Self Care is today's buzzword for taking responsibility for your own health and wellbeing.
And this is more important than ever, because today there is so much outside noise that pushes us to entrust our health to others, when instead, the push should be to educate people about how to take charge of their health so that they're less susceptible to sickness and disease.
Long lived cultures have understood for centuries that health and wellness begins with the individual. Of course, this doesn't mean that there aren't certain times that call for external intervention, but the extent to which we're able to take responsibility for our own health over the longer term really determines the quality of life we ultimately get to experience.
There are 7 principles of health that are foundational to your health, vitality and your resistance to dis-ease.
These are profound, timeless and proven principles that work when you embrace them.
Let's take a moment to revisit these principles, assess where you're at with each of them, and make a commitment to improve the areas that may be lacking for you.
The 7 Principles of Health
Whilst air is absolutely necessary for health and survival, the quality of the air you breathe is the key thing to consider.
Once upon a time, it was clearly understood that good, clean, fresh air was vital to health and wellness, but unfortunately today, we spend so much time indoors breathing stale, stagnant air, that we have forgotten about the value of fresh air and wander why we end up with breathing problems.
Also, if you're constantly surrounded by air conditioning or furnace air it can further compound these problems.
A healthy respiratory system depends on clean, moving air to cleanse and protect the lungs from congestion and airborne pathogens. And the best type of course, is outside fresh air wherever possible.
If you’re stuck inside for prolonged periods of time, be sure to open the windows to allow the fresh air to circulate - or if this is not possible where you work, sleep or live, use a small box fan or ceiling fan to electrify the air around you every day.
With the human body comprised of around 60% water and the brain 85%, you don't need to be a rocket scientist to know how vital water is to your health and wellbeing.
Water is vital to life. It replenishes the cells and brain, rehydrates the body and helps to flush toxins from the digestive system every single day.
When you don't get enough water each day, you’ll become fatigued, sluggish in the body and mind and you'll feel unfocussed and unmotivated. Dehydration affects you down to the cellular level, yet most people don't even realise when their bodies are dehydrated.
Always try to drink more water than you think you need. Meaning, don't wait until you're thirsty to drink water because your body depends on constant replenishment to function at it's best.
There are two basic rules of thumb to keep in mind when it comes to daily water intake:
1. Drink at least the weight of the brain, which is approximately 2 litres and should be replenished every 24 hours;
2. If you're particularly active or suffer from health challenges, aim to drink 1 litre of water per 22 kilos of your body weight. For example, this means a person who weighs 70 kilos would aim for 3 litres of water.
If you don't drink enough water every day, you'll increase your susceptibility to regular headaches, weight gain, skin blemishes and constipation.
Now, if 2-3 litres of water per day seems a little daunting for you, start by drinking 1/2 to 1 litre immediately when you rise in the morning to kick start your daily water intake.
Next, drink water after your morning walk or exercise routine. Then, take a water bottle with you to work or wherever you go to sip throughout the day.
All of these little steps will help you to reach your daily water intake goal.
Tip: If you're not used to drinking this amount of water, to make it more interesting, try adding a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice to your morning water allotment or simply add 1-2 drops of lemon essential oil to your water for extra taste and cleansing benefits.
Finally, don't get too hung up on "which type" of water to drink. Whilst there are many different types of water - from filtered water, to spring water, rain water, alkaline water and more - the main thing is to ensure you're getting the right amount of water your body needs each day.
Too many people get more hung up on "the type" of water to drink than "the amount" of water their body needs to function optimally. Just know that so long as you avoid fluoridated municipal water straight from the tap, any water is better than none - your body will work it out.
Learn more in our blog Water: Nature’s Best & Why It’s Critical to Life.
Sunshine is a critical source of life on earth. Unfortunately though, recent generations have been sold the lie that "the sun causes skin cancer".
It is well known that avoiding sunshine is a major cause of many diseases, including breast, bowel and prostate cancer - not to mention liver disease, depression and more.
Sunlight is a powerful source of the vital nutrient known as Vitamin D, which can not be easily obtained from other sources. Regular, responsible exposure to sunlight delivers so many crucial physical, mental and emotional health benefits, it should not be overlooked.
People who burn easily in the sun, generally are those who have nutritional deficiencies primarily due to not eating enough fresh, seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, grown locally in the temperate zone in which they live.
Avoid chemical, petroleum-based sunscreens which can leach harmful toxins into the blood stream. Instead, choose plant-based oils with naturally occurring SPF's (sun protection factors), such as cold pressed coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, carrot seed oil, raspberry seed oil and avocado oil. Of try our Sun Loves Me product with natural plant extracts, available in our store at tolmanselfcare.com
Remember, sunlight is a source of life and is not there to harm you. The important thing is to respect not fear the sun, which means be sensible when it comes to how much time you spend in the sun so that you get the benefits without the discomfort.
Finally, after sun exposure use a nourishing plant-based moisturiser like our handcrafted Divine to rehydrate and nourish your skin to maintain suppleness.
The human body is designed to walk.
Walking is one of the best, most natural forms of exercise you can do. And best of all, you don't need a gym membership, it’s completely free and you just need to go outside your front door to do it.
