How can we maintain and develop our wellbeing and support ourselves to feel vital, energised and enthusiastic in every day life?
Self - care is as important as ever, especially when our normal routines may be disrupted and our worries and stresses may be higher than normal.
There is a lot of talk about self-care these days and the NHS now considers it one of the top priorities of health education due to the rising costs of illness and disease.
So what is Self-Care?
The key word is the word 'care'. Care is being considerate, understanding, non- judgemental, supportive, sensitive, maintaining, protective, observing something in detail and responding to it. Do we offer ourselves this in our everyday life? Do we save our 'care' for others and not ourselves?
Self-care is continuously and consistently looking at what supports our whole body and what does not, based on the feedback we get from all of the body.
Whole Body Self-Care makes the whole of our body's wellbeing a priority, considering all of the physical body as a whole plus the mental or emotional aspects.
They are all connected and vital to consider when it comes to us being fit for life, meaning that we are able to deal with all the stresses and strains of everyday life without getting exhausted, burnt-out, constantly stressed or anxious.
How we feel about ourselves impacts on our posture, everyday movements and habits and all of these factors influence how we feel about ourselves so everything is connected in one cycle!
Neglecting or ignoring our wellbeing in one area of daily life can have a ripple effect in all areas.
Whole Body Self-Care avoids us doing something that might seem ok for one part of the body but may be harmful or detrimental to another part e.g. drinking alcohol to relax our mental stress but this actually puts more stress on our kidneys and liver.
Busting some Myths around Self-Care...
Self Care is not selfish and in fact the more we take care of ourselves the more we can usually support others.
Self - care is also not something that takes up a lot of extra time. Yes there are certain things we can do e.g. gym, walk that we do need to set aside time for during the day. However just being aware and making adjustments to all of our daily movements and our posture as we go about our normal everyday tasks can be self-care and takes no extra time at all!
Reflecting on our self-care practices and making it a whole lifestyle experience considering all aspects of our life, is super supportive and allows us to grow, refine, develop and learn along the way, as we build a strong, steady 'Foundational Health'.
So how do we do this? Well read on for Eleven Top Tips to bring more self-care into your life.
Tip 1: Make space for you
With the many commitments we take on in life, the ‘you’ can get lost in the tick list of what is next to do. Making space for you in your day is essential. Be it to sit down to drink a cup of warm tea in the morning, stretching when getting out of bed, preparing your clothes and lunch for work the night before, taking time to connect with your breath and being still in ‘stop’ moments in the day.
Practically you can place a reminder on your phone or computer each hour to reflect on your posture and breath. These regular check-ins can be very supportive. A few moments for yourself in the day goes a long way..... be it a stretch, a rest a meditation, or a walk.
Tip 2: Listen to the signals from your body
Our bodies are constantly communicating with us and constantly letting us know how they are feeling about whatever it is we are doing. They are an up to date encylopedia of information about our health, wellbeing and lifestyle balance and they can give us a wealth of knowlege about what is supporting us in life and what is not.
For example chronic stress can show itself in a variety of ways be it nervous fast movements or postures, fatigue, skin conditions, aches and pains, digestive issues etc. We can over-ride and distract ourselves from these messages of course but this usually results in further problems down the track as the body has to 'turn up the volume' to let us know that how we might be living may not be in balance or harmony.
Tip 3: Get support
Building more self-care into your life can be a challenge if you have not been used to doing it, so don't try and do it on your own. It can be supportive to have a good team of practitioners you can trust to help you understand what your body might be telling you and how you might be able to make changes. These can include your GP, Physiotherapist, Nutritionist and other complementary health practitioners who may have the skills and experience you need. If you need support reach out and make it happen. See our website for further information about our one-to-one services and workshops.
Tip 4: Rest & Sleep well
Make space in your day to rest. Have a lie down on the sofa for a few minutes during the day. Even if you don't sleep during this time, stopping and resting can make a big difference, especially if we stay body and breath aware.
