How are your New Years resolutions going? If you’re anything like me, you might be finding January a really hard time to make lasting changes. It’s right after Christmas when we have been over-indulging and probably curled up on the sofa (or was that just me???).
It’s also COLD, and grey, and most of us are probably just feeling exhausted and a bit flat. And many of us are struggling with or recovering from Covid.
So, for me, it’s not the time of year for radical change, deprivation or extreme exercise! It’s actually a much better time for nourishment, nurturing and replenishing.
Why don’t we instead resolve to practice some SELF CARE?
You can watch the video below or listen to the podcast (episode 106).
Why is self care so important?
In our busy manic lives, self care is not only important, it’s essential! Sometimes we see self care as a luxury or a treat, but if we don’t look after ourselves daily, we are no good to anyone around us.
Our bodies are designed to pump out cortisol and adrenaline for emergencies only (like a lion attack), but these days we're pumping it out constantly and not giving our adrenals a rest. If we don't switch off that fight or flight response, all those stress hormones can not only make us feel wired, anxious, depressed, irritable, foggy, and sleepless, but they also put us at extra risk of chronic disease!
Now self care has different meanings for different people. Some people think about going on a spa day, or having a massage or sitting in a warm bath with candles.
Yes, all of that is self care. But I’m looking at caring for your whole self on a daily basis. That means really looking at what will nourish and replenish you consistently and for the long term.
My Top Ten Self Care Tips
So here are my top self care tips to switch off that stress response and start feeling like you again;
- Start saying no – get clear on your boundaries. As women, we tend to want to please everyone, be the nice girl, look after and help everyone. But that's just not possible. Imagine you're the Queen – focus on people in your ‘realm' – your family, friends and loved ones. And only give your time, energy and love to them. Everyone else can wait (by the way, they have their own realms to look after them!).
2. Drink enough water – it's so basic, but we often forget to keep hydrated, especially as we get older. Dehydration will make you tired, moody, foggy and will likely wake you up at 3am! Not to mention the wrinkles…..
3. Start your day with a nourishing smoothie – this way, you'll get off on the right foot – balanced blood sugar and sustained energy til lunchtime. Limit the fruit to berries and citrus, and pile in the veg, some healthy fats and protein, and you're good to go.
4. Get out into nature – it's proven that being out in nature has a huge impact on our mood and stress levels. The best free self care you can get!
5. Block out your holidays for the year – even if you don’t have any plans to go away, block out the time now so you can book it later. It's so important to give yourself time off on a regular basis (and don't answer your work emails from your sun bed!!)
6. Book in some coffee and lunch dates with friends / family – it's easy to not make the effort to keep in touch with friends, but science has shown that we need our social networks to thrive.
7. Find a yoga class locally or online – yoga is so beneficial for your wellbeing (and your hormones!). It's strength training (try Downward Dog for 5 minutes!), flexibility (reducing the risk of injury/strains), breathing (SO good for stress) and mindfulness (you have to concentrate on the pose!).
8. Breathe – when we're stressed and on the go we breathe shallowly through the chest. Deep belly breathing can switch off your stress response super fast. Try the 5-5-5 method of breathing a few times a day (breathe in for 5 counts, hold for 5, breathe out for 5) – it's a game changer.
9. Up your veggies – a no-brainer this one. Your body needs lots of varied vegetables to get the nutrients it needs. Not to mention your gut bacteria (the good guys LOVE to feed on vegetables) and of course the fibre that you need to eliminate properly.
10. Get enough quality sleep – easy enough to say, but sleep is SO underrated. Not just for the huge impact on how you function day to day, but sleep has incredible health benefits that we're only just discovering.
I'm also a huge fan of Sensate! It's a brilliant little device designed to calm your stress response in just 10 minutes a day. Click here and use code HAPPYHORMONES for a 10% discount if you fancy trying it out.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. So ditch the resolutions. Instead make a plan for your self care needs – much more fun! And make sure you stick to it. If you don’t prioritise it, life will get in the way and derail you.
If you need personal help with anything, contact us and we’ll get some information over to you on our 1-1 support and testing.