Self Care is all about taking care of yourself and being self responsible, without reliance on outside intervention as much as you can.
You and your body are intelligent.
And your ability to experience a healthy, happy, dis-ease free life is very much linked to your willingness to embrace the 7 principles of health on a consistent basis.
Remember, these principles are: Air, Water, Sunshine, Whole Foods, Walking, Non-Toxic Relationships & Passion.
As simple as these principles sound, they're not always easy to implement day to day, because there are many distractions that can easily derail you from embracing even the most common-sense lifestyle measures.
So, if you find it challenging to consistently put your self care first, it's important to just focus on the basics that make the MOST difference rather than worry about too many things at once.
With this in mind, here we highlight what we believe are the 5 big areas to concentrate on - in no particular order - so that you can level up your self care on a consistent basis.
These really are the key foundations of good physical and emotional health that will have the biggest impact to your life and health in these times:
1. Eat More Whole Plant Food
It's not rocket science that eating more whole plant foods is one of the best things you can do for your long term health because of the vitamins, minerals, fibres and enzymes that these foods contain.
You already know that there are great benefits associated with embracing a plant-based, whole food lifestyle. But this doesn't mean you can't still enjoy your favourite alternative foods, it just means that as a principle, the mindset of adding more whole plant food to your diet is a very smart principle to follow.
More whole plant food, simply means placing more emphasis at meal time on a greater proportion of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains and legumes.
Always source the freshest seasonal produce you can find, locally from your farmer's markets whenever possible. When you do this, you minimise the interference from farm to table and you'll be getting the optimum nutrients your body needs to function at it's best!
Here are some simple, practical tips to help you get more whole plant food into your diet:
- Start each day with fresh seasonal fruit, or a fruit or green smoothie prepared with organic plant-based milk, such as almond or coconut;
- At lunch time, have a big green salad and throw in some chunks of avocado, organic cheese and a handful or walnuts, macadamia nuts or chickpeas;
- For dinner, have a soup, stir fry, or bake a sweet potato and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, chopped chives and sea salt;
- In between meals, snack of raw nuts, apples, dried fruit or spread organic almond butter onto whole grain bread;
- When you go out for dinner, always start with a raw salad of some kind before you dive into your heavier main meal to give you a boost of healthy plant fibres and to take the edge off your appetite.
Learn more in 7 Benefits Of A Whole Food Diet
When it comes to your diet, what you cut out is every bit as important as what you eat. That means, it's important to avoid or minimise heavily processed and packaged foods, refined sugars and grains and to check the labels for preservatives often.
Finally, stop counting calories and and think more about the wholesomeness and QUALITY of food you eat, rather than the quantity.
2. Move Your Body Every Day
Our bodies are designed to move and we need movement to support vital bodily functions and to keep our muscles and cardiovascular systems in good shape and our joints and bones strong.
Moving your body doesn't mean you need to run a marathon or go crazy in the gym, but it does mean at least walking every single day, unless you are physically unable to do so.
Walking is the number one form of movement you should do regularly, outside whenever you can. Commit to a 30-45 minute brisk daily walk and you will go a long way to avoiding disease and supporting robust health over the long term, not to mention the mental and emotional wellbeing benefits!
In addition to a designated daily walk, it's also good self care practice to consciously slot in "extra steps" by parking a little further away from the office, shops or gym. Also, whenever you have the option to take the stairs or an elevator, choose the stairs.
Of course, once you've made your daily walk a consistent non-negotiable, you can take your movement routine up a notch by adding other low impact, enjoyable, health-benefiting activities, such as yoga, pilates, swimming, cycling, hiking or circuit training.
Finally, one of the best movement suggestions is to regularly practice "Earthing", where you connect your bare feet to the earth, allowing the electrical frequencies just below the earth's surface to enter the body, helping to reduce stress, inflammation and even to cleanse the body of free radical damage. A great way to practice earthing and to experience it's wonderful benefits, is to simply walk bare foot on the sand or grass 2-3 times per week for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
3. Nurture Your Creativity & Passions
Having fun and devoting time and energy to the things you love, gives you a feeling of being in tune with some form of purpose - this is an essential component of Self Care.
Even if you feel that your life is not where you want it to be, or lacks meaning, it's important to practice self love by fuelling your passions and feeding your mind with positive information, which both contribute greatly to the formation of creative ideas and your sense of self worth.
- Set aside 30 minutes a day or a few hours a week to doing something that you love to do and stick with it
- Write in a journal or diary a list of goals or a ‘wish list’
- Write down creative ideas that come to you as you're going about your day
- Find a passion project that you can spend some time on without any expectations or pressure attached to the outcome (just do it as a creative pursuit)
- Create a vision board full of photos & images of things you love or would like to have in your life
- Take a chance on yourself and start your own online business from home.
As long as you’re persistent and consistent, whatever seeds you sow and nurture, will eventually grow and reap rewards in areas of your life even if you’re only taking tiny steps on a regular basis.
4. Take Time For Yourself
If you find yourself constantly serving others from the time you wake up until you go to sleep, it's time to prioritise some time for yourself.
It is difficult to show up as the best version of yourself constantly for others, if you never have any time to just be with yourself and to recharge your own batteries.
It can be as simple as getting up 30 minutes earlier than everyone else first thing in the morning - taking a walk down to the park or beach to breathe, reflect and set intentions for your day.
Minimise the distractions and take time for yourself every day and try to disconnect from the outside world for this short amount of time.
When you intentionally quieten the noise and practice time being with yourself, it can help you to avoid anxiety, depression and other negative states.
Other great ways to take time out to clear your mind and just relax and be with yourself include:
- A 10 minute meditation (we recommend the "Calm" App)
- Enjoy a hot salt bath, out on some light music and a candle
- Enjoy a relaxation massage or a hot sauna
Learn more in 7 Ways To Deal With Anxiety & Find Inner Peace
5. Schedule Fun Time
A schedule that is all work and no play, will eventually take its toll on your physical and emotional health no matter how good your diet and exercise routine may be.
That's why it's important to make time to have 'fun' with friends and family as well along the way.
Go ten pin bowling together, have a picnic in the park, play monopoly, organise a game of beach cricket, go boating, hiking or mountain biking.
These types of activities are not only fun, but they're also great for bonding with those who are close to you and will bring a sense of joy, fulfilment and appreciation to your soul.
Healthy relationships are one of the most vital foundations of Self Care and will impact your true level of happiness in life. So, be sure to make connection with those you care about a significant part of your weekly schedule.
The Main Take Away
The secret to a happy, healthy life is a self-responsible approach, where you're in control of the way you take care of yourself and your life.
Keep things simple, stay consistent and be willing to open your heart and mind to ongoing growth. And if you find that you're spread too thin or trying to change too many things in your life at once and you feel overwhelmed, just remember to focus on the big areas that make most difference, by zeroing in on the tips and suggestions offered to you here.
When you do that, you'll feel less stressed, less overwhelmed and you'll make greater progress towards your health, happiness and lifestyle goals.
Learn more in Self Care Mindset: How To Get On A Healthy Path & Stick To Positive New Habits
Tolman Self Care.