A healthy rest and sleep pattern allows the body the necessary time to replenish, heal and regenerate. If you are feeling tired and fatigued, go to bed earlier rather than pushing through. Experiment with what is the best time for you to wake up in the morning and go to bed. If we don't sleep well, it is important to look at the whole cycle of the day, including our morning and bed time routines. There are lots of things we might be able to do to support a better night's sleep.
Tip 5: Eat Well
There is a temptation to eat food that offers you a quick energy boost (such as highly processed carbohydrates, fat and sugar) especially if we are feeling a bit low or tired, but it is important to nourish and replenish the body by eating food that really supports you. Pay attention to how certain foods makes your body feel after eating. With honesty and observation, we can enable ourselves to make food choices with more care and clarity that will in the longer term offer a sustaining and enriching impact on our bodies’ health.
Take a look at A Nourishing Life FB page for ideas and tips for making cooking fun, affordable, simple and nutritious produced by Samantha Mooney, qualified Nutritional Advisor.
Tip 6: Get Some Fresh Air
Getting some fresh air can have a supportive impact on how we feel. Whether we live in the countryside or the city, either stepping outside or opening up a blind, window or door can make a big difference to how we feel. Feeling the breeze on your face, looking out up at the clouds, letting some light in, can shift our mood and get us feeling lighter and less tense, both physically and emotionally. We can begin to feel isolated due to staying inside our homes so staying in touch with the outside world is super important.
Tip 7: Exercise Well
Being physically active can be very beneficial for our whole body health. Be it a gentle walk, an exercise class or other aerobic exercise, a stretch…Allowing the body to move and not just sitting down for long periods supports our lymphatic and circulation system, our mental wellbeing and our musculo-skeletal health.
Not all exercise is the same and not all exercise works for everyone. Listening to your body will mean you will be able to develop a personal exercise routine that works for you.
Work on staying committed to your exercise routine and if you have never had an exercise routine...don't worry..it is never too late to start! Whether you need to change your exercise routine or are ready to begin a new routine, it is great to get support to get started. Contact us if you need further advice and support.
Tip 8: Hydrate
We may consume beverages with caffeine and alcohol or eat salty foods all of which can dehydrate the body. Even if this is not the case, it is very important to drink enough water. The body needs to maintain a good fluid balance and dehydration can have a significant impact on the body in the short and long term. If you do not like cold water, leave some at room temperature or even try it boiled, or try a herbal tea or decaffeinated alternative.
Tip 9: Be honest
Reflecting on our habits with honesty, means we look under all the stones and look at why we have certain habits and how they do or do not support us. We also can appreciate what is working or the commitment we are making to support our health & wellbeing. This exercise is not about being hard on ourselves. It is just a reality check on where we are at and then committing to working from there. This is where listening to the body comes in handy as our bodies are always very honest with us.
Tip 10: Be Breath & Body Connected
We can very quickly get lost in our thoughts and 'to do' lists...which can mean that we are not in the moment and we are not with our bodies. Being with our bodies simply means we are in the present moment and we are picking up on how the body feels. This can be about keeping warm, stretching out, going to the bathroom when we need to, heading to bed when we are tired. This is the foundation stone of Self-Care and it is well worth practicing and exploring. Being more aware of your body in every day activities and also practicing a simple meditation to help focus your awareness can be great supports here.
Tip 11: Reflect and Appreciate
Reflecting on life is a great tool... as one cycle completes another one begins. There are constant signs and messages to observe and keep learning from. Self-care never ends and never stands still. Reflect, write, ponder, keep deepening in your knowing of yourself and your body.
Appreciate your body. Appraise and appreciate relationships that support you, including the relationship we have with ourselves. Appreciate the moments you chose to self-care and take responsibity for your own health and wellbeing.
Offer yourself the gift of Whole Body Self-care and see what blossoms.
We offer online focused Wellness Programmes either 1:1 or in group workshops to develop healthy lifestyle habits and routines. If you feel like you are ready for a change or want to feel more energised and less tense, get in touch and find out more.
* This is a sharing to enhance wellbeing, it is not meant as a replacement for medical advice. If you do have a concern regarding your health or a health condition, please first contact your GP or a health professional.