Top 10 Tips For Self Care
Updated: Jan 15
When most people think of self care, they immediately begin to describe personal hygiene practices. But self care is much more than personal hygiene. Remember, we've been discussing that self comprises of three main dimensions: body, mind and spirit which all impact one another. Therefore, taking care of yourself, must incorporate practices across all three dimensions. In today's fast paced world, and especially as a single, busy working mom like myself, it's hard to pencil in yourself. After I got the kids ready for school, dropped them off, put in my eight hours, (many times more), pick up the kids, drop them to their after school activities, travel home in traffic, make dinner, help with the homework, clean the house, feed the dog, I'm absolutely exhausted! All I want to do is crawl into my bed and go to sleep - to do it all over again the next day. It became so easy to put myself last. After suffering many burn-outs, I vowed things had to change. This train wouldn't keep moving without ME. So, I NEEDED to take better care of MYSELF in order to better function, take care of my household and most importantly of all, experience joy out of living. I literally had to schedule ME time and stick it on the refrigerator so I wouldn't forget! Engaging in self care activities really made a difference in my life. It makes me energized to take on life's daily rigours with a positive mindset, thereby, reducing my stress, it keeps me focused on my goals and ambitions and best of all it contributes greatly to my happiness.
I'm pleased to share my top ten list of self care practices that helped me to regenerate and cope with stress.
1. PRACTISE SELF ACCEPTANCE
Television and social media would have you believe that if you don't look like Kim Kardashian or have a bank account to match you're not worthy. EVERYONE is worthy and everyone can add value to the lives of their friends and family and the world by extension. The first thing I had to do to keep depression at arm's length was stop comparing myself to other people, not just celebrities but people in my immediate circles. I had to look myself in the mirror and accept me for me, flaws and all. I admired my strengths and identified my weaknesses. I thought about ways to amend character flaws and really try to work at it. I praised myself for all that I was able to accomplish thus far and made plans to accomplish the things I didn't yet. This wasn't easy as I was accustomed to negative self talk, but my desire to change, to become healthy, to become well was greater and so I pushed through. I needed to, for myself, for my children. I found that repeating my unique self-authored affirmations really helped me accept and like myself even more.
2. ADOPT HEALTHY EATING HABITS
One of the first areas in my life I immediately changed was my nutrition. I recently recovered from COVID-19 and fruits, vegetables and herbal concoctions formed a big part of my healing. It was the third time in my life this trio aided my recovery significantly. I made a vow never to slip back into an unhealthy diet ever again. The foods we eat greatly impact our health and longevity and if there's any singular thing I can do for me and to stick around for my kids, is change my diet. The journey has been amazing so far as it keeps taking me deeper and deeper into the naturopathic world. As healthy foods continue to form the main part of my diet, it makes me feel empowered and closer to God.
Exercising became a critical part of my self care regimen. Eating the right foods put me in the mood to finally start a physical fitness journey. I love walking around my neighbourhood early in the morning. The air is fresh and clean, the dogs are still asleep and the place is quiet. I usually take this time to talk to God. It's the perfect way to start my day as I feel energized and totally de-stressed. Not to mention the pounds are shedding, I'm getting more toned and gaining more stamina. Experts generally recommend 20-30 minutes of moderate exercise a day depending on age and health conditions.
4. BEAUTY TREATMENTS
When you look good you feel good. Working on the outside is just as important as working on the inside. Under-going professional treatments away from home, allows for relaxation, de-stressing, enhanced physical beauty and more confidence. Beauty treatments also have great health benefits. Massages relieve aches and pains and improve blood circulation. Facials clean the pores very well and boost the production of serotonin. Serotonin is a hormone that helps with restful sleep, stabilizes your mood and feelings of well-being and happiness and of course my manicures and pedicures are a must.
5. BALANCE SOCIALIZING WITH ALONE TIME
I'm a natural introvert and I love and value my alone time. Alone time is very relaxing and therapeutic. However, human beings are social beings and at times we need the company of others. Quality time spent with friends and family can make us feel loved, accepted and safe. A stimulating conversation, hearty laughter, a reassuring hug or touch are all medicine to the soul. Make sure to find that balance between socializing and spending time alone.
6. NOURISH YOUR INTELLECTUAL SIDE
Self care is synonymous with self-improvement. This also applies to our intellect. Reading, listening to e-books, podcasts, the news, learning a new language or a new skill are great ways you can develop your intellect. Even doing the cross-word puzzles or playing brainy board games with your kids can take your brain to the gym. Gaining knowledge not only makes you more qualified but also makes you feel proud, more confident, more of a conversationalist and thereby more sociable and more attractive.
Journaling is a great way to express your thoughts and evaluate your feelings especially when there's no one available or trustworthy to confide in. It acts as an avenue to release emotions. I've been practising journaling since I was 10 years old. It's my safe space to vent, to dream, to write my goals and achievements. It's always encouraging to me to read over my journals after a couple of years and celebrate any victories over challenges I faced a few years earlier.
8. TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR FINANCES
When we lose control of our finances it can cause high levels of stress, anxiety, insomnia, feelings of frustration, depression and manifest itself in other physical symptoms such as headaches or migraine, high blood pressure, muscle tension and digestive issues. There's no greater feeling of satisfaction and empowerment than when you dug your way out of debt and now you're debt free. It feels like being released from a prison. No doubt gaining control over your finances goes a long way towards your health and wellbeing.
9. LOOKING GOOD
Our presentation, that is our outfit, hair style, make-up, personal grooming and even our perfume affect our mood and behaviour much more than we care to realize. When we look good we feel good. The fastest way to lift my spirits is to put on a new outfit with my hair and make-up done. Recently, I upgraded my look and bought clothes more in line with my evolving personality. I feel as though the outside matches the inside and it makes me feel comfortable in my own skin and confident. More pieces continue to enter and exit my wardrobe as I continue along my naturopathic journey to constantly reflect who I am at present. When I step out I feel as though I make an honest unwritten statement to the world about myself and people respond accordingly with warmth and respect. This is also showing me that my personal style needs to be adaptable, changing as I change, constantly representing me.
10. TURN PASSION INTO PURPOSE
Nothing brings more joy than doing something you absolutely love, something you'd do for free. For me it was teaching then starting this blog. If you know me then you'll know I'm a very private person. However, life changing situations steered me onto a naturopathic journey I'm absolutely enjoying. I felt an overwhelming responsibility to share what I am learning and experiencing. So, I let go of fear, took a leap of faith, opened my laptop and here I am. As I travel along the holistic health road, I feel closer to God as I learn about the healing properties of nature and how to achieve wellness in mind, body and spirit; and as I incorporate the things I'm learning into my lifestyle I feel that He's pleased with me and there's no greater reassurance and security than that.
Self-care requires thought and effort, but, once you start engaging in self-care activities regularly, it will become like second nature to you. Self-care is one of the most important things you can do for yourself, your loved ones and your friends. Self-care is very personal so try different things to discover what makes you feel re-energized, reassured, confident and happy. Take care of yourself and I'll see you in the next one.