How to practice self care

2 May 2018

Dear Friend, 

As a busy working mum I find that I often put others first, the kids, hubby, my work, colleagues, even the dog. Offering my time, compassion or kindness to others comes naturally to me but when it comes to myself I can be very critical or disregard my own needs.

We all have moments in life where we feel lost. The final straw for me was receiving the news that my father-in-law was terminally ill. I realised that I had lost my motivation that I felt disconnected from the people around me and from myself. I made a promise to myself at the start of 2018 that I would be kinder to me by practising more self care. I decided it was time for a change...

Reasons why self-care is crucial for a healthy lifestyle

  • Promotes work-life balance: Taking breaks, setting boundaries, and avoiding over-exertion can help you stay focused, motivated, and healthy. 
  • Manages stress: Engaging in self-care helps to reduce the effects of stress, boost your mood, and increase your energy levels.
  • Improved resistance to disease: There is evidence that most self-care activities activate your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) so, with better self-care often comes fewer colds, cases of flu and upset stomachs.
  • Enhanced self-esteem: Practising self care means you treat yourself like you matter and have intrinsic value. 
  • Increased self-knowledge: Practicing self-care requires thinking about what makes you feel passionate and inspired can help you understand yourself a lot better. 

Watch this brilliant TED talk from Dr Guy Winch: He makes a compelling case to practice emotional hygiene — taking care of our emotions, our minds, with the same diligence we take care of our bodies.

I did not want to start something that would put more pressure on me. I needed to find ways to practice emotional first aid that would fit into my busy day. Here are some useful ideas that I am trying out.

Self-Care Ideas you can use every day

  • Listening to music
  • Taking a home spa. Have a long bath or shower, sit around in your bathrobe, and read magazines.
  • Holding/stroking a pet
  • Keeping a daily journal
  • Letting yourself cry when you need to.
  • Having a good Laugh.
  • Singing along to a song
  • Keeping up a daily meditation or mindfulness practice
  • Reading
  • Walking in nature
  • Making a daily list of 5-10 things that make you feel grateful
  • Affirmations
  • Photographing things that inspire you
  • Dancing to your favorite song
  • Going for a walk
  • Napping when you need to
  • Saying “no” 
  • Getting to 7-9 hours of sleep per night
  • Making a date to have lunch or dinner with a great friend
  • Reaching out to someone you haven’t seen in a while
  • Joining a group of people who share your interests
  • Fixing a small annoyance at home that’s been nagging you—a button lost, a drawer that’s stuck, a light bulb that’s gone
  • Unplugging. Switch everything to airplane mode
  • Editing your social media feeds, and take out/mute any negative people
  • Asking for help
  • Planning a weekend break. Turn off your phone, tell people you’ll be away, and then do something new in your own town or somewhere else

Incorporating some of these ideas into my everyday is helping me to feel more in-tune and I feel having a positive impact on my emotional well being.

How do you practice self care?

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