Self care series (wrapping up)

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As we reach the end of the series of 6 posts on self care, I hope you have enjoyed reading the posts over the past several weeks and have been able to benefit from them in some way. If you have not read them, you can read them HERE.

My next series of posts that I will be sharing with you over the next 8 weeks will deal with the issue of low self worth that many of us are dealing with which usually shows up in different patterns of self neglect. It is also one of the primary reasons that we do not make our health a priority and take the steps that are required to move towards our health and wellness goals. This feeling of low self worth is also often accompanied by a lack of self compassion both of which I will be addressing in the next series. The posts will cover topics like understanding our needs, overgiving and deprivation, the power of a NO, celebrating your unique self and others. 

"Self care means giving the world the best of you, instead of what's left of you"

-Ratie Reed

However, before I go any further, I would like to share something with you first. 

Several years ago, our daughter was seriously unwell and hospitalised with a life threatening infection when she was just 7 years old. We are extremely fortunate that she survived the ordeal but it took her a long time to recover completely. Mostly, it was a struggle to find a way to manage the severe chronic condition that she had which had put her in the hospital in the first place. Four long years after her hospitalisation she went on to go off all her medications and today her condition has healed with the help of Functional Medicine- but that's a story for another day. 

The reason I mention all this is that as her mother and primary caregiver, this situation forced me to understand that if I wanted to take care of her effectively over a period of time, I needed to take care of myself FIRST. As is the case for most women, as primary caregivers of our families, we simply do not have the time to take care of ourselves. However, without an active self care practice, it is easy to get angry, frustrated and resentful in a difficult situation with ourselves and those around us. We need to learn to take care of ourselves deeply and intentionally so that we can take care of our loved ones without feeling guilty and obligated and getting burned out.  

In my Health Coaching practice, I see this happening all the time with the majority of my clients most of whom are women (this would likely be true for men as well).

We may not realise this, but true self care need not be an expensive or time-consuming affair, we can take care of ourselves in the smallest of ways, especially when it is the last thing on our mind. 

What about you? Does this sound familiar to you? Is there any way that you can relate to what I have written here?

If you are ready to explore different ways that you can choose to take care of yourself, you can read my earlier post on this topic Selfcare- you cannot drink from an empty cup (Take back the power to heal yourself)”.

You can also choose to join the 7 day online self care challenge for women "LOVE YOURSELF FIRST"

(details are given below)

 "LOVE YOURSELF FIRST

I would like to share at this point that I am hosting a free 7 day online challenge for women which has started TODAY. You can still enrol for the same using the link below. 

STARTS ON 30th of September 2019 (Monday) 
ENDS ON 6th of October 2019 (Sunday)

 

This challenge is for women who feel overwhelmed, exhausted, depleted and/or frazzled and are running on empty with little to give to themselves or others

This challenge is ALSO for you if you are ready to

accept yourself completely

refuse to feel guilty for taking out time for yourself

feel more energetic savour time with yourself as well as take care of your family

WRAPPING UP 

As we wrap up this series, I would like to highlight the key points from each of the six posts.

Do you know your ‘WHY” ? (And why you should)

So let us dream and let us take out the time to reflect on what is truly important for each of us. Let us find the courage to face up to reality and make the changes necessary to live in our TRUTH. To look at ourselves in the mirror every single day and be proud of who we are. At the same time be able to view life compassionately as we deal with our own pain and suffering and that of others.

Let us live our life knowing that we did our best to become the "best version of ourselves".

Read the full article HERE

Rocks, pebbles and sand…the key to knowing what is important in your life

The problem is that we fail to realise that many activities which are actually "important" to us gets overlooked and even ignored in this process. As we move from one "crisis" to another, we get so caught up in the "doing" that we never stop to reflect whether it really needs to be done in the first place.

Read the full article HERE

5 simple morning habits for a calmer, brighter day

At each moment we have a choice. You chose to read this article today. You choose the clothes you wear, the foods you eat, the activities that you indulge in. You choose to be angry or to forgive people. You choose to be happy or to remain sad. You choose to be grateful for what you have or to focus on the things you lack in your life. You choose all these things and much more. BUT what you need to keep in mind is that this power to choose resides only in this present moment. In time, it is what we do every single day that matters much more than the profound decisions that we may make once in a while.

Read the full article HERE

Unplug and reconnect (change your relationship with technology)

Each of us has a relationship with our phone which in most of the cases is not in our favour and infact puts us at a major disadvantage. Unfortunately, this relationship often takes precedence over our real life relationships. It is time that we paused to think about what kind of relationship we really want with our phones. 

Read the full article HERE

What are you doing for others? (community and our health)

Being a part of a community is a powerful tool that we need to use to combat the illnesses that threaten our modern societies. Of course, wellness and good health starts with each of us taking personal responsibility for the choices that we make daily. We need to nourish our bodies with the right foods, take adequate rest, move our bodies and take care of our spiritual needs. However, it certainly does not end there.

Read the full article HERE

As I have already mentioned earlier in this post, the next series of posts that I will be sharing with you over the next 8 weeks will be covering the twin topics of SELF WORTH AND SELF COMPASSION. The posts will cover topics like understanding our needs, overgiving and deprivation, the power of a NO, celebrating your unique self and others. This will be followed by a Challenge on Self Compassion. 

