How to create the ultimate self-care package
Self-care is huge right now. Day spa’s use it to entice you in for a facial, nail salons remind us that getting your nails all pretty is okay. Chocolate and wine shops say you deserve a treat. It’s all about looking after yourself, right?
When you’re 18 years old, if someone suggests you need to learn more about looking after yourself, you’re instantly offended. You’re an adult now, seriously! During your 20’s you discover bills, bosses and love, so you think you’ve got it mostly figured out. Then kids come along and any thought of your own needs are shoved aside.
Until one day you wake up and discover that you absolutely must look after yourself, before anyone else. You hear about self-care from a friend or your Instagram feed and you finally get it.
I’ve seen a lot of articles explaining what self-care is and why it’s not selfish. Easy to see why people might be confused, a selfish person is often said to be ‘only caring about themselves’.
What’s the difference?
Caring for ourselves is an act of love that we all can do on a daily basis.
This involves treating ourselves with kindness and tending to our needs. Caring only about yourself (selfishness) is when you focus on just what you want and neglect to consider others.
Assuming you choose the first option, I think the best way to show self-care is to break it into three categories. Humans are complex beings, to meet all our needs, one overarching act is not enough.
I believe that getting a massage can be a healing experience. I also believe that no number of facials and high heels matter if you don’t value your sense of self-worth.
Instead of self-care, make room in your life for the three most important types of care: body, mind and spiritual care.
Your body works hard for you, day after day, and we often take that for granted. When we become unwell, we complain that our body is letting us down. Along with all the amazing things your body does without you having to think about them, it also sends us clues when it’s time to slow down or rest. But we push on, then we get angry when our body forces us to stop. I put my hand up as guilty of this one. It took me a long time to learn to listen to my body, and I am still learning. Pushing through hunger, dehydration, fatigue, pain, needing to wee, I convinced myself that what I was doing was more important than resting, eating, drinking, exercising.
Heatherash Amara, in her book Awaken Your Inner Fire, reminds us that “While the energy from your inner fire is infinite, your body’s physical energy is finite. Treat your body with care and tend to your physical fire. Know that regardless of how well you take care of it, at some point that physical flame will sputter. Use this truth as motivation each day, to drink from the cup of life.”
Nourish your body and show it the love it deserves with these tips:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Eat foods that give you energy and maintain a balanced diet. Nutritionist Sarah Fictoor explains “a balanced diet is one that provides your body with the required nutrients it needs to function optimally. It is important because our organs and tissues require proper nutrition to work effectively in their roles of warding off disease, infection, fatigue and a host of other health issues.”
- Stretch before bed. Ease away the days aches by loosening up.
- Wear shoes that provide comfort and support. Yep, I ditched fashion shoes with cardboard thin soles for ones that feel like my foot is wrapped in a cloud. Your feet affect so many other areas of your body, it’s important to look after them.
- Visit your doctor for regular check-ups.
- Get a decent sleep every night.
- Practice deep breathing. This is great for your mind as well. We often live in a heightened state which puts stress on our body. Focus on breathing all the way into your belly, hold then release. Science reports reduction of stress along with health benefits from deep breathing, so try a few variations to find what works for you.
- Get that niggling pain in your back or neck checked by a physiotherapist.
- Do your pelvic floor exercises.
Emily Smith, Mindset Coach (NLP & TLT), Personal Trainer and mum of two, shares two ways she cares for her body:
- I move with purpose every day, this doesn’t mean slogging it at the gym for an hour, it simply means showing gratitude for the way my body can move. This might be a swim in the ocean, a walk, a stretch, OR it could mean a run, a weights workout or climbing a mountain!
- Secondly, I eat to nourish my body and mind. I don’t follow a strict diet, I eat the foods I know will make me feel good. That includes wine, chocolate and cheese when I want! And I don’t ever feel guilty about it.
Body care may also include moisturising, massages and Epsom salt baths. These are nice to do and will make you feel better, as long as you’re ticking off your body’s core needs. The aim is to care for your body in all the ways that it desires.
“We only get one body! Without it, we wouldn’t exist. As time goes on and medicine advances, we are living longer. This can only be a good thing if we live in HEALTHY bodies for longer. I don’t know anyone who wants to live with a debilitating disease into old age.” Emily Smith
Looking after your body, because you love it and appreciate it, is the key to a happy relationship with your vessel.
Creating a healthy mind takes time, we’re often plagued by old beliefs and negative thoughts. Smith defines a healthy mindset as “thought management. Our thoughts dictate our emotions, and our emotions dictate our actions (hello emotional eating!) A healthy mindset is one that notices thoughts that don’t serve us positively, and challenges them to change.”
Caring for your mind involves becoming a bit of a detective. You have to get past the surface chatter and dig for the hidden clues as to where you mind as at. Some ways to do this are:
- Bringing awareness to your mental state is the first step to having a healthy mind.
- Found a belief which you feel no longer serves you? Remind yourself that you can choose what you believe.
- Share your concerns, sometimes all we need is someone listening to us.
- Mind dumping. Getting everything that’s on your mind onto paper. Then you can choose to action it, file it or burn it.
- Uni-tasking. Focusing on only one task and doing it to the best of your ability reduces feelings of overwhelm and provides clarity.
- Laugh! Laughing is a great way to clear your mind of all your worries.
- Read a book to learn something new. Learning puts our life in perspective and brings a sense of achievement.
Smith adds her top two tips for thought management:
- Word swaps! Swap ‘should’ for ‘could’. Swap ‘Must’ for ‘Can’. Notice the change in possibilities and choice!
- When you feel a negative emotion, notice your thoughts. What thought is contributing to this emotion? Can you change that thought by looking at the situation from a different angle?
This is where the act of caring for yourself becomes truly unique. We all have different passions and ways to fill our spiritual cup. To discover yours, take some time to write down what truly matters to you. Kathryn Keira, Vibrational Healer, believes that tending to our spiritual health creates flow within our body and our life. She suggests spending time unearthing what you love doing. Doing something you love brings a sense of pleasure and fulfillment.
Spiritual care can include:
- Walks on the beach.
- Time with close friends. Spending time around people who support your whole, uncensored self creates feelings of acceptance.
- Lighting candles and listening to the silence before you sleep.
- Writing in a gratitude journal. Knowing what you’re grateful for in your life opens up your heart. When we appreciate all the good in our lives, our focus shifts to the positive.
- Known for clearing the mind and bringing a sense of calm, meditation may also help with insomnia, high blood pressure and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Attending women’s circles, church or silent retreats. Whatever spiritual beliefs you have, allow time to be in that space.
In her book, Goddesses Never Age, Christianne Northrup, M.D., reminds us that “having a relationship with yourself, by loving yourself fully, you’re serving the world. You’re inspiring others to truly appreciate themselves by modelling what it looks like to appreciate yourself without conceit.”
Create a care package which nourishes your mind, body and soul. Look after yourself because you’re worth it.
I’d love to hear how you nurture yourself, let me know in the comments below!
Hi, I’m Kara, your friendly fitness copywriter.
I help health, fitness and wellness professionals make their words sell. From writing epic sales pages to making their content SEO friendly, I’ll get your words working for you. A healthy living nerd, you’ll often find me doing a yoga or weights session finished off by a swim at my local beach on the stunning Mornington Peninsula.
If you like my style and you need blog posts written, let’s chat.