I’ve been focusing a lot on self-care recently on my social media posts and its importance, I feel, cannot be highlighted enough. Self-care is not about self-indulgence or being selfish; it simply means taking care of yourself so you can be healthy and accomplish the best from your life and care for your loved ones. When asked the question “Do you take care of yourself?” most of us will answer “yes” but could you name many ways in which you do?
Self-care is something we do to look after our physical, mental and emotional health. It is the key to our sustained well-being to reduce stress and anxiety and improve mood. It is also vital in maintaining good relationships with those around us and, crucially, our relationship with ourselves. Self-care isn’t something we force ourselves to do like a diet or exercise regime. It can only ever be enjoyable; something you want to do. That doesn’t mean it can happen without effort as there will be some initial planning.
Start small. Don’t overwhelm yourself with too many changes at once. Over time you will find your own routine and rhythm as you identify other forms of self-care. Begin by focusing on one or two things.
Plan your self-care. Put your activities in your calendar and let your family and friends know your plans to seal your commitment.
Be mindful in your choices. Your self-care is unique to you and not a box-ticking exercise. If you truthfully don’t feel it will bring you joy and do you good, then don’t do it!
Avoid negativity. Limit or even eliminate the negative aspects of your life. Reduce your media intake, surround yourself with people with more positive energies and do what you can to help others.
Play, dance and sing. Do at least one activity each day that brings you pleasure and make sure there are plenty of opportunities to laugh!
Look after your physical health. A nutritious diet, plenty of quality sleep and physical activity are all integral to your self-care. Get any concerning health issues checked by your GP.
Spend time in a natural environment. It is well known that getting out in nature boosts our sense of well-being. It is an antidote for stress by lowering blood pressure and stress hormone levels and improving our mood.
Stop. Choose a calming space and spend a few minutes just bringing your focus to the present moment. You may wish to meditate using one of the many mindfulness apps for guidance, or just close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you.
De-clutter. It can be surprising how much stress and anxiety a cluttered home can cause. Having a good clear out is wonderfully therapeutic.
Complementary therapies such as reflexology provide invaluable support for your mental, physical and emotional well-being by reducing stress and increasing serotonin levels. When the body is calm, nutrients from your food are more easily absorbed, your metabolism functions optimally and sleeping pattens improve. A reflexology session also provides you with ‘time out’; your own special hour that is all about you and your bespoke, holistic treatment plan.