“Selfishness or a daily Non-negotiable?”
When I think of self care, the first thing that comes to mind is sitting in bed on a Sunday morning (preferably when it is raining outside, so I don’t feel guilty) with my kindle, a ginormous cup of tea and a piece of warm avocado toast. That is definitely my happy place and something that brings me great joy. I try to fit this morning ritual into my weekends as often as possible and as part of my own self care ritual.
Self-care is rarely talked about and often gets laughed at by all the super busy folk who never prioritise their own needs.
I decided to raise this important topic after spending time at the Gwinganna Health Retreat, where you could say I spent the whole time focused on my own self-care. We learnt to listen to our bodies, to take time to rest, to have fun and ultimately give our bodies exactly what they needed. No wonder I came back glowing.
The sad truth is, majority of us spend all our time caring and worrying about others and so our own self-care is left to languish. Am I getting any head nods?
Why can’t we place importance on our own wellbeing first. We’ve all seen the airplane safety demonstration where we get told to first secure our own mask before moving on to help others. I’m sure we all agree that this makes sense; that we are no help to anyone else, unless we first help ourselves.
What Self Care means to me?
When I think of self-care I think of taking time each day to stop and re-center myself. To listen to what I need and then try to make time each day for those needs.
My self-care comes in various forms such as beach walks, getting fresh air, cooking wholesome nutritious meals, reading a book, taking a bath and/or going to Pilates. All these things make me feel happy, relaxed and help to re-center my mind.
When I don’t take time for self-care, I can get overwhelmed and stressed, so it is definitely a must for me. It keeps me balanced, makes me feel happy and allows me to multi task without loosing my mind (haha).
Self-care is an essential part of my day and the repercussion of skipping this isn’t pretty (poor Matt). So in order to be my best, feel my best and look my best I have developed a list of my top ten self-care practices. I hope you enjoy them, and learn to add one in each day to keep you at your best.
“Everyone needs to make sure they take care of themselves; they need to make their own well-being and happiness a priority in their life. If you don’t, who will?” – Terri Orbuch
So, lets get going. I have narrowed down my favourite self-care practices to help you access your needs and then most importantly to prioritise these needs. Its all very well to know what you need, but if you don’t actually book that massage in or clear your schedule, you’re know better off, are you?
My Top 10 Self Care Methods
- Schedule. Each week I pull out my diary and make sure that I schedule in time for myself. It can be daily 15-minute pockets or perhaps larger chunks throughout the week. It doesn’t matter how much time you schedule just as long as you schedule it. I find that by booking my self-care in as an appointment means I am so much more likely to honour that booking. A lot of us will push aside our self-care when things get busy. But the times when you’re about to pull your hair out because you’re juggling a million different things at once are the exact moments you need some self-care (like immediately, right that second go and run a bath!!).
- Learn to prioritise yourself. If we don’t value ourselves, of course were not going to priorities ourselves and put our needs first. I love to get my clients involved in positive affirmations. One of my favourite affirmations is “I prioritise myself” and it’s really that simple. The only thing is you have to regularly repeat this to yourself and of course believe it.
- Have dreamtime every afternoon. I loved this time at Gwinganna, it was time where we were allowed to rest and recover from the busy morning. Dreamtime is such a beautiful word and it describes a time where we just indulge ourselves. It is really very important to make time each afternoon just for yourself. You can’t keep zooming ahead at 100 miles per hour without crashing sooner or later. A break like this just gives you a momentary traffic light pause in the day, to stop and breath.
- Learn to Breathe. When I’m feeling overwhelmed or anxious a few deep breaths is normally all it takes to re-center my-self. Your breath is a powerful tool and when used properly i.e. big deep belly breaths, not tight, short breaths, you can immediately calm your body and return it to the PSN (parasympathetic nervous system) response. This is the body’s “rest and restore” state and is where we should spend most of our time. The truth is where stuck more in the SNS (sympathetic nervous system) response, which is when our body is stressed. Take time each day to stop and take 10 deep belly breaths. Don’t you already feel relaxed?
- Move you’re sexy butt. I think exercise is one of the most important tools for self care. You know why? Because it makes you feel fantastic!! No one ever finishes a hard workout and says “I wish I had just stayed home in my PJ’s and watched re runs of Friends on Netflix”. What most folk really say is “ WOW I feel A-MAZING!!!!. So kick that butt into gear and stop making excuses. You know just as well as I do that the dirty dishes are not an excuse for missing exercise. They aren’t going anywhere and you can get to them when you’re done with you’re walk.
- Get Social. I know that strictly speaking this isn’t time just for you, but how often have you booked in with a friend all stressed and practically fizzing with anxious energy to leave feeling calm and relaxed after a big laugh and catch up. Sometimes all it takes it switching the mind off your own issues and talking about something completely different to give your body time to relax and get out of its SNS mode and into PNS mode. And really who needs an excuse to talk about ‘Bragelina’ over a cup of coffee with your girlfriends. Not me.
- Have a big hug and cuddle. This is one of my favourite self-care practices, especially if it involves snuggling up on my bed or couch with my beautiful kitten Bacio. I’m sure you’ve all experienced how happy and relaxed you can feel when around animals. They love you unconditionally and sometimes we need to be around something that won’t judge us so we can just relax and be ourselves. You can tick off two things at once here by taking your dog for a walk along the beach. You’re getting double the self-love that way and I’m sure you’re furry animal will be forever grateful.
- Treat your senses and pamper yourself. Humans often crave different tastes, textures, smells etc, so why not light a candle, get a facial, rub your body with a scented moisturiser or a scrub (I love coconut oil + ground coffee) or eat a piece of 85% dark chocolate. All these things are relaxing and help make us feel pampered and special. Did you know that chocolate releases endorphins and makes us feel happy and relaxed? I do love me some chocolate, especially if it’s the really dark bitter kind.
- Be silly. This is one of funniest yet most underrated self-care techniques. My favourite is to crank the music while I’m in the kitchen cooking and dance around like a crazy person. Yes I just admitted it but let me tell you how relaxed and happy you feel once you just let go and been a bit silly. Another one is to play with your kids, nieces or nephews. I’m sure they will love you for it and a game of what noise does an animal make, will be bound to bring a few laughs and release the tension from the day.
- Cook yourself some healthy food. I left this last as it’s my favourite . At the end of a busy day, getting in the kitchen and being connected with food makes me happy. I love the feeling of being in control of what I’m eating and knowing that I am doing the very best for the body by cooking a home cooked, nourishing, plant based meal. You’ll also find me during the weekend having a little play around in the kitchen and experimenting with foods. I find this fun, relaxing and a great ‘Me Time’ activity.
(photo is of my Creamy Kale Salad)
So these are my top ten self-care techniques and I try and use some of them each day to keep me at my best. I hope you’ll take one or two and add them into your life.. We all need to practice more self-care, self-love and ‘Me Time’ in order to be the best versions of ourselves, so why not start today. Sit, shut your eyes and take 10 deep belly breaths. You’ll feel amazing and its really that quick and simple to practice self care.
I’m constantly posting my own self-care techniques on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, so if you’re not already following me start now and be reminded to put yourself first and to stop and listen to your body.
I’ll end with a lovely self-care quote by Kim Boivin, a registered clinical counselor who states that;
“We are interdependent so what I do to take care of myself has an impact on all who I interact with. When I care for myself, I care for others better too.”.