As you may have noticed, health and wellness are things that are very, very important to me. And the one thing that I have learned in my quest for them is that there is no finish line.
Health and wellness are states that are obtained through simplistic living, healthy lifestyle change and continuous growth.
One thing that I have been thinking about a lot lately is self care.
As a Mother, I am often so overcome with responsibility for the care of others and chronically short on time that I have incredible difficulty remembering to take care of myself properly. If this happens, then my ability to be the parent and person that I want to be is more difficult.
I have found that the following ways of practicing daily self care take very little time, are easy, and have powerful rewards in all aspects of life.
Create A Ritual from Something you Enjoy
For example, if you have a tea or coffee before you start your day, try and make that activity as relaxing and as enjoyable as possible. Try and be present in the moment while you are doing this. This can take very little time at all, the key is mindfulness.
Personally, I have 3 kids, but I find time to have a tea every morning, and despite the hectic business of the morning I try my best to take a few moments to just focus on the feeling of the cup in my hands, or the patterns in the tea when I splash in the creamer. It takes a lot of practice, but if you become good at this trick you can begin to feel more grounded even with just a few moments here and there.
Turning off electronics such as the TV, computer or cell phone can be an incredibly powerful method of attempting to be alone with yourself and your thoughts.
With technology today, it seems that we are never truly alone, or able to truly complete a thought without interruption. Additionally, even things as seemingly mundane as the news can have negative impacts on mental well being when there is a clear bias towards reporting about negative events (and it seems that there are no shortages of these).
Furthermore the rise of social media can create situations where we are comparing ourselves to others, and having a completely unrealistic and totally filtered view of the world.
An essential part of self care is to take care of your own mental health, and try to limit your exposure to things which may cause mental distress. Now to be clear- no one is suggesting that you do not stay current with news or socialize with others online, however it is important to take little breaks to focus on your own thoughts and practice mindfulness.
Be your own best friend
This is something that I will probably struggle with for as long as I live. Have you ever heard the saying about “being your own worst enemy”? This was certainly true for most of my life. As someone who has struggled with anxiety, I have often been harder on myself and tend to strive for perfection that I would never in a million years expect from any other person.
This results in a situation where you become a “toxic” influence on yourself. The problem with this is that there is no way to get away from yourself. So this manner of thinking leaves your mind absolutely flooded with negativity, which diverts your energy and mental resources from bigger (and more productive) things.
An essential part of self care is to replace the negative self talk you have with positive or more realistic thoughts. The method that I have used to combat this is to apply my negative self talk towards others instead of myself. For example, if I am thinking “Everybody is judging me and thinking I am unworthy because I am overweight” (and yes, I have actually had ridiculous thoughts like these), I turn it around and think “How many people can I think of that I judge and view as unworthy based on weight?”.
Because its total nonsense!
Discover Your own Self Worth
Throughout my life if I had any destructive habits (smoking was a good example), I have always found it easier to try and make self improvements (like quitting smoking) because it would please other people rather than because it would improve my own life.
For example, whenever I would start to eat healthy or try to get into better shape, I found it easier to keep it up when others were around rather than just for me when only I would know.
The key to changing this pattern was to find my own self worth.
I had to make the realization that doing it for me was just as good (if not better) than doing it for anybody else. Now that I am back to having a healthier lifestyle which includes clean eating, I find it easy to keep it up when no one is looking based only on the fact that I will know.
I have finally come to a place where I realize that taking care of my own health and wellness is a worthy investment, because I am worth it.
Practicing self care, and trying to reverse my negative self talk played a huge role in this change.
Prioritize your Physical Well Being
This is the boring part that we all know, but one of the most important things for self care is to make sure that you are resting when you need to rest, eating good food which is healthy for your body, and getting some time to get some exercise and fresh air.
My own motivation for getting proper exercise used to be to lose weight, however after I adopted a clean eating lifestyle and tried to get at least 10000 steps per day, my mental health and overall well being improved so drastically that even just memories of this time is very motivating for keeping it up in the future.
Reconnect with Nature
You may notice that this was also one of my 5 steps you can take today to be happier tomorrow but I cannot stress the importance of this enough!
I am fully convinced that this is the missing link in the modern world, and something that is deeply beneficial to humans.
Breathe the air, get your hands dirty, or explore the natural world with your kids (if you have them).
|My Little One Exploring Nature|
There is an absolute wonder in the world around us if we only take the time to enjoy it, and doing so can provide a peacefulness and value that we all could use.
Although it can be hard to find the time to practice self care, it is a worthy investment of your time and energy, and can ultimately make your life run more smoothly in the future.
How do you practice self care?
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