the 6 elements of self care
You may hear me talk about self care often in my blog posts. Through my personal experience and in working with clients I have found that self care is the most powerful way to heal the body, mind, and spirit. It is so important, in fact, that I practice self care for at least an hour each day. And when I miss a day or two, I really feel the effects. My anxiety increases, and I start to worry and over think. Because of this, my productivity goes down, and everyone in my life suffers. When I practice self care regularly, I am able to stay calm, cool, and collected, and show up for life 100%.
I have what I call “The 6 Elements of Self Care.” These are the main components of self care which, if utilized, can be life changing. This may sound overwhelming at first, but the truth is, they can be very easily implemented into your life.
1) Clean Eating- This means nourishing your body with clean, fresh, live foods. Caring for the body begins with what we put into it. If we aren’t eating healthfully, we will not be able to think clearly, and we may feel emotionally burdened. Our body responds appropriately to chemicals and processed and rancid foods by detoxifying. But, if we continue to “feed” it with the bad stuff, we will be in constant detoxifying mode. In this state our body is using all of its energy toward cleansing, and we will feel tired and sluggish, perhaps experience some brain fog, and other symptoms of being “sick.” We can never be at our best unless we are eating healthy food. Self care begins with our fuel.
2) Rest- The second element of self care is rest. We are so often running ourselves ragged. I get it, believe me! We live in a society where sleep and rest are undervalued. We live in one busy and fast-paced world and often, sleep and rest are looked upon as “lazy.” Well I have great news…sleep and rest are essential to living a healthy and happy life. Again, when we are tired and run down, how can we perform at our best in our jobs, with our kids, in social situations? We push ourselves to the limit, and before we know it we are walking zombies. What kind of a life is that? Here’s the thing. I realize that there are parents out there with kids and responsibilities and jobs with crazy hours. I know there are all kinds of tasks that need to be accomplished, so many in fact that we could technically be working on something 24/7 if we wanted to. So let me ask you: You have all these tasks, errands, and jobs to do…Can you make extra rest one of those “to-do’s” on your list? If you want to feel good, you’ve GOT to make yourself a priority. No exceptions.
3) Meditation and Breathing- Our minds are going at 100 miles a minute most of the time. We use so much energy just thinking. No wonder we feel exhausted at the end of the day! I recall times where I actually said to my husband after a long day, “I feel like I just ran a marathon.” And it’s absolutely accurate. All that unnecessary thinking and worrying will eventually wear on you. I recommend spending at least 15 minutes per day quieting the mind. Set aside some sacred time each day and be sure you are in a quiet space. Whether you focus on your breathing, listen to a guided visualization, watch the flame of a candle, or just listen to soft spa music, be sure to quiet your mind each day. This will keep you refreshed, grounded, and joyful.
4) Exercise- Movement is extremely important. It not only supports us physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well. Exercise has numerous benefits including detoxifying, strengthening the cardiovascular and muscular skeletal systems, keeping our mind clear, helping move and release stagnant energy, releasing old emotional patterns, connecting us with our inner being, our soul, and so much more. I recommend doing at least 20 minutes of movement per day. It is your choice what type of exercise suits you best.
5) Journaling- I recommend keeping a journal to write anything you wish. You can write your thoughts and feelings, how your day went, things you are grateful for, ideas for a new project or venture you would like to pursue, etc. The reason journaling is so powerful is that it gets ideas in your head down on paper…then, you don’t have to use energy to think about them anymore. In addition, I find it rather meditative. Once I start writing, I find I often cannot stop. The thoughts and feelings keep coming, and before I know it I have released a whole slew of emotions I didn’t even realize were there to begin with. I also use my journal to write what I am grateful for, as well as positive thoughts I have about my life. This helps me keep a positive outlook on life so I can stay in my joy, show up 100% for my family and friends, and focus on the present moment with love.
6) Seeking Support- The final element of self care is to seek support outside of yourself. We all need help or guidance somewhere along the way. Maybe we are going through a hard time. Maybe we have some anxiety or depression we can’t seem to shake. Or maybe, we just want someone to talk to. Whether it is a guidance counselor, therapist, Reiki practitioner, coach, or a member of the clergy, it is often beneficial to have someone to consult with regularly. Someone who’s got your back, who’s on your team and can give you professional advice as you move through those rough patches. There is no shame in asking for help. I am proud to say I have worked with a therapist for almost six years, and I would not be the person I am today without her assistance. I also regularly receive Reiki, and I work with life coaches to guide me in my life and in my business.
See, here’s the thing. You are so important that sometimes you don’t even realize how important you are. You are so busy thinking about what everyone around you wants or needs, that you forget about yourself. Treat yourself just like you would treat your best friend: with love, compassion, care, and understanding. Show yourself you are loved and supported, and magic will happen.
In deep appreciation,
Andrea McLaughlin is a Holistic Life Coach, a glowing ray of sunshine and a blog contributor for onesalonlife.com. Find her on Facebook at:https://www.facebook.com/amclaughlin.savvynaturopath
0r Twitter @savvynaturopath