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Activating Self-Care: don't forget the Essentials

6 min
September 7, 2020

We have talked about how journaling can improve your self-awareness, the power of positive self-talk, the remarkable effects of having a dedicating morning routine and the valuables you gain out practicing meditation.

The next and last article of this practical guide to self-care is important to make everything work.

What I am about to share with you is nothing new or revolutionary. It is part of our life from the day we were born. But what often happens is that when we are too busy with our daily hectic life that we forget how important is to pay attention to these fundamentals we are about to discuss.

I have bundled them as the Essentials and they are part of the foundation to practising self-care:

Rest and Sleep

Good Food

Play

Love and Support

For short periods we can balance one or the other out, but if we do this continuously, and on the long run this will have a negative influence on the connection we have with ourselves. Often they can activate triggers which can invoke negative self-talk, low self-esteem, feeling agitated and stressed.
Being mindful with these Essentials can help you improve the relationship you have with yourself and your overall wellbeing which will resonate towards your surroundings.

Rest and sleep

Waking up fearing your alarm clock and feeling already tired does not help you to start the day on the right foot. Everything just needs more effort than necessary. ‘You don’t want this. You just want to stay in bed and sleep!’

Having a good sleep on a regular basis will have a positive effect on your health and overall wellbeing. You feel mentally stronger and have more resistance to factors which can cause you stress. You can benefit from this by changing your evening routine. You can still do what you like to do by this time of the day as well as getting more time to sleep.

There are great apps available nowadays to help you support a better night and sleep routine. I like to use the bedtime feature on my iPhone which tracks my sleeping hours according to the time-frame I set as my bedtime. You can set a personal bedtime reminder to help you finish what you are doing and smoothly transition to your bedtime routine. Here you can switch to the unwinding part of the day by doing something that invoke calmness and rest. Like brushing your teeth, washing your hands and face, reading a few pages in a book or writing some positive things about your day in your journal.

If you want to optimize your rest you can choose to meditate or listen to a Yoga Nidra session. This form of yoga helps to induce sleep and is a great option when you are having some trouble falling asleep. For such yoga practises I find the app InsightTimer very useful as they have many different Yoga Nidra sessions and a great variety of guided meditations.

If time allows, try to sneak in a power nap during the day. Feeling tired is a signal from your body and where possible honor this. All it takes is 10-20 minutes out of your day, but make sure you set an alarm clock! Tell yourself you are going to rest for this limited period of time and visualize the benefits of this power nap.

Good Food

Good nutrition is important for a healthy mindset, to provide the right fuel to your body and nurture yourself.

A nice bag of crisps, your favourite chocolate bar, muffins, cookies, ice cream, fast food... This and so many more are all so tasty. But what else do they give us other than an instant shot of sugar happiness? Not much, on the contrary after a moment of a high sugar intake we are back at square one and often feeling even lower than before.

When you feel tired, stressed and emotional you have less resistance for all this "goodness”. For example while buying groceries after a day of work. You want something quick to satisfy your hunger and that will lift your energy level right away. Or you are just too tired to cook and order something quick like pizza or burgers. Sure, once in a while it's okay but if this happening too often you are not helping yourself to feel good long term.

Make sure you create time to support yourself making homemade meals and eating healthy, non-processed and fresh foods. These foods will help you sleep better, feel good about yourself, manage your stress level and be able to perform throughout the day.

Play

This could be a heavy work-out session at the gym, going for a run, dancing in your house or playing some nice game at the park with family and friends. Whatever you do and what your body can do let your heartbeat go up and sweat.

Run and jump around free, let all the tension go and enjoy the practice or game. Your mind will relax, you are having fun and you will feel the tension go away from your body. Being playful like this helps you to stay in touch with your body. We need this relationship to make sure we are giving our body the right attention and care it needs.

Do you find it difficult to find a sport or game you like to do? Think back to the things you enjoyed when you were a kid. A few years ago in my hometown, they started a so called "old school sports club" which basically were activities based on sports and games which we used to practice in the '80s and '90s in school. This turned out such a success!

What kind of sports and games did you enjoy? Perhaps you can still do this or find something related to that.

Love and Support

Nurturing relationships with people you care about is so important to feel connected, and gives you a sense of belonging. Emerge yourself with people who energise you rather than pulling you down. Enriching connections help you find inspiration, joy and the support you need in life.
Being with others helps you reflect on your life and enjoy the endless forms of love. Invest and dedicate time for each of the relationships you have. The one you have with your partner, parents, siblings, friends and so forth.

All of the Essentials are connected with each other. For instance, the reason you don't sleep well is perhaps caused by not creating time to work-out and release all the tension in your body. Or you might have been so busy and hadn't had the time yet to call a friend and tell about your day. All the these factors can lead to unhealthy eating habits. It's all intertwined

This is your life. Why not get the most relaxed, comfortable, loving version out of it?

Do you feel you could use some help and get clarity in gaining control over the Essentials in your life? Life Coaching can help you with that. I would be more than happy to have a chat and show you how. Book your Free consultation today!

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