When you hear the term self-care, what idea or image comes to mind?
Is it a day of pampering? A trip to a day spa for a two hour massage followed by an afternoon tea with scones and champagne? Or is it something simpler like kicking back with a glass of red, a good book or the latest episode on Netflix?
For most of us, the idea of self-care sounds like a luxury, something we’d all love but just can’t have right now. Something we would do if we weren’t so busy, if we weren’t so concerned or preoccupied with helping others first, or worried about what others might think if we DID do something for ourselves.
The art of self-care is very important for our mental and physical health. With the chaotic lives we lead today, and the demands we have placed upon us (and that we place on ourselves!), our bodies are under strain and in a constant state of stress. Mental tension leads to physical tension, creating chronic inflammation and oxidative stress within our bodies.
The result? Our immune systems weaken, allowing viruses such as colds and flus to creep in unannounced and spoil all our plans. Our hormones go out of whack as our body remains in a consistent ‘fight or flight’ mode, leading to glucose and energy imbalances. We may crave sugary foods, put on excess weight or struggle to shift it despite the hours we spend at the gym.
So how do we fix this?
The key to optimising our wellbeing, balancing out our hormones, elevating our moods and dealing with the stresses of modern life in a healthy and proactive manner, is self-care. By integrating self-care practices into your daily life, you will not only survive but thrive; being the best version of yourself, and in turn, sending the message to those around you that self care is allowed.
7 Ways To Kick Start Your Self Care Routine
1. Begin a mini-meditation journey. Find a quiet place away from distractions and give yourself a few minutes of mindful me-time. Set aside one minute to notice your thoughts, feelings, and sensations, one minute of focused attention on breathing; and one minute of awareness of the body as a whole. You can also try apps such as Headspace or Omvana.
2. Get fifteen minutes of sun, especially now with the weather cooling down. (Just don’t forget your sunscreen, please)
3. Oxygenate by taking three deep breaths. In through your belly, and let the air puff out your stomach and chest.
4. Give your body ten minutes of mindful attention. Use the body scan technique, focusing on each part of your body and how it feels.
5. Indulge yourself. Do one thing today just because it makes YOU happy.
6. Date night for one. Spend an hour alone doing something that nourishes you and only you - reading, going for a walk, a swim, practicing your hobby, visiting a museum, a gallery, etc.
7. Create a home spa. Have a long bath or shower, sit around in your bathrobe, and read or watch Netflix.
It is important to recognise what self-care looks like for you. Not everyone likes a candlelit bath and face mask. Perhaps you’re more of a meditation kind of gal, or maybe putting the phone away an hour before bed is all you really need to nourish soul. Own your self-care routine, prioritise it each week and watch your stress start melting away.
She Glows Student Blogger - Vivian Pan
Passionate about food and nutrition, Vivian decided to hop off the corporate ladder after 10 years as a fashion executive to devote her time to starting a new business in providing healthy and nourishing food choices that are delivered door to door. Having had formal culinary arts training at Le Cordon Bleu, Vivian is now pursuing a Bachelors in Nutritional Medicine with hopes of creating more sustainable food options for people. When she’s not in the kitchen creating recipes, you’ll find her cafe-hopping around Sydney, and around the world in search for the best “buddha bowls”. Catch up with her at @rawkphish on Instagram