“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. ” – Thich Nhat Hanh
So I googled what self-care was “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.”
Now the definition sounds like exactly what we should be doing, taking action to preserve or improve our health, yet for some reason we find self-care a foreign concept. But at the same time, we get mad or even angry at ourselves and at others for neglecting our health and not looking after ourselves. I know my friends are forever telling me to rest. Why is self-care so difficult, why is this something that isn’t taught to us from a young age? We are told that sugar is bad, fast food will make us fat and move more, but no one tells us to look after our mental health, no one tells us how to relax or even that relaxing is important. No one tells us to listen to our body, instead, we are shamed for taking time for ourselves. That is of course until we break and then suddenly everyone apparently told you that you work too much, burn the candle at both ends etc.
So I thought I would share some of my favourite ways to self-care, after all, health is our most important luxury, something we all take for granted at one point or another in our lives. Most take it for granted until they no longer have it!
Celebrate Small Changes: We love big milestones — weddings, promotions, and birthdays. But what about the small moments? Celebrate that time you aced a meeting, petted a cute dog, saw a bunny in a house window (this happened to me this morning) or you reached out to a friend at exactly the right time. Our lives aren’t made up of the big events but rather the tiny everyday moments that shape our lives and in turn shape who we are. These small things shouldn’t be overlooked because in the end it’s the little things we remember more than anything and they are so precious!
Get 8 Hours of Sleep: Imagine if you slept for eight hours every night this week. You would probably feel rested, awake, and alive. Give yourself that gift, and notice how it changes your life.
Walk Outside: Fresh air and sunshine does a world of good. When you’re feeling down, plop yourself on a bench and take in a natural, serene setting. I am forever at the beach and if I couldn’t go for a walk outside every day I would go crazy within hours. There is something incredibly relaxing about being outside and just breathing in fresh air!
Write a Gratitude List: Gratitude lists bring your attention to the beauty in your life. For an extra-nurturing list, write down the traits you’re grateful for within yourself. It is amazing how differently you look at yourself when you have to write it down! You end up being kinder which is something you have to train your thoughts to be!
Nourish Yourself: Beautiful foods that nourish both your body and your soul set the foundation for your day. Celebrate your time in the kitchen by preparing dishes that help you feel grounded and alive. Cook colourful foods full of flavour, eat your favourite dishes daily and if you fancy a whole tub of ice cream then eat it.
Go to a Yoga Class: Committing yourself to a yoga class realigns your intention, connecting you with your breath and your body. Even if you don’t practice regularly, you can still benefit from a class. I am awful at mediating, but yoga helps with that. It gives me time to really switch off in a way no other exercise does.