What is Self Care?
Self Care can be defined as the deliberate and unselfish act of caring for yourself.
As a Reflexologist I talk a lot about balance. Self care is also very much about creating a balance in your life, putting the needs of others first some of the time, but also remembering that looking after yourself and your own needs is also vitally important.
Just as we would need to deploy our own oxygen masks should their be a problem on an aeroplane (or we would not be able to help anyone else.)
The same is also true of looking after our own needs, as part of our own daily routine. Self care is not selfish, nor a luxury but an essential part of everyday life.
What self care is not
It’s not about prioritising ourselves over and above everything and everyone else all the time, but being mindful that we should not put our own needs at the bottom of the pile. We matter. That’s the top and bottom of it.
If we look after ourselves we can then be strong enough to cope with whatever life throws at us. If we don’t keep our own physical, spiritual, emotional and psychological strength up, we will not be able to function effectively and without us, the whole system will go down!
So what kind of things does Self Care involve?
Self Care includes getting a balance between taking plenty of exercise and getting some fresh air and having time to rest. It’s about having some intellectual stimulation but also being able to enjoy some down-time too. It’s about listening to what our bodies are trying to tell us and responding to that appropriately.
If you feel tired it is ok to rest and replenish and if you feel like you need to get your blood pumping it is also ok to go for a run or a swim or join an exercise class.
Keeping a balance on your stress levels
It’s about having the right balance between having a boring, totally stress-free life with no excitement or challenge and feeling overwhelmed by stress. A good thing to aim for is stepping out of your comfort zone enough to be able to progress and grow, without giving yourself a heart attack in the process.
Taking care of your body so it can take care of you
Self care is about staying adequately hydrated and getting enough sleep. It’s also about getting the balance between eating a healthy nutritious diet and also having an occasional treat.
About taking a sensible approach to life, with all things in moderation. Self care can also be about good grooming and taking care of your appearance from having a great hair cut or your nails done if that is something you enjoy, to keeping up to date with your routine dental checks and attending health screenings, or booking in for a Massage or Reflexology treatment, or simply running a hot, steamy, bubbly bath.
Rituals can help
It’s also about allowing yourself to regularly do the things you enjoy and finding healthy ways of unwinding after a busy day. Simple rituals can help you switch out of work mode at the end of the working day. These include having a shower and imagining a cascade of golden light washing over you with all the negativity from the day floating down the drain.
It can be making a pot of proper loose leaf tea or spending half an hour walking the dog. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate.
Just something that you do for you and you alone, that supports your health and wellbeing in a positive way.
Sarah Cooper is a Reflexologist, Reiki Master Practitioner, Aromatherapist and Writer based in Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, England.
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