Ten Self Care Strategies

Self-Care isn’t about taking reactive measures to addressing feelings of exhaustion, physical depletion and burn out. It is about caring for yourself each day in small measures that add up over time to very big changes to the way you feel, think and act.

The more we care for ourselves on a sustained basis, not only the happier we feel, the more energy we have, the more we can achieve, but importantly, the more we can show up as a better version of ourselves for everyone’s greater good.

Self-care rituals are those things we do that support us to feel prioritised, nourished, loved, cared for, and listened to. When we take the time to slow down and ask ourselves the questions of what would nurture me, what does my body need, and what can I do to demonstrate greater amounts of self-love, then vibrant wellbeing and joy will always follow when we take loving action.

It is important to notice the excuses you may make that stop you from honouring your own self-care rituals. These are the stories we tell ourselves as to why we couldn’t possibly prioritise ourselves or why we don’t take the actions that we intuitively know would nurture our being and are much needed.

To help spur you into action, it is important to remind yourself that the climb back from burn out can be a long and difficult one, with potentially life changing negative consequences that could have otherwise been avoided.

By having the courage to open up to the belief that you are lovable and deserving of your own love and kindness and taking the steps to prioritise your wellbeing, you can change the course of your life and your resulting felt experiences.

1.     Interrupt unhelpful thoughts

Our brains are naturally wired to a negative orientation, as a built in mechanism for protecting us from danger. This stems back to our days as cave men and women living on the land and having to protect ourselves from hungry wildlife. When paying attention, you will start to notice that the first place your minds takes you to when you feel at risk to any degree, is worse case scenarios and negative thoughts.

If we don’t take active measures to create mindful awareness and change the natural negative wiring of our brains to the positive, we have the potential to live a very lack luster and stressful life.

2.     Tune into the felt experiences and sensations in your body

Your body and mind are intimately linked. When our mindset is unbalanced and skewed to the negative, it is almost impossible for us to feel physically well. The same is true if we are thinking positively and constructively, our physical wellbeing is more likely to feel well and vibrant.

The opportunity is to slow down and take notice of how you are physically feeling and how you are treating your physical body. Notice if you are tired and often yawning, sluggish and slow, feeling anxious and overwhelmed. These are all signs your wellbeing may be out of balance.

Similarly, take notice of when you are feeling well, what is happening in your environment and within yourself. What are you eating, drinking, enjoying and what is the orientation of your mind. The opportunity is to mirror what you are doing that is supporting you to feel well as often as possible.

Remember that our emotions are just messages, communicating with us about how we are treating ourselves and what actions we need to take to feel happier and well.

For example, when we feel anxious, it is because we are probably dishonoring ourselves in some way. We may be ignoring our own needs. When we feel overwhelmed, our body is trying to get us to take something off our to do list, as we may have bitten off too much at the one time.

When we question what our emotions are asking of us, or are communicating to us, be open to the intuitive response that arises within. It is easier to tune into the response when you close your eyes and silently ask yourself the question, what does my body need right now.

3.     Speak lovingly, kindly and compassionately to yourself

Most of us speak to ourselves in very critical and undermining ways. It is important to notice your inner dialogue and what it is saying. Ask yourself if you would speak to anyone else you loved in the same way? If not, why is it ok for you to speak to yourself in that way?

Our self talk is habitual and plays like music in the background to our conscious mind. If we are not mindful of how we speak to ourselves, and we speak very critically, then this subtly will erode our confidence and self belief over time.

Choose to speak to yourself lovingly, kindly, and compassionately. Interrupt negative self talk so that over time it will eventually quieten.

4.     Use your breath to de-regulate your central nervous system

Our breath is our reset button. Taking a few deep breaths into the pit of your stomach will ground and centre your energy and is incredibly beneficial to your overall health.

Did you know that taking a few deep breaths releases toxins from your body. In fact, our bodies are designed to release 70% of its toxins through our breath.

Taking 3 deep breaths is the key to resetting your central nervous system. As you take a nice big deep inhale through the nose, with each inbreath try to fill up your lungs as best you can. Have the intention of letting everything go on the out breath through your mouth.

When we add a sigh on the outbreath, we deregulate our central nervous system three times as fast as when we don’t sigh on the outbreath.

5.     Take mindful moments.

Take regular pauses throughout the day. Make a commitment to include a state change in your day every 90 – 120 minutes. That means getting up from what you are doing and doing something different. Even getting up from your desk and making yourself a cup of tea, will help you to reset and refocus your energy.

Notice throughout the day where you have given your energy to and how you are feeling. When we take mindful moments throughout our day, it gives us the opportunity to interrupt any unhelpful habits.

Remember to choose to let go of self induced stress, often fueled by the desire to be perfect and driven by the compulsion to compare yourself to others. If you make a commitment to doing your best, then what more can you ask of yourself?

6.     Spend time with the people who make you feel loved

Reflect on the relationships in your life that support you to feel loved and appreciated and that raise your spirits. Spend more time with the people that when you come away from being in their company you feel happier, more content and joyful as a result.

