What actually is Self-Care?
Are you taking care of yourself?
I've been asked this question countless times in my life... and I always responded with a begrudgingly yes, of course, I am.
But I never really took the time to break down what it means to take care of myself. Like, sure I had the basic necessities of food, water, shelter. But is that what self-care really means?
I now understand that self-care is the essence of taking mindful time to pay attention to you that ensures that you are being cared for by you. Self-care is really any activity that you do deliberately to take care of your mental, emotional and physical health.
And I've come to recognize that there are four pillars of self-care: Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep and Connection. Which are far more expansive than my simplistic needs of food, water, and shelter.
As a Holistic Nutritional Consultant, I get a little biased with the nutrition aspect but I recognize that all four pillars need to be met. Consuming wholesome nutrient-dense foods go a long way. When you begin to consume foods that nurture your body, you will realize how good you can actually feel. I can recall a time at 22 years old when I felt so lethargic that even getting out of bed was extremely difficult. I can now recognize what I thought was "normal" was definitely not normal. And I have nutrition to thank for that!
Exercise doesn't mean you need to go to the gym and pound out miles on the treadmill or lift weights for hours (unless that's your thing!), but it means moving your body every day. The beauty of exercise is that there are a wide range of activities to choose from. And you don't have to do the same one day in and day out. Choose an exercise that you enjoy, that you will actually do. I recommend some type of movement for 30 minutes each day (even if it's a walk around the block).
Sleep! Okay, I feel like sleep is widely negated because why would you sleep when you could watch re-runs of Friends until 3 am? I get it, I've been there but I also know the wide-ranging benefits of sleep. I suggest you listen to Episode 8 of the Nurture Me Podcast to hear more about the benefits and get my tips for improving your sleep!
And last but certainly not least, connection. Connection may be connecting to your family and friends on a deeper level (screw the weather, I want to know what your soul longs for) or it maybe it's a connection to spirit, the universe, the divine, God or self. For the longest time I was searching, yearning, & longing for something deeper, something meaningful, something fulfilling. But I realized I was searching for was something in the external when all along what I desired most, was a deeper connection with myself. To me, connection is honouring space to just be with me, in meditation, in reflection, and in daily-tasks. So, what type of connection do you need?
What to do next...
Any questions? Leave me a comment below.
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