Self Care, Self Love, Putting Yourself First
This word is being used a lot everywhere in health and wellness at the moment and I think it is good because it is very very important, not just for women but for men as well.
What is Self-Care? It is different for everyone and at different stages of life, but in the essence of the words used it is caring for one’s self. When we look more closely at it, it makes perfect sense that we all participate in self-care but are we really doing this?
With the rise of chronic health issues, depression and anxiety I don’t think we are seeing the finer points of self-care. Yes, we can shower, brush our teeth, groom our selves, and feed ourselves, unless there are other difficulties present that prevent this. But I think it is important to look at this mammoth task of self-care a little more in-depth to fully appreciate how it affects us.
Remember Prevention Is Better Than Cure!!!!
Eating – This word alone either lights up the pleasure areas in the brain or the anxiety areas in the brain, and both can have their detriments to our overall health.
If you have a bad relationship with food where it controls your thoughts, behaviours or life you need to seek professional support because it will always affect your self-care and therefore your health and your ability fully function in life.
If however, you just love food for its gourmet delights and/or detest it because you hate cooking, whatever your relationship with food read on.
Food is here to nourish our bodies and our brain so that they can function normally and optimally. That is it!!! Because we humans are such complex creatures and we have emotions and much higher cognitive reasoning abilities we have placed a lot of emphasis on food and that is fine because food can bring us pleasure. BUT….. Do not forget that to nourish our bodies means eating the least processed form of a food and making sure that our bodies get the macro and micronutrients it needs for each and every single cell in our body to use them as it requires.
It doesn’t matter what camp you sit in in regards to diets i.e. paleo, LCHF (low carb, high fat) Mediterranean diet, eating super foods, raw diets, when you look at the basics of each of these diets, there are very little processed food and lots of whole foods. And once you educate yourself you can do a lot with whole foods or these diets and keep highlighting the pleasure parts of the brain and keep yourself eating well and therefore feeling well. And once you are eating less processed food and if you still don’t feel great it is best to get it checked by a health professional.
Sleep – Who doesn’t get enough sleep? Most of the population! What happens when we don’t sleep enough? Our bodies cannot do the job that they were designed to do which is repair, renew, connect, disconnect, detoxify. Sleep health is a massive topic alone as well and there will be more posts later. But ensuring that you allow yourself some regular sleep will work wonders for your overall health and mindset. If you are having trouble sleeping then you need to investigate why and attempt to address some issues, if these do not work then you will need to work with a professional to assist you with breaking the problem down further.
Some things to consider:
– Do you have a supportive mattress?
– Do you have the right size pillow for your body?
– Are you eating well?
– If you are highly stressed what strategies can you put in place to reduce your stress levels?
– No digital time before bed if you have trouble switching off.
– Are you waking up during the night at the same time?
– Is your room too hot or too cold or too noisy?
– Do you have an injury, shoulder, knee, hip?
– Do you have a health problem that may be affecting sleep?
– Do you have children waking during the night?
– Do you allow enough time in the evening to wind down so that you can fall asleep?
– Do you allow enough time to sleep?
– Have you tried relaxation techniques?
– Are you consuming stimulants or relaxants ie coffee, alcohol, medications that could be affecting your sleep?
Above are some things to consider and attempt to address if you are having trouble sleeping.
Exercise/Movement – Now, exercising and moving might be under leisure for some people and for some it might come under self-care and for others, it is just a chore. Regardless of how you view it, you need to move. Movement of your large muscles in our arms and legs and your body as a whole ensures that your circulatory system, your respiratory system, your lymphatic system, your digestive system, your nervous system are stimulated and in some cases calmed and can work optimally.
If you don’t like exercising then make movement a part of your daily life (it needs to be a habit), walk more, take up something that will make you move more, walk to the water dispenser more often, play and run with the kids. But moving will help oxygenate your blood and improve your cellular health too.
Rest and Relaxation – This is not sleeping! This is DOWNTIME. Do you even have downtime? Downtime for everyone is different but it is time when you can switch off from the hum of every day and just be, it could be playing with the kids, reading a book, taking a bath, deep breathing, going for a run, staring into space, folding the sheets, weeding, digging a hole, playing a board game, getting a massage, a hobby. The goal of downtime is feeling relaxed and refreshed.
What is your downtime? If you don’t know think about this a little further, it can change too from day to day from year to year, but it needs to be time away from your everyday things where your brain can switch off. It can be the most mundane things or the most relaxing things or the most fun things. But we all need it, so make time in your diary for it. Quite often a lot of problems are solved and creativity happens in downtime, so master it so you can use it to your benefit and your health.
Self Care in different age groups are around the same points but are viewed a little differently and approached at times differently.
Self-Care for children needs to be age appropriate and this includes, feeding self, toileting, washing and dressing self, grooming (brushing teeth and hair). If you are concerned with a child not mastering these areas at an age-appropriate time then you need to consider whether you have the time to teach your child (or does someone else) or do they or you need more specific assistance from a professional. Children need sleep and a lot of it, and this changes based on age. They also need down time and sometimes this is play, sometimes it is just to be or a cuddle with their parents, it could be reading a book, climbing a tree. And yes children need healthy diets that are not predominately processed foods. All children will naturally want to move, some more than others and ensuring there is adequate time in a child’s day to move (away from any media) they will.
Self-care in people with disabilities varies greatly, usually, health professionals and carers involved with these individuals will base the assistance and their education required around skills and abilities present and those to be aimed for. From here they will determine how much support is required over time. And remember this can change too from day to day, month to month. Eating, sleeping, and moving are very important for people with disabilities too and sometimes these skills can be affected by the symptoms of the disability, but can usually be addressed by the involved carers and health professionals.
Self-care in the elderly will be dependent on what their skills and abilities are at the time and the carers and healthcare professionals involved will either be ensuring the support and education is relevant based on where they live, how much support is available, how much is required and will equipment be of assistance. It will then be determined whether this amount of support and education required is short term or long term and what are the goals around self-care for this person. Again, elderly people need to be eating healthy diets low in processed food as often the processed foods will affect their health and their medications. Sleeping can become more difficult as we get older and getting professional help can ensure that an elderly person is getting the sleep they need. Movement, elderly people need to move too and if this is with support so bit it, but it will assist their health considerably.
Mastering your own self-care as a priority will ensure your own wellbeing and ensure that you can present your best to others and improve your life significantly. Contact us to know more.
Have a great weekend.