SELF CARE AT A GLANCE
The term “self care practices” often involves a set of activities that helps to improve one’s health or state of mind. The term is also used to depict other scenarios quite often, which may not necessarily be in line with the essence or objectives of caring for one’s self.
Do we really understand what it means? It is human nature to practice the basics such as maintaining good feeding habits, bathing, grooming, and suiting up in the most lavish attire possible, but we tend not to understand that caring for ourselves goes beyond the physical.
Self-care revolves around our overall well being, physical, mental, and emotional. It is the practice one indulges in, or the lifestyle changes that we make to help us live fulfilled lives, keeping stress at bay.
It is a deliberate and well thought out activities to keep our mental, physical and emotional health flourishing at all times. These practices help to relieve stress, symptoms of anxiety, depression, lift one’s spirit and helps one appreciate life’s circumstances.
The interesting part is, self-care isn’t just centered around an individual alone, it often extends to those around them. You must have heard the saying “self-care isn’t selfish”.
When you fully invest in your mental and physical well-being, you undoubtedly become the best version of yourself which directly impacts the people in your life.
How does Self Love Translate to Self Care?
Love in itself is an expression of emotions that borders on actions of care. Let’s explore ten essential self-care practices that will help you live the life of your dreams. Remember you do not have to break the bank or have ample time on your hands to practice self-care. Sometimes it is the little things that truly matter.
- DITCH THAT COFFEE AND DRINK WATER
Drinking water early in the morning helps to boost your energy level by supplying oxygen to the brain and increasing your red blood cell counts. This will help in keeping you firm on your feet and alert throughout the day without feeling like your day is such a “drag”.
On the physical side, it helps to increase the elasticity of your skin making it radiant, supple, soft and brighter in complexion. And since skincare is a core feminine beauty regime, you should start drinking water first thing in the morning.
It also helps to boost your metabolism, flush down toxins from your body, ease joint pains, muscle aches and headaches. Drinking water is an indispensable technique for self-care.
- KEEP A DIARY
Writing down your thoughts and feelings can prove beneficial in helping you relieve stress or anxiety symptoms. You can input your daily activities in the journal, right down to the littlest things that happened or things you thought of.
Every thought counts. Sometimes, the therapy is not in talking to people about how you feel, but in writing it down and reflecting on your words after. You are bound to notice a considerable and drastic improvement in your mood when you put your thoughts into words. It is a great way to preserve memories and unburden when you are down in the dumps.
- CULTIVATE A SENSE OF GRATITUDE
Thinking back on the little things you are grateful for can immensely lift your spirits. This works even better when you wake up in the morning or just before you go to bed. Make it a habit to mentally note three things you are grateful for each day and watch your outlook on life take a turn for the better. Better still, put these thoughts down, as you can always go back to those notes when you need to be reminded why your life is worth living.
Being grateful for the smallest things will make you more driven towards happiness. Cultivating a sense of gratitude shouldn’t stop you.
Meditation is an age-long technique that involves mindfulness. It helps you put your thoughts in perspective by observing them as they drift through your mind without judgment. It helps you to fully focus on the moment, the here and now without getting distracted. It also helps you to paint negative events in positive colors.
You learn to discipline your emotions through meditation. It also has tremendous health benefits such as increasing blood circulation, lowering blood pressure, relieving anxiety and generally relaxing the mind. There are different methods of meditation, such as repeating a word or mantra continuously or staring at an object without flinching for a specific period of time.
As with meditation, yoga is also an age-long ancient practice that originated from India. It involves training both the body and mind by stretching the muscles and taking very deep breaths.
Yoga helps you maintain a good posture and good bone health. It is also good for the heart and a great way to relieve stress. Enroll for that yoga class today and discover the wonders of your own body. You can go with a friend or your partner, which makes it all the more fun. You just might start sleeping better, be in a more jovial and relaxed mood and no longer feel tired as easily as you used to when you begin carrying out Yoga exercises.
- GET ENOUGH SLEEP
As simple as this might seem, most of us tend to have irregular sleeping patterns. It is either we are sleeping really late and getting up very early or sleeping for a very few hours. Sleep deprivation is actually a thing and it is detrimental to health.
Sleep helps your brain relax by getting rid of toxins, strengthens memory and build neural highways. When you do not get enough sleep, all of these functions and more are inhibited. This can cause huge lapses in your mental health, increase your cortisol (stress hormone) levels and generally impede your physical health.
A good and regular sleeping pattern keeps you invigorated and refreshed. When you’ve had a good night’s sleep, you wake up refreshed and ready to take on the world. You meet everyone with a smile and life is good.
- TAKE A BREATHER
It is important to actually step back from the crazy routine in your life and have a quiet time. Even if it is just for five minutes. Simply zone out and take deep breaths. For extra effect, you can step outside and take a walk while you admire nature or the steady buzz of human activity.
Research has shown that spending time outside helps you sleep better at night, lowers your heart rate, boosts the immune system and reduces the chances of your stress level increasing. So once in a day, take a break and just walk outside, preferably in the evening. Allow yourself to see the beauty in the world.
- NOURISH YOUR BODY AND SOUL
Self-care isn’t complete without good food. Don’t just feed your body, feed your soul and mind too. Make eating a fun thing to do, and watch yourself grinning from ear to ear due to mind-blowing inner happiness. Instead of just cooking to eat, cook for fun.
Enjoy the process. Lookup a new recipe and get busy. The act of prepping, shopping and cooking a meal with so much care and delight can up your mood in seconds. The fact that you can make something from nothing is a thing of joy.
This will boost your confidence and make you feel really good about yourself. On the one hand, you are feeding your body with nutrient-rich food and on the other, you are feeding your mind with happiness.
To make it all the more enjoyable, cook up a storm and invite your loved ones or friends to share the meal with you. They can even join in the cooking process. This paves room for bonding and helps to remind you just how beautiful life is.
9.MAKE KEGEL EXERCISE A ROUTINE
Also known as pelvic muscle-strengthening exercise, this helps to strengthen and tone your pelvic floor muscles. It increases blood flow to the vagina and lubricates it. Sexual arousal is also heightened which makes it easier to achieve orgasm, and orgasm helps to induce sleep and relax the body.
Kegel exercises are important for the general well being of the body. It helps solve problems associated with incontinence too. It strengthens the muscles in the uterus, bladder, and large intestine. Avoid doing this exercise while urinating in order not to cause damage to your muscles or bladder. A kegel exercise a day keeps the vagina healthy.
- INHALE ESSENTIAL OILS
You may have heard of aromatherapy, the art of inhaling certain scents to help you calm and soothe your nerves. This practice is good for self-care. The hormone cortisol is the body’s natural response to stress and it is normal to have this in a steady amount but it becomes a problem when the hormone constantly overshoots.
Aromatherapy helps to counter the adverse effect of an increase in cortisol level by triggering the relaxation response. This response is believed to be affected by doing something that appeals to us. When you inhale bad odor, you are instantly put off, but when you inhale something really pleasant, you almost catch yourself smiling.
Have you ever given this connection a thought? This is because the olfactory sense (sense of smell) is directly linked to the limbic system which controls emotional behavior. Aromatherapy aids your physical health by decreasing heart rate, blood pressure, and by maintaining a steady cortisol level. It also aids digestion and regulates your blood sugar level.
Examples of essential oils include cedarwood, eucalyptus, chamomile, cypress, fennel, clary sage, peppermint, coconut, and lavender oils. These oils can be used for a massage which is another great form of self-care. Aromatic scented candles can also be used in place of essential oils.
There are hundreds of self-care activities for women, can you mention a few to add to the list?