eat more fruits and veggies - Adding more fruits and veggies to our plate is a great way to practice self-care all throughout the day.
Stick to a clean and natural diet - This goes without saying but we will say it anyway. Choose real foods that provide maximal nutritional benefits. Processed foods tend to taste good and are often inexpensive BUT they usually contain ingredients that could be harmful if consumed in excess, such as saturated fats, added sugar, and salt. These foods also contain less dietary fibre and fewer vitamins than whole foods.
Looking after our wellbeing is not something we should just do if we are feeling low, anxious or stressed. It's actually something we should be mindful of all the time, commit to and really invest in.
Self care is a conscious choice, and not always an easy one, but it leads to a greater appreciation for yourself and inevitably, how far you’ve come which your older self will thank you for. Plant the seed of self care and watch yourself bloom.