What if I told you there is one essential ingredient required for you to change the quality of your life, to live to at the highest possible vibration and be the very best version of yourself each and every day, starting right now, and it doesn’t cost a cent. Not a single cent.

Would you be interested to hear it? Would you think it sounds too good to be true?

Well, guess what? There is 1 CORE INGREDIENT that everyone has ready access to, that doesn’t cost a thing, and it is available for everyone to start to use as soon as they CHOOSE to start using it.

And I am going to share it with you, right here, for FREE, right now as I believe everyone should know about it.

What is it?

SELF CARE.

Yep, that’s it……Self-care.

The single most important practice that can be performed by EVERYONE to achieve optimal wellbeing for FREE, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

Prioritising your self-care needs above all else (yes, even your work, husband and children – take a breathe MUMs!) is the most important thing you can do to improve your energy, your mindset, your mental clarity, your emotional resilience, reduce your stress, improve your physical conditioning and improve the quality of all of your relationships and in essence make you a much more effective and enjoyable person!

Self-care is a means of conservation, preservation and protection. Just like the environment, our cars and our houses, we need some upkeep to be fully functional and healthy over time. And it doesn’t have to take much time, just small, consistent efforts on a daily basis is enough to keep you running optimally.

And I am not alone in this opinion. Self-care is becoming more and more widely known as a non-negotiable for healthy living within the health industry with many holistic health practitioners ‘prescribing’ self care practices such as enjoyable daily movement (yes I said enjoyable), nourishing food choices, meditation, journaling, mindset reset prompts and gratitude practices as the foundations of improved wellness within their patients. Why? Because we know it works.

TOP 2 EXCUSES I HEAR ALMOST DAILY….

Typically we are very good a self-care activities when we are on holidays. We do the things that ‘light us up’ and ‘fill our good life buckets’ of vitality, connection and contribution, and as a result we feel AWESOME. Then we come home and ‘life’ happens and we don’t actively pursue those things we know make us feel good, as we don’t have TIME. Yes?

Ahhh……NO!       Sorry, that doesn’t fly with me.

That’s complete rubbish you keep telling yourself. An excuse that you have been using for many years, that seems acceptable to use as so many of us are caught up in the ‘busyness’ of our society these days. But it is actually just that…..an EXCUSE. In the same way as ‘the dog ate my homework’ just doesn’t cut it for kids these days, the whole ‘I don’t have time’ line no longer cuts it in the adult world.

We all have TIME. We all have the same amount of time in a day. What we don’t all share is the same PRIORITIES. And in my mind, for anyone truly wanting to optimise their health and wellbeing they need to see ‘self-care’ as their NO. 1 PRIORITY. We tend to put everyone else’s needs and wants above our own, which means our own self-care becomes something we do when we have done everything else for everyone else….which in turn means it is often left undone.  Yet, how can we make healthy, positive decisions and choices throughout our day if we are running on empty?

IF IT ISN’T LACK OF TIME, IT’S GUILT OF BEING SELFISH….

‘Self-care’ activities to some (ok MOST) of the women I work with is something that is programmed last into their schedule and it is often seen as an indulgent practice or ‘selfish’ even. As a result, most women cannot recall the last time they actually took some time for themselves to really focus on caring for themselves, or for those that can recall a time they practiced some self-care often they tell me that they felt ‘indulgent’ or ‘selfish’ for doing so…..WHAT???

How is spending time caring for yourself to ensure you have the energy, mental clarity, emotional stability, presence, physical strength and endurance and optimistic outlook on life to allow you to operate optimally in all your various roles selfish or indulgent? In my mind, it is the exact opposite. Working on improving your energy levels and being committed to maximising your own wellbeing, will allow you to show up for all of your life activities with a light and energy that will resonate to others, inspiring and lifting the collective energy of everyone you meet and interact with in your daily activities.

