Self care is the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness.
Think about it, we are bombarded with stressors every day - waking up to a beeping alarm, rushing out the door to get to work or taking the kids to school, sound pollution from cars, being stuck in traffic, just dealing with the every day grind of life. These stressors, when they continue to build up can be detrimental to our health. But its not as if we can go live on a deserted islands somewhere, we must function in the world. Self-care is vital for building resilience toward those stressors in life that you can't eliminate, So of utmost importance is to practice them daily.
Self care practices are something I aim to teach my clients on do on a daily basis, as they are vital to ensuring a healthy mind and body. You could being eating a diet rich in super foods, taking all your supplements and herbs, but if your not taking time every day to de-stress, unwind and show your body some love and care it deserves, the stresses of everyday like will continue to wreck havoc on your health.
So here are some daily practice you can incorporate to ensure you are taking care of yourself:
1) Starting the day with some warm lemon water - Lemon water in the mornings assists with the natural rejuvenation and detoxing that your body has done over-night. It also ensure you start the day with hydration and sometimes this simple yet powerful thing will set the scene for the rest of the day.
2) Fuel your body with healthy, organic, produce that will nourish every cell in your body - I don't think I can every say this enough "you are what you eat" and I mean that literally, our cells are made up of the nutrients we consume from food. Food is information for our cells. SO think, what information am I giving my body everyday?!
3) Exercise - moving your body everyday - even in small ways is super important for self care. Exercises oxygenates our cells, improves moods and ensure healthy circulation of blood. Even 10 minutes of gentle stretching at night will be beneficial to health.
4) Spend time in nature - The best time to get outside and be in the sunshine is first thing on rising in the morning. Our brain has an expectation to get sunlight light, this sunlight affects our hormone production in particular stopping the production of melatonin (our sleep hormone) and start the production of serotonin (our happy hormone). Even just 10 minutes a day in your back garden is enough to get the amazing healing power of nature. Why not have your warm lemon water outside from now on!
5) Screen time limits - gone are the days of 9-5 work hours, we now have access to our work lives 24/7, and this is impacting our health in tremendous ways. We basically live in "reaction mode", where every time we hear a "bing" we instantly respond, regardless of the hour, or whether we have clocked off from work. Not only that, but we are OBSESSED with social media. Never before have we spent so much time looking at what everyone is doing with their life, rather than living our own life! This constant attachment to screens is terrible for our hormone production, in particular at night, when the blue light from screens will effect the natural production of melatonin, impacting our sleep. I have a rule, which I like to suggest to my clients, 8pm every night my phone goes off, I can not longer take calls from clients, answers messages or emails or look at social media. Since starting this, I feel invigorated, I have soo much time for other self care practices.
6) Journalling - allows people to clarify their thoughts and feelings, thereby gaining valuable self-knowledge. I also love to suggest to clients to write down 3 things they have felt grateful for that day, even the the simple things in life, like hearing the sounds of the bird song, or catching up with a friend!
7) Epsom & Himalayan salt bath - Epsom salts are rich magnesium, which is imperative for our nervous system. Having a bath, even a foot bath at night with some beautiful essential oils, helps to relax the body and nourish the nervous system.
8) Self massage with essential oils - this is an incredibly powerful way of relaxing the body and preparing it for rest and sleep. Especially great after a shower, when the pours are open, using essential oils like lavender, sandalwood, ylang ylang & frankincense is a beautiful way to get the oils into the blood stream and feeling their calming, grounding effects.
9) Diffusing essential oils - another incredibly powerful thing to do anytime of the day is diffuse essential oils. Never underestimate the power of oils, they are the quintessence of the plant and affect the limbic (emotional) are in our brain, helping to enliven and inspire, calm and sooth, uplift and energies. Really any emotional need can be met with a powerful essential oil. I love to use citrus bases oils during the day to uplift and inspire and earthy bases oils at night to calm and ground.
10) Reading a book, watching an documentary or uplifting program - I love this aspect of self care, now that we've turned our phone off earlier we can spend time reading a book or watching a documentary on health, which will inspire us to continue on our journey to health and vitality. I have signed up to Food Matter TV https://www.foodmatters.com, which has an absolute abundance of documentaries that will inspire.
11) Sleep - sleep is probably the most important function for our body. It is absolutely vital that we get quality and quantity sleep. This is the time our brain and body repairs, regenerates and allows all those things we learnt that day to sink in and make new pathways. Getting to bed at a good time is a self care practice that may take some time to develop. The ideal time to go to sleep is between 9-10:30pm, as the hours before midnight are worth 2 of the hours after.
The above are just a few of the many self care practices you can use to start creating habits that will ensure you continue to live your best life. Always remember "you can't pour from an empty cup, fill yourself up first".
In health and happiness Sarah Emily Herbalist