Self-care is our most basic need but we spend so much time worrying about anything and everything that we often forget to give ourselves a second thought. Let’s face it. Unless you take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of the people you love.
It might feel impossible to make time for self-care, but everything is impossible until it’s done. Don’t wait until tomorrow to make the change. These simple steps may be exactly what you need to finally lock down a self-care routine you can stick to.
Belly breathing correctly can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure and reinvigorate you.
Inhale through your nose and into your belly for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts. Exhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts. Repeat 10x.
2. Drink More!
Water of course! We are 60% water. If we don’t stay hydrated our energy levels and brain function will start to suffer. General health guidelines recommend a minimum of 2 litres a day (preferably filtered, room temperature). Start your morning with a glass 20 minutes before eating (with half a lemon it is even more beneficial). In summer and with exercise we naturally need more.
Learning to laugh helps to shift our perspective and enables us to see the bigger picture – even a smile releases endorphins to help us relax. So in times of stress stop for a moment and breathe. Notice the feelings rising within and accept them, try to observe them rather than getting “involved”. Breathe deeply with a willing smile, pause, breathe and smile some more, even if a grimace! A simple and great way for relaxing and releasing muscular tension by bringing fresh oxygen to the brain.
“Sing as if no-one is listening …..” You know the saying! The act of singing releases “happy” hormones”. If you’re not a natural singer, start with humming when doing chores or on your way to work, and move on to singing in the shower. Vocal chords love steam so make the most of it – singing gives the heart and lungs a great workout.
5. Mobilisations (an alternative to stretching)!
We know that we all need to exercise (even if just a strong walk) for at least 30 minutes a day for a minimum of 3 times a week. My dear Father, who reached a grand old age of 94, swore by his daily routine of mobilisation exercises that kept all of his main joints and limbs working, keeping him mobile until his last months. Dynamic joint mobility repetitions (or Mobilisations) are an alternative to stretching. They warm you up gently, gradually expand your comfort zone, relieve tension and muscle knots, facilitate healing and can be done by anyone to prevent injury, inactivity or both.
Make sure you mobilise each main joint daily. Choose a joint, perhaps one closest to any pain, and begin to explore its range of movement.
Start to move back and forth in the joint’s range. Visualise the muscles attached to it: are they shortening and lengthening? The muscles do not have to contract hard, but they do have to contract, enough for metabolic activity. Imagine the muscle being squeezed out like a sponge every time it contracts.
Find the “edge” of your range. If injured or in pain, usually there is some limitation to the movement. Approach your limits, feel the edge, and retreat. You don’t have to test it hard. Achieve results with repetition, not intensity. How much repetition? Quite a lot. Check out https://www.painscience.com/articles/stretching.php.
Meditation/Mindfullness is scientifically proven to be good for us. Take these simple steps to relax:
- Sit or lie comfortably, back straight.
- If anywhere with a natural view simply look out to the distance, or just close your eyes.
- Gently breathe into your tummy and out, with normal regular intervals.
- Focus your attention on your breath and how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation.
- Start with 5 minutes, then increase to 10.
Diet is always going to be a hot topic. The simple step of cutting out sugar and snacking is a good start. Are you eating too much animal based protein? Not good for the body, or the environment. If you can, start by incorporating one meatless day a week. There are so many fantastic veggie cook books available these days you’ll be surprised at how exciting this voyage can be!
Add a sleep routine to your evening agenda. It is a great way to let your body know it’s time to start relaxing. Every night by 10.30pm, turn the TV and any electronics, including your phone off. Light a candle, put on some gentle music (or silence) and relax with an Epsom salt bath. Reading a good book or writing a journal is also a great way to help relax and prepare your mind for a restful nights sleep.
Written by Amanda Butler
About the author
In 2002 Amanda arrived in Mallorca, seeking a change of pace and lifestyle after 15 years in London working in the hotel industry in international sales and marketing. She had a big wake-up call whilst nursing her dear, sweet and loving Mother through cancer. She became disillusioned with the main stream medical profession in the UK and began her own journey into alternative therapies and treatments. Since arriving on the island, her time has been spent combining a full time career in luxury real estate and pursuing her interest in personal development, alternative therapies and an holistic lifestyle.
Amanda’s drive and passion is to share her experience and knowledge to enable her friends, family, and the Nourish community to help find a healthier balance in life and embrace a more holistic lifestyle.
We can all take responsibility for ourselves, our lives, the society we live in, as well as the beautiful island and planet we live on.