On the flip side, not taking the time to care for yourself or prioritise your own self care needs, actively detracts what  you can offer to others as you deplete your ‘reserves’ and as a result you actively lower your energy and light, which in turn influences all of your interactions with others – passing on this energy to all that you meet and not allowing you to truly be of the highest possible service to those around you. Now, in my world, draining others energy levels because I haven’t looked after my own, is actually a whole lot more ‘selfish’.

In a nutshell, self-care is not selfish, so as soon as we can move past that together and feel good about designating some time for caring for ourselves each and every day (yes – every single day!), we’ve mastered the first step.

Now, just how do we do that?

Establishing a Routine – It’s a must!

The next step we need to talk about to start a sustainable self-care practice is establishing a routine or schedule.

For those that know me well, or have worked with me, they know that I am a ‘Scheduler’. I love to sit down at the start of each week and ‘schedule’ my activities for the week. This practice allows me to regularly ‘check-in’ with my life to make sure I am actively managing my daily activities to create the best life possible each and every day rather than leaving it in the hands of others to do so and becoming the ‘victim of circumstances’. I like to review my priorities and life goals each week to ensure I am tipping the scales of life balance in my favour through focused, planned actions.

Now that is not to say that my life goes to plan every day. Just because it is scheduled does not always mean it is going to happen that way, but by sitting down and working out what daily activities I am going to perform for my own personal self-care I am shining the focus on this activity every single day and demonstrating to myself that this practice is a non-negotiable.

So I have a little activity for you…..

Out of interest, when you sit down to write our your schedule or calendar for the week, just become aware of the process you use when you do this. What is the first thing you schedule in, the second, the third etc etc.

Often the first thing that goes in there is your work commitments, your school drop-offs and pick ups, your kids afterschool activities, your social outings, your errands and domestic chores (washing, ironing, cleaning, cooking) etc. etc….in other words all of the commitments  you have to do for everyone else gets programmed in first, and then if there is any spare time in your schedule that is where you squeeze in a gym session or a beach walk for yourself (or not).

This week, I want you to just try and flip this on it’s head. Each and every day I want  you to schedule something in your diary that is essential for your own ‘self-care’. Something just for you, something you know will energise you and ‘lift your mood and your spirit’ for the day. It could be 10 minutes of meditation when you first get up, a gentle stretching routine or sun salutations before breakfast, a sit-down coffee break at your favourite cafe, a yoga class, a walk along the beach or on the patch of grass out the front of your place, an epsom salt bath, 10 minutes of reading or journaling at the end of the day or even just listening to your favourite podcast on your way to work. Whatever floats your boat.

It doesn’t have to be time costly either – it can be as little as 5-10 minutes in your day. For some, on those super full days, it may mean getting up an extra 5 minutes early each day. If that’s the case, then just do it!

Program these activities into your schedule first and then add in the other commitments you have. This may mean you have to play around with when in your day you will do your set self-care practice, but at least when it is in there in your diary to consider, you will actively be thinking about where it will fit as a non-negotiable. And that’s a massive set in the right direction.

But what if scheduling alone doesn’t work for you?

Here are some tips to assist you in cultivating a sustainable self care practice….

Tips for Establishing Daily Self-Care Practices

If you are really struggling with maintaining your ‘self care practice’ even once it is scheduled into your diary, here are a few tips for you to try:

  • Make it the first thing you do.

Last year, I made the decision to get up 30 minutes earlier that the rest of my family to make my self-care practice (morning routine) non-negotiable and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. In practice, this means when my kids are in the habit of getting up at 5.30am (as they are at the moment), I am up 30 minutes earlier at 5.00am, or when I have a 5.00am call to the US, it means I am up at 4.30am. Now, don’t get me wrong sleep is super important, but if I know I am planning to get up at 4.30am, then I will naturally go to bed earlier the night before, rather than staying in bed and skipping this morning ritual. This single action of planning my self-care practices to be performed first thing ensures each and every day I am actively choosing how I start my day and coming out of my morning routine with a nice clear head, naturally energised for the day ahead.

