Daughter. Mom. Sister. Friend. Mother. Worker. Superhero.
There’s no walking around the fact that the modern woman will embody many roles in her lifetime. It can be overwhelming to walk through our days shifting into role after role without a break. When do we get a chance to just sit with ourselves? How many of you take the time to check in with your gut, your emotions and intuitive body? So many of us try so hard to make everybody else happy, while shoving our own peace of mind deep into the background.
Developing a self-care practice should be a cornerstone of your day. Whether you take 10 minutes or two leisurely hours, carving time into your schedule for a little bit of “me” time is an absolute necessity. The moments we take to nourish our own spirits have a cascading effect on creating a healthy lifestyle.
I’d like to challenge everyone reading this article to grab their May calendar and section off chunks of self-care. Write it in ink. Write it down as if it was the most important meeting you’ll have this entire month. And stick to the plan. At the end of the month, check in with yourself. How do you feel? Was that a beneficial thing you did for yourself? Feel free to share below!
Here are a few tips to help you get started:
I can almost hear the sighing from here! Time and time again we are told that we should exercise, much to our chagrin. This self-care tip is advocating that you find a type of exercise that you actually enjoy and perform it regularly. Don’t like running? Don’t pick up running. Can’t stand the thought of doing downward dog? Don’t do yoga. This is about finding an activity where you are moving your body AND feeling comfortable and happy doing it. Everyone has a different activity that they enjoy, that helps them feel alive and uplifts their spirit. Find that activity, stick with it and don’t let anyone try to look down on your choice or somehow tell you that you’re not “doing enough”. Remember, this is all about YOU. Regular exercise helps regulate mood by producing powerful chemical reactions that can help reduce stress and anxiety levels. I enjoy pilates, yoga, swimming and gentle walks through a wooded area.
2) Create a Mindfulness Routine
It can be so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The constant stimulus can make it hard to focus and create feelings of anxiety and depression. When we wake up in the morning and already have 40 tasks to tackle in the day ahead, the stress reaction can begin immediately. Find a mindfulness practice that works for you. Whether it’s just learning how to breathe properly and practicing 10 deep breaths when negative feelings arise or devoting a hyper-state of attention to a task you normally do on auto-pilot (such as brushing teeth), a mindfulness routine can help calm the mind and create a new appreciation for the little moments. A special form of mindfulness I like to do is to eat a meal in silence, savouring and enjoying every bite or letting a piece of chocolate melt into heavenly goo in my mouth. Learn how to cultivate a patient and accepting mindset. Wait patiently for your son to finish telling you about his art project, wait patiently at a red light. Train your brain to accept these moments as they are.
3) Fuel Your Body
Choose nutrient-dense foods. Every single time. Those of us who have experimented with diets know that even when we choose the “low-fat” or “no-fat”, “low-calorie” foods these can often be extremely unsatisfying. This is because even though you may be eating more in terms of quantity, the brain is still starved of the nutrients it needs. It tells us that we are still hungry, which can lead to overeating and all the negative feelings associated with that act. An easy way to ensure that you are fueling your body properly is by switching to a Whole Foods Diet. Eating whole foods should be the bulk of our diets because they contain all the vitamins, nutrients and minerals in a naturally-occurring state. Eating whole foods ensures that you are taking in these vitamins and minerals in a thoroughly synergistic way. Ways to assure that you’re eating whole foods are to frequent Farmers Market for food that is both seasonal and local (a double bonus) or shop the perimeter of the grocery store where all the whole-foods options are.
4) Learn How To Say No
Learning to say no and having clear boundaries is something that many of us struggle porously with. We may believe that by setting clearly definable boundaries we are all of a sudden being terrible, selfish people or that our loved ones will be angry or upset with us. I’m sure everyone reading this article has agreed to something and almost instantly regretted it. “Why did you do that,” your inner voice whispers, “why won’t you listen?” If you feel like somebody is constantly pushing your boundaries, whether it is your partner, kids or work, learning to say no is an important way to remind them that you are also a person with needs. Remember that you are the only one who can define your boundaries. You are not responsible for another’s reaction to you saying no. It’s better to be uncomfortable in the moment of saying “no” then resenting your commitment and feeling guilty for not honouring your own feelings. This can be an empowering and scary time for an individual who is not used to this kind of behaviour, but the benefits are tenfold. You’ll create more time for your self-care practice, and more time to spend doing the things that make you happy. Being aware of all the times you commit to doing something and secretly resent it is so important for growing in your authenticity.
5) Maintain Healthy and Loving Relationships
Carve time in your schedule to spend with those individuals who truly uplift and inspire you. We are fundamentally social creatures and a sense of community is so important for each and every one of us. Spending time with the quality people who make us feel alive, love and care for us can be a wonderful way to fill our own cups. This can be as simple as hanging out on the couch next to your best friend and laughing until you cry, a hand-in-hand stroll with your partner, volunteering with your sisters or a simple phone-call to your mom just to tell her much you appreciate her. Self-care doesn’t necessarily have to be a solo endeavour.
You matter. You are allowed to take up space for yourself. You are allowed to attend to your own needs before attending to others. The act of connecting to yourself is important for your mental, physical and emotional bodies. Practicing self-care doesn’t make you a flawed or selfish human. Give yourself the same loving kindness you give to others. Speak kindly to yourself, nourish your body and mind, and enjoy the little moments. I promise this will help you go out into the community and become a more peaceful and loving person. I wish you the best of luck on your self-care journey, wellness women!
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” – Oscar Wilde
As a Wellness Advisor at Naturmend, I am friendly, generous, empathetic and centered. I’m passionate about building healthy communities because I believe in the very simple principle that if people FEEL good, they DO good. A healthy society is the most powerful conduit for change on the planet.