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As a first time mum and self-employed, one thing I have faced and struggled with is finding the time to SELF-CARE. What a big topic eh? This is something I coach on to pretty much all my patients/clients during the very first sessions, sometimes forgetting myself that it is not an easy practice at all.

The first reflection I would like to make is actually about thinking what self-care is. As per definition self-care is “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress”. So, it is a practice that requires an effort, as it is not something that is within our daily habits (for the majority of us).

One barrier to self-care that many of my patients mention is that they either do not know how to practice self-care or that they mistakenly consider unhelpful habits as self-care. Examples are binging in front of the TV, watching loads of TV “to switch off the brain” or drinking. As you can imagine, these habits bring some comfort in the short term (immediately) but do not necessarily help with the purpose of bringing well-being overall. For example watching TV does not necessarily help to calm the brain, if anything it stimulates even more.

Self-care in my opinion is something that brings our mind and body into sync (as one of my patients said recently), where you feel the body slowing down, slowing relaxing, feeling overall more calm and lighter, open to your needs, the world and to others. If after a self-care activity you feel that way, I think you got the point! This is because when you self-care the body lowers your stress levels, cortisol and adrenalin go down, and other endorphins and feeling good neurotransmitters release in the nervous system and body.

Although everyone has their own way to self-care, in case you are one of those people who is always on “the go mode”, and have not taken much time to explore self-care for yourself, I would like to write here a few ideas for you to try:

  1. Try slowing down when you can – practicing slowing down during one of your daily chores can be a very healthy habit, for example while preparing a meal slowly or slowly hanging the clothes;

  2. Take breaks here and there, even a couple of minutes where you stand from the chair while in the office and look out of the window, or have a short walk around;

  3. Sleep plenty; this advice is especially towards all those who struggle with chronic pain or chronic symptoms. Our body is made to self-heal – but can only do when it feels at rest, not in survival. If you are always stressed, most likely the body will not be able to self-care and therefore heal.

  4. Accept help; sometimes as adults we endure our work and/or family responsibilities in a way that it becomes “too much” for our body. My invitation is that sometimes we can delegate, and ask for help if we are struggling with juggling too many things. We do not need to be superheroes!

  5. Learn to say no – putting boundaries. Sometimes we get excited by things in life and we want to do everything, be present and participate to family, work and social events or be always available to other people’s requests. However, this can become a burden again as our capacity to handle things has a limit, in terms of energy and stimulation.

  6. Choose a slow activity that you are passionate about to self-care: this can be taking a walk in nature, listening to the birds and observing the plants around, having a hot bath with candles and soft music, listening to calm music, painting, drawing or journaling, self-massaging your feet, putting cream on the body.

  7. Finally but not least, my invitation is coming back to the mat, and everyday having a short session with yourself and your body where you perform some slow and gentle movements, practicing present moment awareness, slow breathing. Sometimes this can be enough to reset your nervous system.

So as you can see, self-care is essential for our everyday well-being. If you agree with this, how can you put in practice some of these ideas?

If you wanted to start today with self-caring a bit more by acting even with one action, what would you do? Remember, every small action counts!

I leave you now with these questions hoping to have sparkled some thoughts and ideas for you to try self-caring for yourself. I wish you can enjoy this self-exploration and practice!

Please leave a comment if you would like to share any thoughts with me or the community

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