For some of us, it’s an elusive ideal. Something that comes around once in a blue moon. I mean, who really has time to take care of themselves in this crazy world we live in?
For others, it’s something that gets prioritized. Without it we feel run-down, exhausted, overwhelmed. Taking care of ourselves is imperative to a balanced life, and our sanity depends on it.
No matter which camp you’re from, you can’t deny that self-care is important. Whether or not we get around to it is a different story, but I hope to convince you that self-care should be an important part of your daily life.
Self-care helps us manage stress
We know that in today’s world, stress comes from a number of different sources: work, family, relationships, constant connection (i.e. internet), electronics and other unnecessary noise. We also know that chronic stress, or too much stress over time, can have a number of impacts on the body, including:
- Muscle tension or muscle pain
- Lack of motivation
- Indigestion/digestive issues
- Sleep problems
- and not surprisingly, more…
As someone who’s experienced burn-out and adrenal fatigue, I can say that I’ve experienced all of these effects of stress. And after being so run-down and exhausted, I was forced to do the one thing that I wasn’t doing: taking care of me.
How self-care helped me
When I realized what my body needed, I started living a healthier life. I began to listen to my body and understand what it was telling me. I began doing yoga to ease my anxiety. I started go to bed when I was tired, not just when I thought it was “acceptable” to go to bed. I began blogging to give myself a side-project so I could feel satisfied and motivated. Lastly, and probably most shockingly, I quit a stressful job to give myself the opportunity to lead a life that was nourishing to my body and soul.
Once I started to overcome my adrenal fatigue, I began to learn what I truly wanted out of life. I started to make decisions based on things I wanted to do, not things I had to do. I felt motivated, renewed, and refreshed. I felt a sense of calm and peace, as if I was exactly where I needed to be. My anxiety started to lessen, my fatigue dissipated, and tension headaches became a thing of the past.Why? Because I started taking care of myself.
I took positive steps to support my body, mind and spirit so that it could feel energized.
Methods of self-care differ between people
The beauty of self-care is that it can look different to different people. For some, it might be as simple as making breakfast for themselves in the mornings. For others, it includes a 20 minute meditation before bed each night. It doesn’t matter what self-care looks like to you, what matters is that you do it. Carve out time for yourself to make sure you’re giving your body and mind the love and nurturing that it requires, and that it deserves.
Curious to know what I do?
1 | Morning meditation.
I spend 10 minutes each morning in my comfy chair meditating. It’s just enough to take me away from my surroundings and centre my mind for the day. It’s an opportunity to connect with my inner self and check in. How am I feeling today? What do I want to accomplish? I strive for morning meditation every morning during the work week, since it helps ease me into the day without stressing me out first-thing.
2 | Take a work break.
I work a typical full-time corporate job. It’s easy to just sit down and stay in my seat for the next 8+ hours. However, what’s easy and what’s best usually isn’t the same thing. I’ve started taking mini breaks to walk around the building a little during the day. At lunch, I’ve been trying to take actual lunch breaks to give myself a bit of space from the technology and “constant connection”. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen my lunch-break nature walk photo!
3 | Tea time.
I have always found a nice, warm drink incredibly comforting and grounding. It’s like a nice, big hug in a mug. I talked about this a little bit in a past post on how to beat winter woes, but it holds true anytime of the year for me. Again, it’s a moment to myself and it brings me right back to the present. This is something I struggle with on a daily basis, and anyone with anxiety can attest to that struggle.
4 | Regular exercise.
I used to do yoga a couple of times a week, and when my anxiety gets really bad, I try and fit in a few classes just to clear my head. These days I spend more time strength training – when my body feels strong, I feel strong. In all honesty though, I do miss my yoga so I’m going to have to find a way to work it into my life over the next few months. Regardless, it doesn’t matter what exercise I get, as long as I get regular exercise.
5 | Daily sit-down breakfast.
Almost a year ago, I noticed that I was getting random stomach pains at work in the mornings. I couldn’t figure out what they were from, but over time I realized it was because I was drinking my smoothie on the way to work, while driving, and thinking about work. I wasn’t giving my body the opportunity to focus on eating and digesting, so instead I experienced lots of cramping. Since then, I’ve made it a mission to wake up a few minutes earlier and prepare breakfast. During the summer it’s mostly been smoothies, but the stomach cramps have vanished and I give myself a stress-free beginning to the day.
6 | Healthy eating.
This a no-brainer, but I try to respect my mind and body by eating healthy. Filling up with nourishing and energizing foods gives me the ability to accomplish my daily tasks. Too much sugar or junk food plays a huge role in how I feel, and I’m all about feeling good. I’ve cut the crap from my diet and strive to eat in a way that rewards me with energy. Of course, there is always balance. I do have my chocolate each night (yep, every single night), but it’s still 85% dark chocolate so I know the sugar content is relatively low. For me, it’s about making smart choices that take care of my body.
7 | Regular massages.
I schedule a massage once every couple of months. While I wish I could go more often, I prefer that my insurance pays for it and that gets maxed out pretty quickly. Regardless, every single time my masseuse (who is totally amazing by the way) mentions how “crazy tense” my traps are. It’s where I hold all of my stress, and I always endure a few minutes of pain while she tries to work those knots out. Honestly, those knots probably come back again within days, but it’s so worth it to have a half-hour to reset your body. Plus, it’s incredibly relaxing.
If you’re having a hard time prioritizing self-care and need some accountability, click here or the picture below to join my FREE 5-day Self-Care Challenge! It’s the best way to get yourself back on track and bust through stress.