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5 Ways to be Kinder To Yourself and Practice Self-Care

So often women are busy taking care of others, whether that is as a parent, a partner, colleague or friend. Women tend to take on a lot of the nurturing roles.   While giving to others is great it is really important that women make sure that they also take good care of themselves by practicing self-care.

Many women have heard the term self-care but few know what it actually is. Self-care is exactly what the name suggests: providing care for yourself. It is essential to a healthy mind, body and spirit. Looking after yourself means staying healthy, eating well and getting enough sleep.

Exercise can be a great form of self-care. It keeps you strong, burns energy, improves sleep and can help to reduce stress.  For some people reading a book or doing a puzzle is a perfect form of self-care. As long as what you’re doing helps you recharge, then it counts as self-care.

If you are not familiar with self-care or it feels like you are being selfish then the thought of putting time aside each day. Although it may not be easy to make time for ourselves it is really important.

Start your self-care routine today

In our busy lives we all need to do something that helps us unwind and de-stress. Taking a bubble bath, meditating or even taking a nap can help people rejuvenate. Self-care is time set aside just for you, a time when you remove yourself from the outside world for a little while. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Here are five things that you can start with today that will help you begin your self-care practice:

1. Listen to music

Listening to music is a simple way you can enhance your life and your health. Music is involved in both emotional and intellectual centres of our brains, and music has an almost uncanny ability to connect us to one another. Listening to music lowers anxiety and boosts our immune systems. The feel-good chemical dopamine is released when we listen to music, and the amygdala, which is involved in processing emotion, and the prefrontal cortex, which makes possible abstract decision-making, are also activated.

2. Engage all your senses

Use aromatherapy oils or candles or soft fabric to touch or wrap yourself in. Buy yourself something yummy to eat. Have a massage or give someone a hug. Go and visit an art gallery, or just spend some time in the garden. Using multiple senses allows more cognitive connections and associations to be made with the world around you. Actively taking a moment to experience the world using all your senses can have a hugely positive influence on your happiness quota.

If you want to experience abundance in your life, just take the time to appreciate the sensory gifts you have been given. Take a moment to really enjoy the taste and smell of your coffee. Take off your shoes and feel the grass between your toes, or the beach sand, or even a footpath warmed by the sun. Notice the feeling of the warm sun on your face, or the wind against your skin. Smell the spices in your pantry. Take a deep breath in and feel your breath fill your lungs.

3. Practice active receiving

In other words allow yourself to be on the receiving end of something that you enjoy. We all find it difficult to accept help and care from other people. Society tells us we should be self-sufficient, strong and able to look after ourselves. The truth is that self-care can mean allowing yourself to let others care for you, even if it is just for an hour.

Let someone give you a massage, a pedicure. Accept a friend’s help, or the offer to cook you dinner. Ask someone you trust to babysit your children so that you can have time with your partner or friends. Give yourself permission to accept help from someone else.

4. Create a beautiful space

You don’t have to replicate a page from Home & Garden. You can create a space within in a space. Tidy your desk and put a vase of fresh flowers on it. Buy yourself a new cushion you love and put it on your bed when you make it. Light a scented candle so that your house smells good. Print out some affirmations and stick them on your bathroom mirror. Create for yourself a space that makes you feel good.

5. Be playful

Let go of your adult worries for a moment and see the world through the eyes of a child. As adults this can be difficult. Having children around helps. Dance with your children in the kitchen while you’re making them a snack. Pull silly faces at each other. Join them in their game for just a moment, perhaps getting dirty, or getting wet. Allow yourself to be childlike for just moment, and you will find that you are more relaxed and fulfilled.

So often we struggle with even the idea of self-care, let alone the actual discipline of practicing it. Don’t look at self-care as another thing to add to your to-do list. Self-care goes to the heart of valuing yourself and your needs as much as you value other people.

Choose something that you love and works for you. Putting aside even the shortest time for yourself can absolutely recharge you. Remind yourself that self-care is not selfish. In fact it is the very opposite of selfish. By nourishing ourselves we are ensuring we have the space and energy to care for others.

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