If I were to ask you the question;
"What do you do for self care"?
Would you be able to list one thing that you try to do on a daily basis in order to improve your health?
When I meet a new patient for their initial appointment I spend a lot of time getting to know their story, their medical history and current health concerns. I also make a point of asking if they know how stress effects their body and what they do for self care on a daily basis?
I have found that many people are not aware of the effects that stress has on their body and that often times a self care routine is non existent. When self care is mentioned, it usually involves activities like a massage, manicure, wine or a bubble bath. These activities are all enjoyable and can be forms of self care, but sometimes we need to go beyond the bubble baths!!
The Importance of Self Care
Self care can be defined as taking an active role to improve one's health. We all know physical health is important for us. However, did you know much of our physical health is affected by our mental and emotional health? Stress alone can have detrimental effects on physical health including fatigue, lowered immune system functioning and high blood pressure. If we don’t slow down and take care of ourselves – physically, mentally and emotionally – we run the risk of deteriorating our overall wellness. Committing to a self-care routine can improve your health, self-esteem, compassion and empathy towards others. Self-care is saying to yourself, “I deserve to be healthy and feel my best”. Contrary to popular belief, self care does not make you selfish. It can be an ongoing challenge to make time for self care. There is often not enough hours in the day to accomplish everything we need to do. When you discover that you're neglecting a certain aspect of your life, create a plan for change. You don't have to tackle everything all at once. Identify one small step you can take to begin caring for yourself better. Then, schedule time to focus on your needs. Even when you feel like you don't have time to squeeze in one more thing, make self care a priority.
Types of Self Care
I have broken down self care into three different categories and listed a few different ways to practise self care.
1. Physical Self Care: getting adequate sleep, individualized nutrition, movement/exercise, rest and annual physical exams with your naturopathic doctor.
2. Mental Self Care: trying to have a daily practice of gratitude, setting short term and long term goals, meditation, changing negative self talk.
3. Emotional Self Care: expressing emotions through talking, journalling, artwork or dance. Practising forgiveness of yourself and others. Practising self love which means that you unconditionally accept yourself.
Other Ways to Introduce Self Care into Your Life
→ making difficult decisions that could improve the quality of your life
→ setting boundaries with loved ones
→ cancelling exciting plans in order to rest when sick
→ down-sizing in order to be able to better afford life's necessitiesOne of my goals as a naturopathic doctor is to educate and empower my patients. I encourage all of my patients to try and commit to a ritual of self care on a daily basis. All too often I see people who are constantly rushing through their days only to find that weeks or months have gone by and they are feeling run down or burned out.
If you find that lately you have been feeling run down, tired in the morning when you wake even though you have had a good night sleep or find that you are getting sick often I invite you to reach out and request a complimentary 15 minute "meet and greet" to find out how I can support you. If you have any questions, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org