Why Self Care isn’t just a Buzzword
By Allison Riehs | Naturopath
With all the competing commitments of everyday life, it can be difficult to make time for ourselves.
In fact we’ve become such a busy and productivity-driven society, many of us feel guilty at the mere thought of ‘me time’.
As a Naturopath, I like to remind clients of the oxygen mask process on aeroplanes.
Before take off, flight attendants remind us to fit our own mask before helping others in the event of an emergency.
And we should apply that same philosophy to life.
We can only help others if we help ourselves first, so the role of self care in our personal and professional lives is vital.
What is Self Care?
Self care is about taking time out of your busy schedule to focus on your mind, body and spirit. And self care looks different for everyone. For some, self care might be a weekly soak in a hot bubble bath, while for others, it might mean getting to the gym. Perhaps it’s as simple as making time to meditate one night a week before bed, or prioritising your health with the help of a naturopath. Self care shouldn’t feel like a chore or something you need to force yourself to do. It should be enjoyable, rejuvenating and pleasurable. Do you have a method of self care in your routine? What does self care look like for you?
Why is Self Care important?
Research has found self care is important for our physical and mental wellbeing and self care is especially important for people in caretaker roles. Our energy reserves are drained by every new commitment we take on, so it’s important to replenish that energy and recharge our batteries by doing something for ourselves. Improving our wellbeing with self care also has a flow on effect, helping us to better manage our commitments and establish a healthier work-life balance. Getting adequate food, sleep, rest and exercise positively impacts our overall health, so it’s important to give ourselves that nurturing to avoid burnout.
When should you practice Self Care?
Ideally, we should always be looking after our mind and body, but it’s especially important to prioritise time for self care when life throws extra challenges our way. Whether work or study is extra busy, you’re juggling multiple commitments at once, or you’ve fallen on hard times financially or healthwise, it is so important to make time for yourself. That’s easier said than done when faced with extra stressful situations, but that is when we need it most. Rather than risk putting it off until you ‘have time’, create time by scheduling self care into your week and sticking to it.
Everyone is unique, so my idea of self care might look very different to your own. It’s important to discover what works for you, and schedule it into your routine to break up those busy days and weeks. Even simple mindfulness or meditation can work wonders for getting more restful sleep, helping you relax and wake feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
Practical ways to Practice Self Care
While getting enough sleep might sound obvious, ensuring you get enough quality rest is vital to your body’s wellbeing. Experts recommend adults should sleep at least seven to nine hours every night, but very few of us actually do. Scheduling sleep so that you go to bed at an appropriate time will help ensure you receive enough hours of quality rest, giving you the chance to recharge.
Exercise isn’t just about getting fit and losing weight. While rigorous workouts are good for your health, even a daily walk or other light activity can stimulate endorphins, reduce the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, and boost the immune system.
Switch off the television and put your phone on silent. Taking some time out for mindful grounding and breathing exercises before bed can help with quieting a busy mind and reducing stress. Meditating for just 10 to 20 minutes a day can have profound health benefits, while helping to clear your mind so you can be more focussed where it counts.
Setting aside time for a yoga session can work wonders for strengthening your body, improving flexibility, reducing back pain and even lowering blood pressure. There are plenty of online options for doing yoga in the comfort of your own home, or consider attending a class for some professional guidance.
Self care doesn’t always have to involve doing something – maybe for you it’s about doing nothing. Whether you want to catch up on your favourite TV show, read a book or simply lay under a shady tree and watch the world go by, enjoy it!
- Get Outdoors
Australia might be the sunburnt country – but many of us aren’t getting enough sun. Almost one third of Australians have inadequate Vitamin D levels and Vitamin D deficiency has become a worldwide health epidemic, exacerbated by indoor jobs and sedentary lifestyles. While it’s important to avoid dangerous and lengthy sun exposure, getting outdoors to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine is important for good health.
Everything we eat plays a pivotal role in our energy levels and overall health. Not only do you need to eat the right amount, you need to choose the right foods too. Busy schedules can make it difficult to prepare healthy meals for you and your family, but taking the time to choose healthy and nutritious wholefoods can be well worth the extra effort.
Many of us could do with a helping hand when it comes to health and wellness. Consulting a naturopath can be a great way of receiving professional support for your health goals, while staying accountable to your self care commitments.
- Music & Podcasts
As the universal language for love and leisure, music can help take your mind off a stressful day. Or, if you want to learn something new while you relax, consider downloading podcasts that discuss and engage with your interests and hobbies.
Ready to prioritise your self-care? Book an appointment with Allison today!
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