Studies show that walking for 30-45 minutes per day can add on average up to 18 years to your life.
Walking is low-impact, effective for strengthening your overall body function and boosts your emotional wellbeing. And it's a great way to get outside and connect with nature and to breathe the fresh air your body and brain needs each day.
Unlike a treadmill, when you walk outside, your senses are activated at a different level and your respiratory system benefits from breathing clean, electrified air.
Aim to walk for 30-45 minutes each day, in the morning if you can, because it's a great way to set you up for the day mentally, physically and emotionally. Of course depending on where you're at with your health and fitness goals, you can add other forms of exercise to your movement routine, just remember to incorporate walking no matter what for all of the foundational health benefits it provides.
5. Whole Foods
These days, unless you're very conscious about the foods you eat, it can be easy to succumb to processed foods which are inflammatory and not good for your health.
Unfortunately, today's supermarket shelves have become inundated with processed and packaged foods, many of which are laced with chemicals and preservatives that are harmful to our health.
As ancient long-lived cultures taught, Food is Medicine. But today, that statement needs to be re-written to; "Whole Food is Medicine".
Whole foods are what your body needs to nourish, sustain and heal you.
Whole foods are packed with phytonutrients, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fibres that are like music to your cells because they have electric "life-force" that your cells can recognise and identify with.
Whole foods are essentially the following:
- Legumes and;
- Whole grains
These foods should be sourced locally, seasonally and should form the foundations of your healthy diet.
You will notice that the highest water content, juicer fruits and vegetables naturally come forth in the summer time, whilst the more dense, lower water content varieties are more seasonal during the colder months by nature's design.
During the summer, our body's crave lighter, sweeter, juicer fruits, such as melons, peaches, nectarines and mangoes. These foods foods help us to feel lighter, brighter, more energetic, and they're natural "astringents" (cleansers and detoxifiers) which help our body's to eliminate waste during the digestive cycle during the early part of the day.
Vegetables are designed to strengthen, establish during the colder months and to feed the systems of the body - particularly the heavier varieties of vegetables, such as potatoes, squash, cauliflower and broccoli.
Shop locally at your farmer's markets to ensure you're getting the best seasonal produce that is less likely to have been sprayed with pesticides during cultivation, storage and transportation.
Eat a wide variety of whole foods in a variety of colours and you'll be giving your body everything it needs to stay health, strong and to avoid seasonal threats and disease.
6. Non-Toxic Relationships
What you put into your body is important. But so is who you choose to spend with.
Relationships, particularly the intimate kind, can be the greatest source of joy and pain that we experience in our life time. For this reason, it is very important to surround yourself with positive, loving and uplifting people wherever possible.
Your relationships include everything from your spouse, family and friends, to your co-workers and colleagues.
Every single person you invite into your life has an effect on you and it can either lift you up or bring you down, so it’s important to be thoughtful about the people you choose to spend time with.
Be conscious of toxic relationships that weigh you down and ask yourself what you can do to contribute to the healing of those broken relationships if they're important to you. If you feel you've done all you can to help a toxic relationship get back on track but it's not getting any better, sometimes it's best to end the relationship for the emotional wellbeing of everyone involved.
Be grateful for those who you share your life with and recognise your role in a relationship and what you positively bring. The more positive, appreciative and uplifting you are, the more it tends to rub off on those around you.
Put yourself in healthy environments and spend time around positive people. This can help you be the best version of yourself and allow you to forge new friendships and connections with people who are on a similar path to you.
Like relationships, passion is more of an intangible principle, but that doesn't mean it's any less important.
Having a passion for something and practicing it regularly, is one of the greatest secrets to your ongoing emotional and mental wellbeing.
People who may struggle with their diet, fitness or relationships, can make up for a lot of this, if they have a passion for something that gives them happiness, joy and purpose every single day.
A passion is anything that energises you. It makes you feel fulfilled. It gives you a sense of satisfaction or accomplishment. And it brings meaning to your life.
Your passion may be a hobby, sport, music or learning a new language. Or it could be knitting, running marathons, cooking, travel, reading, writing or starting businesses on the side.
The point is, anything that gives you happy feet and a sense of purpose can be identified as your passion. The trick is to practice it often so that you benefit from the emotional fulfilment having a passion provides to your health and wellbeing.
And if for any reason you can't identify what your passion is or you feel like you may have lost it, start by being curious and experimenting with new activities.
The more new things you try, the more likely you'll find something that lights you up that you can incorporate into your self care routine.
Learn more in our blog Why Emotional Fulfilment is Just as Important as Diet & Exercise.
The Main Take Away
The foundations of self care are the 7 principles of health.
If you want to be in charge of your overall health and wellbeing, physically, mentally and emotionally, it's important to tune in to these principles and to make them part of your life every single day.
As simple as these principles are, over time if you've gotten off track, or if you've managed to master two or three or these principles but you've let some of the others slip, now's a great time to make some subtle adjustments to your self care routine that will benefit you and your health.
Remember, the 7 principles of health are time tested and they work. The secret is to embrace them often and you'll set yourself up for better health, vitality and you'll go a long way to avoiding dis-ease.
Tolman Self Care.