Sustainable Self-Care Practices
By: Kristin Dahl
The relationship we have with ourselves is truly the most important relationship of all. Taking time to care for ourselves is crucial to living from a vibrant and vital place. When we honor the call for self-care, we nurture ourselves deeply and allow our bodies to reset and restore.
When we give ourselves time to unplug, nap, daydream, and just be, we allow our nervous system to move from a fight or flight state to a state of deep relaxation. In this state, our bodies renew and repair themselves more effectively. Our metabolism regulates, our hormones rebalance, and our skin begins to radiate. Giving ourselves this gift of downtime creates space for healing to occur.
Our culture demands almost a constant outflow of energy. It’s often when we are busiest that the most essential elements of taking care of ourselves somehow fall away. We try to keep up with the quickening pace, pushing past the max of what our bodies are capable of; this results in low immunity, constant fatigue, brain fog, and unconscious stress. And, eventually, dis-ease in the mind or body.
So how do we take time for self-care when the demands are so high?
The most direct way is to simplify and prioritize the needs of your body over everything else. It often means saying no when you are already overcommitted and taking the time to be present with the basic needs of your body. Perhaps it’s reading, sipping tea or taking a bath, spending time in nature, or booking a massage. Maybe it’s a day at home in your jammies with nothing planned at all to just sink in or taking a “sick day” off of work before you really can’t make it in.
Self-care begins when we reconnect with ourselves. Take a peek through this guide for a few simple ways you can care for yourself a little more each day.
1. TAKE BREATH BREAKS
The fastest way that we can connect to our body is through our breath. This offers us a profound awareness and mindfulness of what we need to fully nurture ourselves.
Deep breathing for even just five minutes at a time throughout the day can offer your body and mind so much relief. This could mean simple five minute breath breaks at the office or between clients or taking yourself for a walk around your neighborhood or office building and drawing in the fresh air.
Unplugging is absolutely essential for our happiness and well-being. Take time away from technology as often as possible. Capture every moment with your heart and mind and allow yourself to sink into the moments. Spend more time with others over texting and chatting online. This unplugged time may be one of the best ways to reset our nervous system.
3. SPEAK WORDS OF KINDNESS TO YOURSELF
You are a beautiful being. Remind yourself that every day with gentle, loving internal and external dialogue. Always make an effort to be kind to yourself, just as you are to others.
4. ADAPT TO THE SEASONS
Tailor your diet, exercise routine, sleep schedule, and lifestyle to match the rhythms of nature and you’ll find yourself in better health and alignment. Especially in the winter time, honoring the gentle and internal energies of the season means slowing down, resting, and making time for grounding rituals.
5. EAT REGULAR MEALS AT REGULAR TIMES
Nourishing yourself regularly throughout the day with balanced meals helps keep your metabolism fueled, blood sugar stable, and moods stable.
6. DRINK WATER
Every cell, tissue, and organ in the body needs water to work efficiently. Without enough water poor health is quickly on the horizon. There are a number of functions that water performs for the body: regulating body temperature, transporting nutrients and electrical signals to cells, lubricating the joints, and flushing out toxins and wastes. A mere 5% drop in the body’s water levels can cause a 30% loss of energy.
7. GET MOVING
Engage in regular activity to keep the lymph and qi in your body flowing. The helps maintain a healthy metabolism & hormones, regulates body temperature, and pacifies emotional imbalance.
8. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Every bit of our being benefits from regular, restorative sleep. Setting a routine that includes 7-8 hours of sleep before midnight is key for restoring harmony.
The daily practice of tuning in, getting intimate with ourselves, and creating boundaries with those around us creates a life of more happiness and helps us navigate life with more ease. When we deeply honor, nourish & care for ourselves, we have so much more to offer. Do this for yourself as often as possible. You are worth this radical self-love and self-care.