  • Track your habits

Use your diary or journal to keep accountable. Create a habit tracker each week to check off days you implement certain self-care practices. At the moment I have two core habits that are marked off every day (meditation and journaling) and then additional practices that are tracked on scheduled days throughout the week.

  • Keep it simple and make it effortless

Self-care shouldn’t feel like a chore. In fact, it should feel like quite the opposite. If you are choosing self-care practices that are truly right for you, your activities will feel effortless to you, and you will even find yourself looking forward to these activities each and every day. By finding things you can do in the comfort of your own home, that don’t cost anything, and are fun for you, you will make it easy.

  • Don’t take short cuts 

Give yourself enough time to complete your routine so that it truly benefits you, and so that it feels restorative. Rushing your routine is incredibly counterproductive. I highly recommend at least beginning with 10 designated minutes of self-care per day, but I encourage more than that if you can swing it, 30 minutes being ideal.

My Top 10 Self-Care Practices

So, you realise how important self-care activities are to create an AMAZING life, and you are now inspired and educated on how to create daily self-care habits, but…..you need some inspiration on what you can do?

For some of you, you will already know what ‘fills your tank’, but for others that haven’t explored what activities actually energise you from the inside out, why not have a play with some of the following more well-known self-care practices. Choose one or two and try them on for size, if they don’t fit, then try some more.

Keep going until you find a suite of activities that seriously rock your world and then do them…..EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

 

 

  1. Meditation

You know it, I know it, we all know it. The benefits of doing meditation consistently – even if just for ten minutes per day – are profound in reducing stress levels and upping our feel good vibes by literally changing our brain chemistry allowing us to become more relaxed, resilient and mindful. It’s truly powerful stuff.

But so many of us try and give up on this practice after having tried just one or two types and thought it wasn’t for us. Yet, there are so many types of meditation you can try, so I urge you to try and try again until you find one that sticks.

For me, it took me about 2 years to find my fit. And in that time I have tried them all…..I have sat with Buddhist monks for hours at a time in tranquil settings, spent days upon days in complete silence at an Ashram, tried countless ‘youtube’ meditation videos, attended intensive courses in guided meditation and still found myself ‘thinking’ and then becoming ‘stressed’ that I couldn’t stop ‘thinking.

Then I stumbled across some teachings that made me understand it’s not about ‘not thinking’ but more about ‘an awareness and mastering my thoughts’. I found ‘focused’ meditations where I could put my ‘monkey’ mind to use in a focused, aware way worked for me. Giving my mind something to focus on other than ‘stillness’ such as my breath, gentle mindful movement or guided visualisation was my doorway to mastering meditation. Once I ‘got it’ and found my fit, I have found this to be the most special part of my day, each and every day. At the moment, I am totally digging the 6 Phase Meditation by Mindvalley. Google it.

But so many of us try and give up on this practice after having tried just one or two types and thought it wasn’t for us. Yet, there are so many types of meditation you can try, so I urge you to try and try again until you find one that sticks.

For me, it took me about 2 years to find my fit. And in that time I have tried them all…..I have sat with Buddhist monks for hours at a time in tranquil settings, spent days upon days in complete silence at an Ashram, tried countless ‘youtube’ meditation videos, attended intensive courses in guided meditation and still found myself ‘thinking’ and then becoming ‘stressed’ that I couldn’t stop ‘thinking.

Then I stumbled across some teachings that made me understand it’s not about ‘not thinking’ but more about ‘an awareness and mastering my thoughts’. I found ‘focused’ meditations where I could put my ‘monkey’ mind to use in a focused, aware way worked for me. Giving my mind something to focus on other than ‘stillness’ such as my breath, gentle mindful movement or guided visualisation was my doorway to mastering meditation. Once I ‘got it’ and found my fit, I have found this to be the most special part of my day, each and every day. At the moment, I am totally digging the 6 Phase Meditation by Mindvalley. Google it.

