What does self care mean to you? It is a word that I hear all the time now! As mothers, we are often so depleted that we are running on empty. I have been there, running on empty and realising that I need to do something before I become so burnt out, I can’t function anymore. For me, I notice that I become so irritable, quick to anger, and moody. This is the sign for me that I need to address where I am at. What is the sign for you?
When I am in my clinic, I am often helping women achieve their health and wellbeing goals. A part of this is educating on selfcare. Selfcare is a personal journey, and it is what resonates with you that brings about the restoration that self care can offer.
It is not just about health, it is also about wellness or wellbeing. Self care is not just for the physical body, but also our emotional and spiritual body as well.
What does self care mean for you?
My self care is about reducing stress and bringing the feeling of peace in to my day. I want to bring peace and quiet into my life and I cherish the moments I feel that peace. It may be when I am walking along the beach or in nature. I often experience peace on the yoga mat, resting in between poses or at the end when meditating. Meditation brings peace now however that took many years of practice and perseverance.
What do you need most in your life? And what self-care do you do or could do to bring that into your life?
As an advocate of self care, I feel this is the first step in our health and health empowerment. This is why I want to share my toolbox with you. You see, we live in our own skin, we walk around in it. I don’t walk in your skin. And this is very relevant to anyone offering health advice. This is why you are the expert of your lifestyle and well-being. Healing ourselves begins with change. Change in our mindset, our habits and our view of life if they are not serving us.
Change needs vitality
Change, however, needs energy and when we are exhausted, it is often so difficult to implement change. Have you every started a health kick, only to give in a week or two into it? This may not be because we are lazy, or lack motivation, but it may be because we do not have the vitality, the energy to implement that change. And this is something that may need to be addressed. I often prescribe Chinese herbal tonics to assist with their energy and vitality levels so they can implement the changes they are seeking to achieve.
My self care tool kit
The body has an amazing ability to heal itself. I find it absolutely incredible what our body is designed to do. It’s natural state is homeostasis or balance. The body is always trying to achieve that state of balance. When we experience symptoms, our body is not in balance. It is sending messages to us that we need to change something to remain healthy. Mindset is so important because it can define what we experience. If we don’t have a belief we can change, we don’t even try! I see this in clinic. In the coaching space it is called limiting beliefs. We will have a belief about our health, and this belief may be the make or break in how far we can change our health.
I was having a chat to Lindi yesterday about meditation. It use to be a practice that I would do daily before children. However, it is something I now do as part of my yoga practice, so while it is still most days, it is definitely not the length of time that I use to meditate for.
Meditation is not easy. It is not about emptying your mind of all thoughts. It is about being with your nature, acknowledging how busy our thinking mind is. It is always active. And that is one of the reasons why I meditate with my yoga practice because my thinking mind relaxes. Meditation is an art and it is wise to find a teacher trained in the art of meditation.
Breathing is the ultimate self care practice. Breathing practice is also called pranayama. You may have heard this in yoga classes or meditation classes. The power or breath is very profound. Breathing brings us vitality when it is done properly. Breath can reset our nervous system, taking us out of flight and fright mode into deep relaxation. This is done by making the out breath longer than the inbreath. Many people also breath rather shallow and learning to belly breath, the natural way babies breath is healthier for us.
- Qi building/regulating exercise
What is qi building exercise. Qi is energy, and there are numerous pathways around our body that this energy flows in. Many exercise traditions in Asia build and move this qi. Although you can’t always see it, it can be felt if you learn to build it and become attuned to it. Traditions such as tai chi, Qi gong, martial arts and yoga are all exercises that work with qi.
- Food, fluid and exercise
This really is self explanatory. And trust me I know how difficult it is when you feel exhausted and just want to vege on the couch. And I will at times. But when the feeling lingers that I don’t want to do things for myself, I will make small steps back to looking after myself. For example, instead of doing an hour of yoga, I will do 5-10 minutes. Instead of buying takeaway for dinner because I am too tired to cook, I will go to the supermarket and buy prepackaged salads to go with protein.
- Ring or catch up with a friend
Isolation and loneliness can haunt us as mothers. We are so busy with mothering and working as well, whether it is around the house or in a paid job that we often don’t make time to seek out company of our friends. I know have weekly check ins a a friend or too so I have social connection.
There is a lot more to self care than just these few 4 examples. Journalling fer example is a tool that many people will use. I would love to hear from you. What is in your self care tool kit?