In the past few years, the wellness industry has grown exponentially, providing us with a plethora of so-called ‘self-care’ activities like hydrating sheet masks or an evening trip to the spa. But do these really count as self-care?
In reality, self-care is far from being a modern creation and cannot be reduced to the products or experiences we’re sold as treatment for the fast pace of the modern world – as enjoyable as they are. Instead, it’s about finding practices that we can incorporate into our daily lives that can help us take care of our mental and physical wellbeing.
So, what does self-care really look like?
Recovering after burnout
Unsurprisingly, a face mask (no matter how hydrating) cannot resurrect you from burnout – trust me. For me, burnout hit four years ago when my stress levels were soaring; I wasn’t taking care of myself, my sleep or my diet and I was angry all the time. I knew something in my daily life had to change.
Practicing self-care daily, helped me realise how little I’d been caring for myself and how essential it was to prioritise self-care if I didn’t want to further the damage I was doing to myself and to others around me. Speaking from experience – don’t wait until it’s too late to care for yourself.
A big part of effective self-care is making it a part of your daily routine – as much as brushing your teeth, self-care needs to become a habit rather than an emergency solution.
How to make self-care a habit
Ultimately, self-care is what you want it to be – we’re all different, which means we all have different ways of caring for ourselves. Most examples of self-care that I recommend to my clients are far less glamorous than you would imagine; check out the three most-effective M’s of self-care…
Planning your meals ahead of time not only removes the stress of making healthy decisions on a daily basis, it’s also one of the best ways to care for your body and mind through nourishing foods.
Mindfulness can be as simple as consciously being aware of what you’re doing while you’re doing it. Mindfulness is easily practiced in quiet moments; try going for a walk by yourself without music or any distractions, or mindfully drinking your 11am cuppa.
Moving your body in any way is a great form of self-care, whether that be your mindful walk or finding a form of exercise that makes your body and mind feel great.
5 Principles for Making Self-Care a Priority
So, we know that daily self-care practices can help you maintain great mental and physical wellbeing, but how do we actually make self-care a priority in our fast-paced lives? Here are my 5 principles for making self-care work for you:
1. Plan ahead
We’re so used to planning ahead in all other aspects of our life but so rarely plan in time for ourselves. Make sure to schedule in dedicated self-care time – even if it’s just 30 minutes for a nourishing lunch away from your desk and two 10-minute tea breaks mid-morning and mid-afternoon to stretch and rehydrate.
2. Free up wasted time
It can be so easy to let the day slip away with time spent on social media or other non-serving activities instead of investing in ourselves. Try writing a list of all the activities that you could cut back on and use more effectively for self-care.
3. Set your boundaries
Setting boundaries with your time and energy can be vital, not only for preventing burnout but also for making enough time for yourself. Setting boundaries with your work or the people around you can be a brilliant form of self-care in and of itself.
4. Make self-care non-negotiable
Self-care shouldn’t be a luxury or a rare treat, making self-care non-negotiable in your life means you’ll be able to maintain good mental and physical well-being every day.
5. Ensure self-care is a daily practice
I know you know this by now! The benefits of making self-care a daily practice are endless – try introducing a few mindful moments this week and see how daily self-care can serve you.
Need some support with introducing your new self-care practices? Join my all-women Facebook Group where we discuss delicious recipes, meal planning tips and share our struggles and successes in a safe, supportive environment.
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