  1. Move your body

Our bodies are energised through movement. When we move, our muscles pump, circulating blood around the body which in turn transports oxygen and nutrients to the trillions of cells that make up all of the tissues in our body. The more oxygen and nutrients our cells have, the more energised they become, the more energised our cells, the more energised we feel. So in essence:


2. Energy creates Energy

TRY THIS: Even just the simple act of jumping up and down on the spot 10 times is enough to get the blood flowing to create energy. Try it now. Stand up, jump up and down for 10 counts (or if jumping isn’t your thing just jiggle your whole body from toes to head) and then stop abruptly. Feel that. Feel the buzzing. You have just created energy inside of you.

Movement is such a powerful way to care for your body and your mind on a daily basis. Not only does movement help our tissues to be healthier, and improve our physical conditioning, it also releases feel good hormones to improve our mood and mindset for the day.

The key is to find movement that you enjoy and nourishes you. For some that may be a beach walk, others a cycle, for some it could be gentle yoga or others it may be HIIT. Whatever floats your boat, try and schedule some form of targeted movement into your day, EVERYDAY and watch your energy transform.

  1. Sunshine, Fresh Air and Grounding

Ever noticed how much better it feels when you are feeling stressed or anxious and you walk outside, take a big breath of fresh air to fill your lungs and feel the sunshine on your face. It has such an uplifting effect on our body.

Why not schedule this into your ‘self-care’ practice each and every day. Plan a morning stretch session or meditation outdoors, or a lunchtime walk (outside of the office) on a lovely day or even a stroll around the block with the kids after dinner.

Quality air, greenery, the sunshine and subsequent vitamin D absorption, added with the bonus effort of getting physical in the outdoors can be incredibly therapeutic. It’s great for stress relief, fitness, endorphin release and energy levels.

When outdoors, take it one step further and try ‘grounding’. Kick off your shoes and immerse yourself in the feelings of your feet touching the grass or sand. Takes the feel good vibes to a whole other level.

  1. Relax in a Tub

Seriously it take no extra time to run yourself a bath (depending on the size of your bathtub that it) whilst you clean up from dinner or read a book to the kids, and then immerse yourself in the warm water for the 5-10 minutes you would have spent having a shower. There is something about lying still, immersed in water, that truly allows our soul to relax and rejuvenate from the day. Add some essential oils or bubble bath to the mix for extra relaxation or why not even light some candles.

This is a self-care practice I recommend using at night to wind down from the day. Adding some epsom salts also gives you a boost of magnesium which can help relax your muscles (including your heart) to get your body ready for restoration during your sleep.

  1. Get adequate sleep

Sleep is a self-care practice that should be protected at all costs.

Our body does its best restorative work at night whilst we sleep. Ever noticed how much more difficult everything is if you haven’t gotten enough sleep the night before. We feel more irritable, suffer from brain fog, make poorer food choices, feel more pain etc etc.

It is important for you to find your ‘sweet spot’ when it comes to optimal sleep hours. For some, that may be 6 hours per night whilst others may function better on 8. Work out what works best for you, and then make it non-negotiable. Plan your activities around your sleep.

Start to establish a set sleep routine for yourself as an awesome daily self-care practice. Try going to bed at the same time each night, even if you don’t fall asleep straight away, you are training your body to wind down at a certain time each day to allow it to ‘do its thing’ to restore and revitalise your body and mind for the next day. Our body loves routine, particularly when it comes to sleep.

If you know you have a social gathering that will keep you up late one night this week, plan a quiet morning, or night the following day to get you back into routine.  If you have kids, and they are your sleep sabotages, try and work out a way to maximise your sleep / rest around them. My child has chronic sleep apnoea, so trust me, I know all the tricks in the trade to maximise my sleep, including ‘rostering’ nights off on the weekend where my husband is ‘on duty’ and using yoga nidra as a way to relax me into a deep sleep asap.

