Self-care is one of the most important and most forgotten prescriptions for health and wellness. So, what is self-care and how can you implement it? Self-care looks different for everyone but always involves taking time and space to take care of yourself. It’s about asking what you need and choosing to include it in your daily, weekly or monthly routine. It’s about allowing yourself to feel nourished, relaxed, recharged and even pampered - without the guilt.
I’ve asked many clients “what do you do for you?” and am often met with confusion. Many of us are so busy being everything to everyone else, whether that’s our spouse, friends, parents, children or employer, that we forget we are a priority too. Maybe we’ve been told it’s lazy to lay on the couch sipping tea and reading a book all morning or indulgent to get a massage or buy yourself flowers - I disagree. It’s okay, and I argue necessary, to speak to and treat yourself with the same kindness and compassion you give to the people you love. If we focus on others and never ourselves feelings of resentment, stress and exhaustion are likely to affect our relationships in the future. In our fast paced “go go go” society the type A or yang energy and personality is idolized. It’s just as important that we appreciate the slower paced yin energy that involves quiet and calm.
In fact, statistic show that regular caregivers have increased risk of developing a chronic illness. You can’t be there for anyone else if you aren’t there for you. Activities that calm and relax us activate our parasympathetic nervous system or the “rest & digest” system, counteracting the stress response. In parasympathetic mode our digestive function increases, muscles relax, heart rate slows & blood pressure decreases allowing our body to relax and repair.
Got it! Now What?
Self care looks different for everyone. For me self care is yoga, reading, cooking and of course bubble baths! Self care for me also means saying no sometimes, allowing the time I need for me. Self care for you may be tea with a friend, paddle boarding, swimming, deep breathing or meditation, exercise, music, journaling, taking a class (maybe photography, pottery, language or knitting), a daily lunchtime walk, spending time away from your phone and computer or treating yourself to flowers, a new book or a massage. Only you can decide what self care means to you.
Self care does not leave you more tired (this eliminates a night of excessive drinking - sorry guys!) Surround yourself with people that are supportive. If this is a drastic shift sit down with the people in your life who are important to you and explain what you’re doing and why. Start to take note of people or situations that leave you more drained and decide what needs to stay in your life, providing self care for yourself before or after situations that can’t be avoided.
You Are A Priority
No time? consider your priorities and things that may be taking your hours without nourishing you. Are you zoning out in front of the TV, scrolling through social media or going to events you don’t enjoy? Make self-care a priority, schedule these activities into your calendar the same way you would a doctors appointment - it’s just as important for your health!
Bringing it to life: Try choosing one self care goal this week, for example: “I will get up 30 minutes earlier so I can have a leisurely breakfast and a relaxing start to my day.”
In Love & Bubble Baths,