Stay connected with people who keep you calm, make you happy, provide emotional support and help you with practical things. A friend, family member or neighbour can become a good listener or share responsibilities so that any stress you may be experiencing doesn’t become overwhelming.

The importance of support networks, is that we know we are cared for, have assistance from others. Psychological research has shown that having good levels of social support has distinct health benefits, both physical and emotional.

Social support has been demonstrated to increase psychological wellbeing, including reducing anxiety and depression. The opposite is true too. Individuals with low social support networks experience more symptoms of depression and anxiety than those with high social support.

7.     Develop a healthy sleep routine

When we sleep our body repairs itself internally and our cells repair themselves. If our bodies are not given the chance to repair, all sorts of health issues can rise and over time being sleep deprived can lead to emotional disturbances such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression.

A good night’s sleep will increase your mental focus and reduce inflammation in the brain. It is recommended that most adults have around 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. It is not recommended that adults sleep less than 6 hours or more than 10 hours a night.

To support you sleeping soundly, you might like to put these sleep rituals into practice.

  • Limit the amount you drink in the hour before you sleep and use the bathroom right before you go to bed. This reduces the likelihood of you having to wake up to use the toilet.
  • Avoid using technology, reading, watching TV, listening to music, or doing anything that engages your mind when you’re in bed.
  • Abstain from alcohol and caffeine before bed.
  • Don’t eat or exercise (unless it is yoga or stretching) in the last few hours before you go to bed.
  • Make a conscious effort to go to bed and rise at the same time each day – it sets your circadian rhythm, which is your body clock!
  • Take notice of what contributes to you sleeping well and what interrupts your sleep patterns and adjust your behaviour accordingly.

8.     Choose to nourish your body

Wellbeing looks different for every person. It is influenced by our genetics, body type, life experiences, choices and a range of other additional factors.

When we become conscious and aware of what we put into our bodies and how we feel as a result, it becomes easier to choose those things that nourish our body over those things that don’t.

Wellbeing is about balance and finding the right balance for you, it is about listening to your body and its needs and honoring those needs. It is about choosing healthy options 80% of the time.

We all need a few treats here and there, as that can make life joyful and fun too. So, it is not about depriving yourself of treats, it is about fueling yourself with nutritious options.

Be mindful of letting go of any judgment, criticism and unhelpful comparisons. Instead, put your energy into determining what makes you feel well and vibrant.

Consider your portion sizes, as it is not only about what you eat that influences your health, but also how much you eat.

Research says that it is better for us to eat smaller amounts of food on a regular basis than eating one big meal. This will aid our digestion and will boost our metabolism.

View taking vitamins as an act of self love, rather than seeing vitamins as medication. When you take your vitamins tell yourself you are lovingly putting nutrients into your body. It makes it easier to take the bigger vitamins too

9.      Spend time in nature

Research suggests it’s important to take time in the outdoors and spend some time in nature. Multiple studies have demonstrated that spending time in nature can improve blood pressure, boost mental health, and decrease your risk of cancer.

Did you know that the ocean is a natural energy cleanser. If you dip yourself in the ocean, notice how the saltwater washes away any negative energies.

Being in nature is the easiest way to ground our energy too, particularly after a busy and heady week. Choose to take off your shoes and put your feet on the grass. Consciously feel the earth under your feet to support you in grounding your energy. Intend to breath up the earth energy through the souls of your feet, up both of your legs and throughout your whole body, allowing it to reenergise and rebalance your physical body.

If you need more convincing of the benefits of nature, then take a look at these incredible researched statistics.

Studies show that people immersed in nature for four days boosted their performance on a creative problem-solving test by 50%.

Greater exposure to greenness was associated with a 12% lower mortality rate. The biggest improvements were related to reduced risk of death from cancer, lung disease, and kidney disease.

There is a decrease in both the heart rates and levels of cortisol of participants who spent time in nature compared to those in the city.

10.   Choose Joy

How we feel is a choice. We choose in every moment of everyday what we give our energy to. It is far too easy to choose suffering over choosing joy. To choose joy we need to become mindful of what we are giving our thoughts and our energy to. We need to question why we are consciously choosing suffering, when we can just as easily choose joy.

As creatures of habit, we show up exactly the same way, day in and day out, unless we start to be mindful of ourselves, our thoughts and resulting actions.

The opportunity is to make a commitment to yourself that you will only give your energy to those things that deserve it and ideally lift you up. If you find yourself in suffering, ask yourself, is there any action I can take to alleviate my suffering? If there is action to be taken, then take the action and then notice how you feel. If there is no action to be taken, then consciously choose to let go of the unhelpful thoughts and low vibrational energy.

If you would like support in developing your own healthy levels of self care and self-love on a sustained and integrated basis, then please reach out to me, as it would be my privilege to help you develop these with ease and grace.
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Get in touch for a free 15-minute discovery call.