  1. Reflect and be Grateful – Journaling

Taking some time to reflect on your day and acknowledge what went well in your day, and what lessons you learnt (when things didn’t go so well) is a great way of training your mind to focus on the positives in your life which in turns encourages you to look for more positives the next day. And so on….

There are plenty of proven benefits of journaling, in any form that takes for you. There is no right way. Just put pen to paper and let it flow. Some days you will write a few words, other days you may end up with pages of stuff. Go with the flow and let it out.

When I first started, I found by just focusing on 3-5 things I was grateful for that day (something different everyday) was enough to get me going.

Buy yourself a nice journal and a pen that brightens your mood (favourite colour) and just start writing.

  1. Passion Project

What activity do you get so immersed in that you lose all track of time and feel completing in ‘flow’ whilst you are doing it? Painting, singing, dancing, reading, cooking…..what?

Most of us know what activities serious stoke our internal fires. Activities that light us up and make us feel as though the energy is welling up inside ready to burst. They are the activities that we can’t help but talk about, the ones that pull us towards them, the one that gives us that ‘sparkle’ in our eyes when we think or talk about them. For me, it’s people. I love people. I love meeting new people, hanging out with old friends, sharing a meal with good company and just sharing time with people in general. I also love to dance. Yep, dance in my PJs with my kids. These are my passions.  What are yours?

Now, think of the last time you scheduled time to participate in that passion. Was it today? This week? Last month? Last year?

Spending time on activities you are passionate about is essential to fill your ‘feel good’ bucket. These activities energise you from your core and allow you to feel truly alive.

So why not do more of them? Schedule in some time each week to enjoy your passion, or schedule a passion project or holiday (eg surfing holiday) you can look forward to and plan for to keep this light burning bright.

If you don’t have a passion, then start experimenting and trialing new things to find one.

  1. Connect with people

And by ‘connect’ I mean ‘truly CONNECT’. Connection is not just about being in physical connection with someone, sharing the same space, it is about forming a deep connection through intimate physical touch, sharing common experiences and memories or deep conversations talking about complex topics.

Deepening our connection with people (partner, kids, parents, friends, work colleagues etc) can really fill our buckets to overflowing.

Even just connecting with random people while we are out and about can fill up our ‘feel good’ bucket.

If you’re so accustomed to going through the day without much meaningful connection, aim to change that little by little. Next time you go through the check out, look up and ask the attendant how their day has been and actually stop and listen or take the minute of time to let the childcare worker at your school know how much you appreciate what they do, or even just make eye contact and smile with someone across the road. It all adds up.

When you start to focus on ‘connecting’ watch how those around you respond. You will become a magnet for feel good connections which will seriously light you up and energise you from the inside.

  1. Nourish your body with useable fuel

As Dr Libby says ‘the way you eat is the most basic way you demonstrate care for yourself’. We all have to eat, right? So why not make your meals dedicated ‘self care’ time each and every day. Take the time to make considered food choices for yourself the same as you make for your children or husband to maximum their health. Take the time to learn about your body and the cues it is giving you regarding your diet and spend the time necessary to provide your body with the fuel it needs to function optimally.

If you need inspiration, take a whole foods class, start trawling the internet for whole food recipes or better still, join our next round of Real Food Reboot coming soon.

  1. Do nothing at all

What’s wrong with doing nothing at all to allow your body and mind to restore and revitalise itself? Sit in the sunshine and just be, relax on the lounge with your partner without talking, take a nap, or have a sleep in. The trick to making this effective and ensuring you don’t start to feel the ‘selfish’ argument rear it’s ugly head is to set a timer. Fully immerse yourself in the art of doing nothing at all for the designated time you see as being reasonable to ‘restore’ yourself and then get on with your day.

So, what does your self-care routine look like?

Which of these activities are already in your ‘self-care’ routine?

Are there any others you want to add in? And what does that look like for you?

Are there any other activities you want to add in.

I hope this blog has given you some ideas on how you can ensure you add this ‘No. 1 Ingredient’ to optimise your wellbeing starting TODAY.