What is self-care?

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.

Audre Lorde

Self-care is a concept that is quite new to people.  Some think that self-care is a form of indulgence or even selfish.  At its very essence, self-care is a way of nurturing yourself on a daily basis to prevent you from burn out and helps you cope with the normal ups and downs of life.

Good nutrition, hydration, sleep, exercise and positive relationships are a great starting point.  Extra bonuses for pleasurable activities; singing, dancing and creative arts – such as painting, gardening or other artistic expressions.

Mindfulness is also beneficial, and studies have shown that this practice can heal both the body and the mind.  Thirty minutes per day is all you need, but don’t despair – you can work up to this.  There are plenty of books, audios or websites dedicated to this topic.  A favourite website/app is Insight Timer where you can access 100,000 free meditations.  Breathing exercises are also included in mindfulness and we could all do with some help to calm the body down when stress and/or anxiety makes its presence known.

Self-care is also learning to say no to others when you can’t do something or don’t want to.  A way of putting up boundaries when you are time poor, or not feeling well.  Giving yourself permission to say no or to delegate to others.  Being kind to yourself and not overloading or burdening yourself. 

Self-care doesn’t have to be expensive and can include activities inside the home and includes all of our senses.  Take the time for a luxurious bath, adding in bath salts or oils to make it a luxurious experience.  Taking time to read for pleasure, baking a cake, taking a walk and noticing the things around you (the gardens, the smells, feeling the wind on your body) or nourishing your body with moisturiser.

Is your body calling out for some nurturing?  What can you do to introduce or reintroduce some self-care into your life?  It’s never too late to begin.