Self-care is a beautiful, health-enhancing practice that is there not only to nourish our physical bodies; but also our minds and soul.
Yet, as much as it nourishes us on a deep and holistic level, it is a practice that many people neglect or often don’t think of as being important.
I would like to shift that and show you how self-care is the foundation of any holistic health practice.
Self-care is important.
It is for anyone who wants to constantly nourish themselves: as the journey to health is just that; a journey. It is something to maintain consistently; not something that is done sporadically.
It is not a chore; it is an enjoyable practice that makes one feel nurtured.
What is self-care?
Before we establish what self-care is, let us clarify what it is not.
The concept of self-care can often lead to negative emotions such as confusion and guilt.
Self-care is not about self-indulgence. It is not buying top-of-the-range skincare and immersing oneself in endless pleasures: whether it be gourmet food, daily massages, a fancy car and hiring the top personal trainers.
And if you pursue the above practices, that is ok. Daily massages would be heaven for most people.
The difference between indulgence and self-care practice is not the act but the intention.
Self-indulgence is about trying to escape, which is driven by heavier emotions such as fear or pain. While self-love is the daily act that makes our bodies, minds and soul soar and feels amazing.
Self-care can be cost and time-efficient.
So whether you can go for massages or do a foot bath, self-care comes from the intention of love.
The importance of self-care
Self-care is putting oneself first…but also not.
While making sure self-care is an act of love, and about putting oneself first, that isn’t always the ultimate goal.
The goal of self-love is to fill us up with love and light so that when we are filled, then we can ultimately share it.
Whether it is to our kids, partners, family, clients and people around us.
We fill ourselves up so we can find meaning to serve those we love with love.
We love ourselves so we can experience love loving others.
Self-care is about the simple daily rituals within our lives that nurture our bodies, feed our minds, calm our emotions and fulfil our souls.
Self-care is the ultimate act of love; that of selfless functional love, a type of love that is real and can be found in one place only: within us.
Everything we need can be created within us. Our health, our happiness; even a new reality.
It starts with the basic self-care foundations of combining the three: mind, body and soul.
This is how important self-care is.
This becomes the foundation of any holistic health program.
When to do self-care?
Self-care is not a once-off thing or a weekly massage.
Self-care is something we do and carry with us every moment.
It is the checking in: I am hungry. It is time to eat. What would nourish me? (yes, cakes in moderation, can nourish us.)
Is it a kind word to oneself after pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone at work, “well done, we had a huge project and we managed to get it done. I know how scary it was and knew we could get through it.”
It is when emotions come up, to breathe, reflect, acknowledge and then decide to act out of a space of logic, calmness and compassion.
It is pursuing goals that make your soul light up. That when you wake in the morning, your thoughts are, “I am so excited to face my day.”
5 Aspects to Include:
There are different areas to focus on when putting your holistic program together.
Here is a generalized list.
1. Physical Self-Care
Physical self-care is about nourishing the body. It is asking yourself, what does my body need to fuel, to maintain and support optimum living?
This may vary depending on each person, and what aspects to include in a health plan. It can be dependent on a person’s body type.
These include food, sleep, exercise and general lifestyle.
2. Mind Self-Care
It is very important to care for our minds. Our minds bring logic, decision making and an intellectual component to our lives.
It allows us to introspect, find solutions, navigate our world and therefore be able to improve t.
3. Emotional Care
Our emotions navigate our lives by showing us what is good and nurturing: that of feeling loved.
And that which isn’t good, such as pursuing a career that brings up resistance and fear.
4. Spiritual Care
Spiritual care is about nurturing our souls.
This is through finding a deeper purpose and fulfilment in life. It is doing what you are called to do: embracing your unique gifts and purpose.
The fifth area is connection. It comes through relating and learning from the physical world by immersing ourselves in relationships.
Whether it be a partner, kids, family, friends or animal people; having these relationships are essential to our wellbeing.
Benefits of a self-care practice
Self-care has many benefits in all aspects of health. While the list is endless, I have given a few examples:
Self-care can help to reduce anxiety, depression and stress. When you are looking after yourself, living a good lifestyle and nurturing the mind, you are less likely to sink into these negative cycles.
Self-care can help with a clearer mind and better decision-making. When you are calm, focused and nutritionally nourishing the brain with nutrients, you will find your mind to be more focused.
Living in a loving space, focused on gratitude, can help us embrace joy, freedom, fulfilment and happiness.
A solid practise can help to improve physical health and a plant-based lifestyle has shown to drastically reduce the risk of chronic disease.
When caring for oneself, you have the capacity to care for others and so relationships flow with ease and acceptance.
Self-care as a foundation of a health program
Self-care should be the basis of any holistic health program, as is essential as part of the body-conscious diagnostic program.
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