7 Ways to Practice Self-Care
Tuesday, November 2, 2018
Written by: Cora Tomowich
You cannot pour from an empty cup, you must first fill yourself up!
Well hello again! Welcome to my brief chat about how to include simple, self-care techniques into your every day life.
Historically, the term “self-care” was defined many different ways, however, the premise has remained the same. Self-care is about taking responsibility for your own health and/or playing an active role in its optimization. Benjamin Franklin was right when he said: “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
You may be surprised to learn that self-care is not something that needs to be overly time-consuming or complicated; sometimes it’s just about making small and consistent efforts.
Here is a list of my favourite ways to build self-care into each day:
1. Eat Well
Be sure that all the food you put in your mouth is of the highest quality. You don’t want to be eating a diet filled with toxic sugars, harmful preservatives, or heavily process ingredients. These nullify the quality of our foods and can cause malnutrition, increased stress on the digestive and endocrine systems, and reduced mental functioning throughout the day. My doctor once told me that it’s best to buy foods that have 5 (or fewer) ingredients for they likely have less of the “bad stuff” and more of the “good stuff” that the body needs!
2. Drink Enough Water
It is important to ensure that you are getting enough hydration throughout your day. You want to be drinking plenty of water and/or herbal tea in order to keep your kidneys and other body tissues functioning at their best. Often times, drinking a glass of water can be enough to prevent you from hitting that 3 o’clock wall; so sip generously throughout the day!
3. Keep a Gratitude Journal
Every day write down three things for which you are thankful. Sometimes I’ll be thankful for having a good hair day or for finding the perfect parking space – you can make it anything you like! Studies have shown that by exercising regular gratitude practices, we can reduce stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression; and that alone is enough to inspire gratitude!
4. Make Your Bed
It is my personal belief that by making your bed every day when you wake up, you are subconsciously reinforcing the transition from sleep to wakefulness. This in turn can help to boost energy and positively influence your daily mind-body cycle, known as your circadian rhythm. Plus, isn’t it nice to see a tidy bed at the end of the day? I find it so much more welcoming!
Much like the practice of making your bed, it is a good idea to harmonize your inner and outer life with simple routine tidying habits. Your thoughts and feelings can impact your outer life and vice versa. If you have a mess in your home or work space, what do you think that does to you emotionally? Practitioners of Feng Shui believe that when an area is cluttered, there is a significant change or blockage in the flow of life energy throughout the space. This reduces mental focus, concentration, productivity, and overall mind-body comfort, while increasing stress, anxiety, and frustration. A tidy home or work space can promote clear and creative thinking, as well as, overall organization and productivity. So make a place for everything, and keep everything in its place!
After a busy day, it is always a good idea to wind down from the hustle and bustle. Be sure to include some “me time” into each day, whereby you simply let go of the day’s events. You can unwind through meditation, reading a good book, listening to your favourite music during your commute home, or simply washing your face before going to bed. Taking a little time each day to unwind helps to calm the inner voice that consistently runs through your ever-growing to-do list. Unwinding also reduces stress, anxiety, and feelings of being overwhelmed. In Europe after a hard day’s work, it is common practice to unwind by meeting a friend for a coffee before heading home – we could learn something from this!
Many of us don’t think we are getting enough sleep or that our sleep is not of good quality. For those of you who haven’t already done so, I encourage you to read my blog on understanding sleep; it discusses many common sleep disorders, as well as, some potential solutions. Since sleep is so very important for our body’s healing, our mind’s processing, and our overall sense of well-being, I often tell patients to maintain a consistent bed time and wake-up time. This helps to reinforce the circadian rhythm and prevent things like insomnia, sleep disturbances, and fatigue during the day. Give yourself the pleasure of a good night’s sleep and allow yourself to feel refreshed in the morning. If you are having difficulty with sleep, be sure to seek help from a qualified professional as soon as possible. Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep!