It’s time to start prioritising YOU by cultivating a healthy self-care practice. There are so many different aspects to self-care, and no, it’s not just a hashtag people use on social media. Self-care doesn’t begin and end with face masks and bubble baths (although, that’s a great place to start). It’s multifaceted and includes things like your physical, emotional, environmental and spiritual wellbeing. It’s vital four our longevity that we prioritise ourselves in these ways and here are just a few ways to nourish your self-care practices.
Your body is a temple and it’s time to start treating it like one. If anything, physical self-care is the most crucial type of self-care because, without it, our body cannot function the way it needs to survive. Start with the most basic of needs: food and water. Fuel your temple with the best nutrition and supplements to thrive. Fresh fruits and vegetables and other ingredients close to their original source are a good way to go. Don’t forget to hydrate! Our bodies are made up of 70% water, some of which you lose overnight when sleeping, so it’s important to replenish first thing in the morning and again throughout the day.
Be mindful to move your body regularly – mobility and endurance exercises are the ones that will support our bodies as we age. This can look like walking, running, biking, swimming, dancing and stretching through yoga and Pilates. Sleep is another huge part of physical self-care and having a routine is essential to getting good quality sleep. You should be aiming for no less than six or seven hours per night, with the magic number being eight hours for most people. And lastly, for heaven’s sake, please keep up-to-date with annual doctors’ appointments, like breast checks, mole scans and smear tests.
Don’t forget to regularly stop and check-in with yourself by diving deep within and asking those hard-hitting questions: Am I happy? Am I feeling true to myself? Am I being fulfilled? It’s important to know and recognise what triggers us and where old habits become negative patterns. Stress management is vital to emotional stability and remember it’s okay to ask for help – we can’t always be everything for everyone and ourselves. Expressing your emotions is a beautiful way to practice emotional self-care. Perhaps you like to journal out all the feels, or maybe talking to a counsellor is more your style. Whatever floats your boats, make sure you’re in a safe environment when doing so.
I never associated my social life with self-care, but it’s an integral part of the puzzle. Engaging with others can look like reconnecting with an old friend, socialising in your community, chatting with a neighbour and, of course, spending time with family. Joining a social club that shares the same hobbies as you, or giving back to the community by volunteering your time, is a wonderful way to fill your social self-care cup. On the opposite side of the spectrum, is what I call social detoxing. Social media has boomed over the last decade and at times can become all too consuming. Life is too short for negativity, so I’m giving you permission to unfollow, unfriend and deactivate. At the end of the day, we all need a support network that is going to make us feel good about ourselves and build us up.
Lots of things can fall under the category of environmental self-care, including your home environment and carbon footprint. A decluttered and comforting home environment creates a safe space for us to rest and reflect. I’ve recently become much more conscious of my consumer behaviours and what impact my carbon footprint is having on the world. We’ve only got one life to live and one Earth to live on, so let’s do our best to keep it beautiful. Start small by recycling your waste properly, then move onto bigger things like utilising public transport more, avoiding single-use plastic, minimising the amounts of clothes you purchase and increasing the amounts of plant-based foods you eat. It’s okay to start small, awareness is key and talking about it with others may also inspire them to change their own ways.
We, humans, are creative beings that need hobbies and goals to keep our minds active. Is your creativity cup be filled? If your answer is no, try looking outside the box at new ideas and things that could be of interest to you. What inspires you? Maybe learning the language of a place you’ve always wanted to travel to, or a new skill like painting, knitting or cooking. Does your career spark joy? It’s never too late for a change of scenery and pace! A large chunk of personal self-care is self-worth – one of the most foundational elements of being human. Without self-respect and self-worth, we do not have boundaries. Having clear boundaries is so important because we often allow them to become blurred lines. Ask yourself, what are my boundaries? Do I have a healthy work environment? Is my home a place of comfort? Am I kind to my friends and do they reciprocate that same kindness?
Spiritual self-care is all about reconnecting with thyself. It’s about coming back to the core that is your heart and soul, your way of life. What are your values, morals and ethics? What do you believe in? Do you believe in yourself? Do you trust your instincts? I like to practice spiritual self-care my allowing myself “me” time every day to sit and be with my thoughts, and although I don’t make it onto the mat every day, I’ve been loving incorporating more yoga into my life. Some other ways you might like to practice spiritual self-care is by grounding in nature, praying, meditating, or journaling out your thoughts and feelings. Everyone has their own style of spirituality, you’ve just got to find a way that feels the most authentic to you.