What is Self-Care?
“The practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.” - Oxford Languages
With levels of stress, anxiety and burnout on the rise we are becoming more aware of the importance of self-care. However, why is it that 'me time' often makes it to the bottom of the to-do list? And why do we feel guilty when we put ourselves first? We need to stop with the guilt, imagine the analogy of a cup - when we participate in self-care we are filling up our cups, which in turn we can use to help fill others. But we can’t pour from an empty cup. So if you’re ever feeling guilty about taking time for self-care, know that its contributing to giving the world the best version of you.
We all deserve self-care, its not something that needs to be rationed, saved for special occasions, it should be scheduled into every day. Even if it may feel like precious time that could be spent doing another task, just taking a break and providing yourself with some respite will help improve productivity in the long run.
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” - Jack Kornfield
We have so many distractions and priorities, it can feel like we don’t have time for ourselves. It’s so important to reestablish boundaries to make ourselves a priority and take time to pause and re-charge in between the work and chores.Self-Care is also about listening to your true self, pausing for long enough to hear your inner voice. What we need is very individual, and learning what works for you is so important.
Here are a few things that have helped me:
In my blog about the Present Moment I discuss my Morning Routine - if you haven’t had chance to read it yet I’ll summarise. Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod is 6 activities to do first thing in the morning, which will help set a positive and productive mindset for the rest of the day. These activities involve: exercise, reading (or podcast), meditation, journalling, affirmations, visualisations. Putting aside 45 mins - 1 hour to complete these activities has been game changing. Starting the day with intention and structure has been a way to dedicate time to me before I get swept up in the busyness of the day.
Approximately 60% of the human body is made of water (Healthline). How much should we be drinking? A basic guide is between 2-2.5 litres of fluid a day or approximately 10 cups. Water is so important, from removing waste products in urine, lubricating joints, helping control temperature and transporting nutrients around the body (Bupa). Keeping myself hydrated is super important, I know that if I'm dehydrated I feel headachy, tired and often hungry. I recommend having a big glass of water when you wake up (yes before your tea and coffee), this replenishes after a night without hydration.
Sleep affects both your physical and mental health. We all know the feeling of only getting a few hours and the detrimental effects on our body and mind the next day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) an average adult requires between 7-9 hours sleep per night. Of course, thats not always possible, for example if you have a young baby, but if it is in your control then don't waste hours on Netflix clicking next episode. Prioritise your health, put down the laptop and try to get in your 8 hours of shut eye.
As a workaholic my work / play ratio is a little off balance - but Im working on it. This element of self-care is going to be very different for each individual, for one person it might be a long soak in the bath, for another it might be a morning run, or drinks out with the girls. Depending on who you are and what relaxes and rejuvenates you. For me I love to go on long walks in nature - in particular a coastal walk where I can hear and see the sea, and also a gentle yoga class is excellent way to help unwind.
I’ll be holding a Self-Care Retreat in September, 2021. This will involve yoga, meditation, foraging walks, flower arranging workshop and more, held at Manor Farm, Upton Cheyney a working farm nestled in the Cotswolds between Bath and Bristol. Both day and weekend options available.
For more details sign up HERE.