By The Wild Women On Top Coastrek Team
For some of us, the idea of self-care doesn’t some so naturally. Particularly if you’re a mum, you may be used to putting everyone else first, often relegating your own care to the bottom of the to-do list.
But in fact, the concept of self-care has nothing to do with selfishness.
What is self-care?
Self-care is the practice of taking care of your needs, which may be physical, social, emotional or spiritual. From how you treat your body through movement, nourishing food, rest and relaxation, to the thoughts and ideas we have about ourselves, self-care looks different for everyone.
Self-care is an important part of leading a healthy and happy life, because when we feel good, we are better able to care for others.
When you are feeling happy, well rested and energised, you’re more patient with your kids, partner and friends. You’re more likely to perform better at work, cook more nutritious food, take time to exercise, maintain a healthy environment and positively impact the world.
When you don’t take time for self-care, your health, and the health of those around you, suffers.
How to practice self-care.
Self-care can be difficult to practice in reality. Much of our culture tells us that self-care means buying more stuff – from pedicures to face masks to diet plans. #TreatYourself has, in fact, become the opposite of self-care, convincing us we need to consume before we are able to accept and love ourselves.
If you’re not sure where to start, we’ve put together some practical ways you can practice self-care, so you feel happier, healthier and more vibrant.
- Find time each day that’s just for you
This will look different depending on your life stage, but you need some time every day that is yours. If you have young kids, this may be five minutes in the shower or on the loo (if you’re lucky!). Others may be able to carve out an hour or so to go for a walk, take a bath, meditate or take a yoga class. Whether it’s five minutes or 50 minutes, being present and in your body during that time will do wonders.
If you have trouble making time in the day for yourself, consider signing up for a goal or challenge which forces you to do so. You’ll be amazed at how much time you can make if you really want to!
- Appreciate yourself
The way you speak to yourself matters – truly. If you spend all day with an internal dialogue that tells you you’re not good enough, you need to turn down the volume. This may require seeing a therapist to help you manage your thoughts, or you may find some time walking in nature does the trick.
We love the thought-swap technique, where you routinely practice swapping a negative thought for a loving one. For example, if you have a thought that says: “OMG I hate the way my bum looks”, you may replace it with “WOW, thank you bum, for getting me up that hill, supporting me when I sit and allowing me to dance!”
This won’t be easy at first but do it often enough and it becomes a habit. In time, you may find that speaking positively to yourself is one of the easiest ways to appreciate yourself!
- Spend time with people who love you
Spending more time with people who love and support you is a self-care and heath activity. Sunday morning walk with the gals? Don’t mind if I do!
Seriously, you don’t need to feel guilty about spending time socialising – surrounding yourself with people who love you is an important way to feel connected and part of a community.
If you’re still looking for a supportive tribe, try joining a team or community that helps you make new friends that bring out the best in you.
- Learn a new skill or get a new hobby
Getting a new hobby that involves outdoor movement, such as hiking, sailing, surfing or cycling, is one of the best ways to actively practice self-care and build resilience.
Achieving goals – no matter how small – fosters a sense of accomplishment and this makes us feel good! This might mean getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new!
- Do something for someone else
It sounds counter-intuitive, but one of the best ways to practice self-care is to love and care for others. Why? Because by improving the lives of those around you, you begin to appreciate your immense value in your community.
Whether it’s giving your partner a foot massage (without expecting one in return), fundraising for charity or paying for the next person’s coffee, doing something kind for someone else will help boost your mood, self-esteem and self-care.