In today’s relentlessly busy society, we rarely have time to stop, take a deep breath and really consider our wellbe-ing. There never seems to be enough time to fit in the things we need to do, let alone the things we want to do, therefore it’s often the case that taking adequate care of ourselves, falls by the wayside.
Now, as much as we’d love to, we, unfortunately, can’t give you more hours in the day. We can, however, offer up some truly helpful tips, tricks and practical lifestyle changes to get you feeling like the best version of yourself, even when you only have a few minutes to spare!
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care doesn’t just mean taking an evening off to have a long bath and give yourself a pedicure, though this is a great way to feel relaxed and take advantage of a well-earned pamper session!
For example, taking yourself off to one of your towns best nail salons may seem superficial, but finally dealing with that nasty ingrown toenail you’ve been putting off or taking care of your uncomfortable dead skin with a soothing pumice stone will not only have your feet looking better, but they’ll also feel better! And don’t feel guilty for throwing in a little nail polishing and a coat of varnish for an extra special finish to your visit.
Self-care takes on many forms, from an entire evening spent relaxing your body and mind with a gorgeous Thai massage to following a nutritionally supportive diet and clocking up those hours with Mr Sandman. It’s all about finding simple ways to introduce moments of calm, beneficial diet and exercise habits along with time explicitly devoted to embrace and experience the things that bring you pure joy!
Why Is Self-Care Important?
It’s no secret that more and more of us are working more, sleeping less, and more often than not, spending our so-called ‘downtime’ answering emails, scrolling through social media or contemplating our endless to-do list! All of this combined with finding time for family, friends, hobbies, exercising, or even just a little time to get fed and watered can make setting aside those moments for self-care seem like an impossibility. Or, in many of our cases, an unimportant inconvenience.
The funny thing is, not making time to look after yourself is often the very reason you’re feeling so swamped. When we’re not practising self-care, we’re not giving our minds and bodies any time to recover and refuel ready for their next undertaking. It’s surprising what an impromptu hair cut or even just a long shower sprucing up your hair with your favourite shampoo and conditioner can do! The Serene Scalp Shampoo and Conditioner by Oribe is one of our absolute favourite hair styling products and a sure-fire way to leave you, and your scalp, feeling calm and re-newed. This is also one of our most recommended options for hair care as this shampoo and conditioner are both sulfate-free!
You’d never expect your car to drive across the country without gas and the odd rest stop, just as you can’t expect yourself to get from Monday to Sunday without re-fueling your body and, maybe even more importantly, your mind.
How Can I Practice Self-Care?
Planning Your Day… Including Some Me Time
Just as you plan out time for meetings, school runs, errands, work commitments and everything else in your busy schedule, it’s time to start planning out time for number one. Taking just thirty minutes here and there can truly make the world of difference to both your physical and mental health as well as your ability to tackle your day suc-cessfully.
Our top tip for a relaxing hour? Swedish massages! Ask your masseuse to target a specific area or pressure point that’s been troubling you and you’ll soon feel the benefits. These massages are also notorious for improving your circulation by increasing oxygen levels in the blood, therefore decreasing muscle toxins.
So, write these self-care appointments into your diary, phone calendar, on the back of your hand or wherever you plan out your week. That way, the time is already there, set aside, and it’s all yours. Better yet, give yourself the luxury of an hour or two and book in for a well earned deep tissue massage. It’s the perfect way to increase blood flow and reduce pain, leaving you feeling physically and mentally prepared for the week ahead.
Getting Enough Sleep
When you’re feeling drained, people will always tell you, “just get a good nights rest”. This can sound like a throwaway statement but, in truth, it’s advice worth heeding. Of all things self-care related, getting enough sleep is absolutely one of the most important to your health. A short temper and lack of focus might be the outcome of an off-night here and there but repeatedly ignoring your sleep schedule over an extended period of time can lead to much more serious health concerns like heart disease and high blood pressure. So, just as you set an alarm to get you out of bed, consider setting one to get you into it too!
As a bonus, limit your evening screen time and make sure to switch off phones and laptops at least an hour before bed. Make sure your bedroom is a work, phone and TV free zone and you’ll find falling asleep much easier. Reading is also a great way to induce some much-needed shut-eye. Just you try concentrating on the tiny text of a classic novel after a taxing day, your head will be hitting that pillow in no time!
No, this doesn’t mean you have to sign up to the gym or start running at 5 am each morning, unless you want to! It means, get yourself moving. Whatever that means to you, whether its treadmills, weights, a dance class or walking home instead of jumping on the subway. Moving your body feels good, it clears the mind AND it burns calories. The benefits are truly endless!
Understand Your Diet
It’s more than likely you’re already aware of the health benefits of a well-balanced diet so we won’t go on about why it needs to happen for you, we will, however, talk about, how. Getting to know what’s inside the food you consume every day is the first and, really, the only step in working towards a healthier diet. For example, are the chips you eat with lunch baked or fried? How much salt do they contain? You get the idea! Very simply, here are some of the most important things to look out for from a food perspective…
Cut down on saturated sugars and fats
Limit your sugar intake (The maximum amount recommended per day is 37.5 grams for men and 25 grams for women)
Watch out for items with high salt content (6 grams is your maximum recommended daily intake)
Drink plenty of water to aid digestion, clear your skin and keep you well hydrated
Avoid drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
Talk It Out
Yes, we’re talking about self-care but nobody can expect to overcome every challenge in life without the help or kind ear of a trusted friend or family member. Self-care isn’t about taking your well-being solely into your own hands, it’s about recognizing those things you need to be happy and healthy and giving yourself the time and the space to get there. It’s not about shutting yourself off. If you’ve had a hard day, a hard week and hard year, talking through it can lift an immeasurable burden you perhaps never even realized you were carrying. Make time to talk for yourself, not by yourself.
Have Some Fun
Laughing, creating memories, and letting go of all the seriousness in our lives is an unbelievably effective way to practice self-care. Why not, for example, invite a few friends over and treat yourselves to an evening of self-care and pampering from your head to your toes. Start with a luxurious hair mask and work your way towards a fierce pedi-cure! For all the blondes out there, get your hands on the irresistible Masque Ultra-Violet Purple Hair Mask by Kerastase Paris. Its unique formula works to eliminate brassy tones and illuminate your blonde tresses for even brightness whilst protecting against daily damage and nourishing from root to tip.
Ultimately, whatever works for you, doing something you’re eternally passionate about, seeing the humor in a gloomy situation and creating time and space for the good things in your life to outweigh those more stressful or negative is immensely important and truly healing.
Finally, we understand that going for hot stone massages, getting a manicure, or walking around the block for a few minutes alone with your thoughts may seem like a waste of your time when you have a to-do list as long as your arm. Let us tell you now, it absolutely is not. Not only do you need that time to balance out the work from the downtime, you completely deserve it. So make that coffee date, take a long lunch, steal an extra few minutes on your way into the office to walk through the park. Soak it in, enjoy it and let it energise you for another day.