Self-care is the first step to wellbeing and is the first thing we focus on in the program. Adequate self-care is critical, as we are unable to connect to our body and listen to what it needs when it is lacking. Self-care is about listening to our gut, respecting and caring for ourselves, being true to who we are, developing wisdom and trust, and doing what is right for us and us only. Recognising how important we are and learning to accept every single thing about us is also key. We need to make looking after us a priority first before anything else. We can do this by;
We can do this by;
Creating the life that we want to live by doing the things that we want to do - not feeling pressured into doing something just because we feel like we should.
Learning to honour and cherish every little thing about us, as they are the things that make us who we are.
Listening to our heart and being who we want to be, not who we think we should be.
Respecting our body with nourishment and care through gentle nutrition, fun movement, relationships, nature and mindfulness.
Having compassion for our weaknesses and not being so hard on ourselves.
Treating ourselves with respect and kindness –just like the way we would with a friend or a loved one.
Discovering what our needs are and finding ways to meet them.
Listening to our heart and trusting our inner wisdom.
Realising that we are unique, and that no one knows us better than we do - we are the expert of ourselves.
Self-care is more than just getting our nails done and having a massage (even though these do play a role). Basic self-care is ensuring that our physical and emotional needs are being met, and that our stress levels are being managed. Adequate self-care is critical to wellbeing as we are unable to really connect to our body and listen to what it needs when our self-care is lacking. It is about practising self-respect and self-awareness and having compassion and understanding of ourselves. When we are in the throes of deadlines, overworking, and running around like a headless chicken, our body’s biological fight on- or flight survival kicks in. This means the basic functions of our body switch off which makes it hard to hear what our body is truly needing.
Sleep. One of the most important parts of self-care is getting enough sleep. Aiming for 7-9 hours a night is key. It’s important to remember that we are all different and some of us may need more, or less sleep. But rested, plentiful sleep will boost positive emotions and enable us to function optimally.
Moving our body for fun. Exercise is an important part of self-care. There is a misconception that exercise needs to be strenuous and hard work which is simply not true. You get the same health benefits from moderate types of movement as you do from a strenuous gym class . Finding fun ways to move your body daily is key as you are more likely to stick to it. Have a think now of some of the ways you enjoy moving your body and start incorporating them into your day.
Journaling. Journaling is a powerful way to give clarity and perspective to our thoughts and feelings as they arise. They enhance our self-care as they help with our self-esteem, stress and anxiety. Journaling also boosts creativity and lets us have some much needed me time. Try for one entry a day or every few days – whatever works best for you.
Relaxing. How much time do you take to truly relax each week? When we don’t take time out to relax and destress, our cortisol levels remain high, which affects the neuro-transmitters in our brain as well as our hormones and our appetite. Stress can also lead to increased body weight  and we are more likely to crave less nutritious foods under stress. Set aside some time each day to practise a self-care relaxing activity. Even if it’s just 10 minutes. This can be anything from making your favourite cup of tea, having a bath, going for a walk or doing some light stretching. Do one thing each day just because it makes you happy.
Laughing. When was the last time you laughed so hard you nearly cried? Do something each week that makes you laugh, whether it’s watching a funny movie, a YouTube video, or going to a comedy show. Laughing does wonders for the mind and soul. Studies show us that laughing as part of self-care boosts positive emotions and decreases stress ,
Spending time with the people who mean the most to you. Prioritise time for all the important people in your life as part of your self-care routine. These are the people that give you meaning and purpose in life. Spending time with them is nourishment for you.
Getting spiritual. Yoga, meditation, being out in nature and practising breathing and mindfulness will help you connect to yourself and the present moment. This boosts happiness levels and life satisfaction and is a fundamental part of basic self-care. We will delve deeper into this throughout the program.
Setting boundaries. Setting boundaries with your personal and working life is key for self-care. Book a holiday, have a lunch break every day and start saying no to the things you don’t want to do. I know this can be tough, but once you start setting boundaries it does become easier- I promise! We will also go into more depth in the work-life balance part of the program.
There you have it, your 2019 self-care guide. If you'd like to receive more health and wellbeing tips, then you can sign up for the BYBF newsletter here. You can also follow Be You Be Free on Instagram and Facebook.