Practicing self care and self love
One of the challenges many of us face is making ourselves a priority. When so much of life is external, and we put so much energy into caring for others, we can forget to take out time for ourselves.
On a deeper level, when we’re constantly putting our energy outward, we spend a significant amount of time in the sympathetic nervous system, also known as our fight or flight response. When our body spends prolonged periods within this stress response system, it can cause deeper levels of unhappiness, low self-esteem, feelings of resentment, interrupted sleep, body aches and brain fog.
As the human species, our bodies are designed to spend 99% of our time in our parasympathetic nervous system, also known as the rest and digest response. When our bodies are in this relaxed state of being, we digest our food well, enjoy good quality sleep, and achieve clarity and better connection within ourselves.
It’s about being in life, not doing in life.
Through these self care practices, we can rebalance our physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing to significantly improve our quality of life.
Optimal physical wellbeing involves nourishing our bodies with the best foods, moving our bodies when and how we feel we need to and ensuring consistent quality sleep.
When we consciously look after our physical wellbeing, it creates a flow-on effect on our emotional and spiritual wellbeing.
What to consider
- When I think about the quality and amount of food I eat, am I supporting my body’s nourishment needs?
- When I think about the level and variety of physical activity I engage in, am I supporting my functional movement?
- When I wake in the morning, do I feel rested from a quality sleep?
Be conscious of what your body needs. Do you have a lot of energy to expel? If so, challenge yourself and go for a run. Does your body feel sluggish and exhausted? Go for a light walk in nature.
By becoming more in tune with your body, you can better understand what it needs in that precise moment and begin to connect with yourself on a deeper level.
Our past emotions can feed negative self talk which is a self-destructive habit that takes practice to alter. We need to consider our self dialogue and truly question whether what we’re telling ourselves is eroding our health or serving us in a positive way.
What the mind perceives, the body believes.
In the current climate, it’s more important than ever that we stop, breathe and rebalance our thought diet. When worrying media reports and uncertainty constantly surround us, we can find ourselves experiencing heightened feelings of fear, which again switches our bodies into the sympathetic nervous system. For anybody experiencing fear, it’s so vital that you reach out for support from loved ones or seek professional guidance.
What to consider
- When I review my day and my week, do I feel that I have clear boundaries respected by friends, family and work colleagues?
- Do I have an authentic support network that will assist me in overcoming obstacles in life?
- Am I in control of my own responses, and do I listen to my own inner voice?
By taking time out for ourselves, like running a bath or a soothing massage, we’re making an active effort to honour ourselves and make a difference in our emotional wellbeing.
Our spiritual wellbeing is all about connection. When we treat ourselves with dignity and respect, we can connect with ourselves and the outside world on a deeper level. This connection to ourselves and our environment helps us connect to that which is far greater, whatever that presence may be.
For example, when we immerse ourselves in Mother Nature, we become attuned to the gentle days and the stormy days, and we can take these observations into our own being. The more we can listen, be present and connect, that brings forward our greatest capacity as the human species and helps us to be supportive and congruent within ourselves.
What to consider
- When I stop and listen to my inner voice, do I feel I have a connection with myself?
- Do I have purpose and meaning in my life?
- Do I love life?
A healthy dose of wonder and awe in life is essential. Make time to immerse yourself in the things that make you marvel, and you will open yourself up to deeper connections with something far greater.
Notice the beauty around you every day. Focus on finding positive elements. Drink fluids that hydrate you and choose organic foods that nourish you. Think positive, productive thoughts and learn how to manage psychological pressure effectively. Step away from drama and gossip and connect with people who lift you up.
How to practice self care and self love
There’s one self care practice that can help improve your physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing, and that’s the breath. When we breathe consciously, we breathe deep down into our abdominals which is a remarkably soothing practice.
Lay on your back and watch your belly rise and chest expand, then fall back down slowly. It’s such a rhythmic move and helps our body to relax and reconnect completely. You can follow the tips on how to relax through breathing.
If you enjoyed this article, you’ll find plenty of helpful self care practices in our Wellness at Home Book or Wellness at Home Online Resource. Both resources are designed to help you embrace new lifestyle habits and integrate the Gwinganna philosophy into your everyday life.