As Eleanor Roosevelt said so beautifully "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent"

See you next week in the next series of articles!

Selfcare- you cannot drink from an empty cup (Take back the power to heal yourself- part 2)

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In my last post (you can read it here), I had highlighted the importance of self-care in terms of healing ourselves. In this post, I would like to delve deeper into this subject by answering the following questions.

What is self-care really?

And how is it tied to self-compassion and well being?

Most importantly, how do you find the version that works best for you so that you are most likely to continue with the routine especially when times get rough and you are incredibly busy?

What we may not realise is that self-care is not selfish, in fact, it is just the opposite. As parents taking good care of ourselves and thereby setting an example for our children is one of the best gifts we can give them. And as adults and citizens, we can model self-care habits to build a culture of sustainable health.

"You can't pour from an empty cup, take care of yourself first"

This is especially true for women and definitely true for me. As natural givers and caretakers, those women who are also mothers are even worse at self-care.  This is true for healthcare providers and other similar professions as well where sleepless nights, emotional exhaustion and constant demand is commonplace. While there will always be certain situations which are beyond our control, most of the time, we can take out the time to replenish and rejuvenate ourselves on a regular basis. Much the same way that we take care of our cars.

We send our car periodically to the best service centre to get a check up and servicing done. We also get it filled with top quality fuel so that it runs smoothly. But somehow, we end up ignoring the need to take care of our own physical and emotional health.

I learned this the hard way when I was taking care of our very sick 7-year-old daughter about 5 years ago. She was hospitalised with a life-threatening infection and before that, she had been struggling with major health issues for more than a year. I was willing to do anything and give up anything just to see her get better. I slept next to her in the ICU for almost 2 weeks straight while my husband and family took turns in the morning. It was a harrowing time for all of us.

But once she had come back home and things had settled down a bit for us, I realised very early that in order to take care of her, I had to take care of myself first. This realisation did not happen in one day though. Over a period of time I realised that if I did not take care of myself, I would not be able to do an effective job of taking care of her. This not only included tending to her physical needs, it also meant taking care of her emotional health as she dealt with a very difficult situation.

For most of us though, we do not need to wait for a difficult situation to come to this conclusion. We know deep down inside what we REALLY need to do take care of ourselves. We usually do not end up having a plan in place that can help us reach our self-care goals. Also, if you have not taken out the time to prioritise self-care in your busy life, you may never find out which practices will work for you since it will always be different for each person.

We forget that we need to treat ourselves with the same kindness that we treat others when they are in pain or in need of some kind of support. The very fact that we notice that someone who is suffering needs our compassion is what connects us to others and makes us human. Compassion also opens our hearts and minds to all kinds of experiences as we become more accepting and less judging. We have to realise the need to extend this same compassion to ourselves.

As we learn to accept our imperfections, failure and suffering which are all inevitable, we also learn to put ourselves on the top of our TO-DO lists. We start on our journey towards self-care and not only enrich our own lives but everyone around us.

"YOU are the most important investment you can make in your life"

There are many different ways that you can design your very own self-care routine. But it all starts with the realisation that you are well worth it to invest your own time and effort into this. No one else can do it for you.

In order to lead a meaningful, productive and healthy life, you will need to figure out the "self investments" that will pay off in the long run. It is impossible to "do-it-all" so it is important not to have an "all or nothing" attitude. Some people can get stuck with this mindset and end up not doing anything at all. We do not need a huge chunk of our day to take care of ourselves on a regular basis.

In reality, you can do a lot in five minutes—you can do some calming yoga poses, deep breathing, listen to some music that inspires you, do some guided meditation or read a chapter from a book.

Find a few things that work for you and condense them into smaller pieces which can be spread out into your daily routine. A consistent morning and evening routine works very well to start the day off on a positive note and then to end the day on a relaxing and quieting note leading to better sleep. No matter how busy your schedule, the payoff is well worth it.

The best way to start on your self-care journey is to

"Give yourself permission to pause during the day"

The different ways that you can utilise this time is by-

Moving your body every day- find a physical activity that you like and schedule a time to do it regularly. It does not matter what you do, it matters that you DO IT. It can be dancing, walking, jogging, running, yoga or anything else that you enjoy

Having a cup of tea and reading a book

Listening to your favourite music and getting up to dance a sweat if you feel like it

Getting a massage done once in a while

Keeping and writing in your journal regularly about things that matter to you, penning down your thoughts and feelings and even 3 things that you are grateful for everyday

Learning a new hobby or enjoying indulging in an old one like art, music, instruments, dance and anything else that you enjoy or even miss from your childhood

Taking out the time to make and maintain meaningful friendships

Setting aside a daily QUIET time which does not involve any electronics, social media, work. Consider meditation, enjoying creative activities like art or simply enjoying observing the clouds floating by outdoors or watching the raindrops fall on a glass pane and even taking a nap

It really does not matter what exactly you do, it matters that you DO IT.

Do you need to give yourself permission to pause from time to time during the day? Which activities appeal to you and how can you fit these into your daily schedule no matter how hectic it is? What are the obstacles that you need to overcome first? Please share your experiences and thoughts in the comments section below. I look forward to hearing from you!

(I will be posting the last part of this 3 series in the next week and it will cover an important aspect of getting to know yourself better as we practice. It is a natural progression from as we start practising self- care on a regular basis, I really look forward to sharing it with you)