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Self-care - What does it mean for you?

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I am reminded on a daily basis how hard it is for women to look after themselves through even the most basic self-care.

It is an issue I am most passionate about, and can see, hear and feel the struggles women go through just to maintain all the roles and hats we wear, when there is no more time to fit even one iota of self-care in. It is even a stress to even consider adding into their day, week, month, time out for them.

This greatly saddens me.

How do we prioritise self-care and recognise and understand the importance of self-care??

To deeply acknowledge that we need to fill our own cup first before we give out to those we love, and fill all the roles. And that this is an essential part of any holistic treatment protocol??

For many women, this is a notion they cannot even grasp, and is deep seated in generational roles past down for many generations. Many women were raised to take care of others first.

The Importance of self-care

Firstly, we need to understand why it is so important to nurture oneself, to give unconditionally to oneself. Many see this as selfish and hedonistic. It is just not in their nature to put themselves first.

To me it is all about self-kindness and self-compassion, recognising all our perfectness and imperfectness and doing what it takes to nourish our souls and do things that make us feel happy, calm and centred, and prioritise what is important to us. Doing the small and nourishing activities for ourselves, gives purpose to our lives and removes a fair bit of the stress that accompanies our "busy" lives. It also leaves us in a space of gratitude and compassion for others and takes away the resentfulness of “all the things” we have to do for everyone else in our day.

The truth is, unless you replenish your own reserves, there will be little of yourself to give.

AS women, we are pulled in many directions and the exhaustion is real. We end up making decisions and choices from a place of stress and frustration, which further increases the fatigue and frustration. Sleep may be affected and all our body systems including cardiovascular, endocrine, thyroid and adrenals begin to be impacted. This is the place I find many women reach out for help, when the physical and mental systems begin to show.

Self-care is different for everyone, because what nourishes me may not nourish you.

Being Consistent is Key

It is about starting small. Small daily, achievable activities/actions to implement so that you can feel positive about the outcome rather than worrying about failing. It is also about setting the priority and firm boundaries to make it happen.

Consistence and daily practice bring the most reward. Start small and do what you can. Celebrate what do achieve, however small, and never berate yourself of feel guilty if you miss away or forget. It takes time and failures to cement new behaviours.

One of the activities I get my clients to do is to lie flat on the floor for 5-10 minutes a day. Most can do this. Mums with small kids can just lay on the floor and let the kids climb over you as you watch them. Just the act of stopping and lying flat releases endorphins and resets the adrenal glands.

Another is after a busy work day, drive to the beach or park and just sit in the car and take a couple of deep breathes, remove your work hat, evaluate your day, and then pop on your mum hat and move onto that. Again, just a few minutes will greatly nourish your adrenals and nervous system.

Another is during your day whatever you do, stop, find a quiet place, even close your eyes at your desk and just breathe in and out. Just a few small moments of this is your day can bring mindfulness and decrease anxiety and stress.

Once you succeed in implementing a few small moments of time for yourself and you begin to feel the benefits, you can move on to carving out more time for yourself.

What nurtures your soul?

Another question that brings blank stares and nervousness from my clients. When we have children and/or jobs, we can lose what we used to do, whether it be that we used to love to horse ride , or garden or paint or write....and we fill our days/lives with menial daily tasks with no time to even contemplate what we love to do , that brings pleasure and fills us up. These pleasures do change as we age and that’s where it comes a time to try new things, to find new and exciting pleasures be that travel, or craft or weaving for example.

Other ways to nurture your soul are:

  • Walking in nature – at the beach, in the forest or just walk the dog around the block

  • Listen to a guided meditation on an App such as Insight Timer

  • Buy yourself some flowers – smile every time you look at them!

  • Choose to not do all the jobs on your list. This is a good one if you are constantly late and rushing all the time.

  • Book a regular massage, pedicure, facial – which over one you love the most.

  • Take a morning, afternoon or a whole day to do nothing….watch Netflix or read a good book.

  • Decluttering is a great way to not only clear spaces filled with unused and unwanted “things”, but actually helps to clear space in our minds.

  • Be grateful. Write in a journal every day 3 things you are grateful for and read them before bed. Watch your sleep improve.

This list could be endless, but do not get overwhelmed at having to do everything. As above, just start with one small thing and do as much as you can do, such as laying on the floor throughout the day for 5 minutes. Then increase the time and then move onto something a little bigger or keep on with that. There is no right or wrong, just aim for consistence and a sense of calm and purpose.

If this resonates with you but you just don’t know where to start, let me help you with the “Nurture-Reset-Come Clean-Cleanse” – a 21-day Cleanse that encompasses nurturing and self-care. Whilst giving your gut and liver and gentle cleanse, we focus each week on self-care, relaxation, mediation, gentle nourishing movement. I have interviewed experts in the fields of stress and anxiety, self-care and mindfulness, lymphatic cleansing and movement, so you can begin to start nourishing yourself and put some self-care into your day.

Here is the link for all the Cleanse details.

https://www.naturopathiccaresw.com/nurture-reset-come-clean-cleanse

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