Self Care at Christmas

Take time to look after yourself this Christmas, in between the added jobs, activities and social engagements.

Title: "The Art of Self-Care: Nurturing Your Mind, Body, and Soul"

In the hustle and bustle of modern life, it's easy to forget the importance of self-care. This is particularly true at Christmas time. Amidst juggling responsibilities and attending to the needs of others, we often neglect our own well-being. However, self-care isn't selfish; it's an essential practice that allows us to recharge, rejuvenate, and maintain a balanced, fulfilling life. If we don't look after ourselves and only focus on everyone and everything else, it can lead to exhaustion, chronic fatigue and being unwell. The body keeps the score.

### Understanding Self-Care

Self-care encompasses various practices and activities that prioritise our mental, emotional, and physical health. It's a holistic approach that attends to our needs on multiple levels. It's about carving out time for oneself, engaging in activities that bring joy, relaxation, and foster a sense of inner peace. The Reset to Thrive programme incorporates many self care habits to allow the body to thrive not just survive. 

### Types of Self-Care

#### 1. Physical Self-Care

- **Healthy Eating**: Nourishing your body with wholesome foods provides essential nutrients and energy. We have a functional medicine therapist on the Reset to Thrive programme who offers free initial consultation to participants on the training programme.

- **Regular Exercise**: Physical activity not only keeps your body fit but also releases endorphins that elevate mood. Even though you may have chronic fatigue, burn out or long covid, the current research shows that moderate activity is essential- even if that means lifting your arms, moving your legs on a chair or being able to walk around your house. 

- **Adequate Sleep**: Quality sleep is vital for overall well-being, allowing the body and mind to rejuvenate. On the Reset to Thrive Programme, you can access our Sleep Coach and attend webinars (recorded for you to keep forever) on sleep and other healthy practices. If you notice you are lying in bed, tossing and turning or worried about "paying for lack of sleep" get out of bed, leave the room if possible to break conditioned learning and only return to bed when sleepy. 

#### 2. Emotional Self-Care

- **Practicing Mindfulness**: Techniques like meditation, deep breathing, or yoga help in managing stress and cultivating awareness. Breaking Free ( available at Amazon, Arkbound publishers or any online bookshop or any bookshop) offers a number of exercises in the book and when you access the Reset to Thrive programme, you will also access free mini courses on sleep, breathing, yoga, somatic work and functional medicine -( mindfulness course will be added in the new year). These are so important for getting the body back into the healthy vagal system that allows the body to heal, repair and thrive.

- **Journaling**: Writing down thoughts and emotions can be therapeutic, aiding in self-reflection and understanding.I would recommend that you put in everything that you notice you CAN do, all the moments that brought you joy and have it as a gratitude journal. 

- **Setting Boundaries**: Learning to say no when needed and prioritising your emotional needs is crucial.This is one of the key sticking points for healthy living; so many people cannot say no to their boss, their partner, children, friend or colleague because we were taught to be compliant. Infact, it should be as easy to say no as it is to say yes but so many people end up overwhelmed and overloaded because they can't say no. In the live interactive webinars, for participants on the programme, I take them through exercises on how to feel relaxed saying no. 

#### 3. Mental Self-Care

- **Learning and Growth**: Engaging in activities that stimulate the mind, such as reading, learning new skills, or hobbies. It is crucial to do things that you enjoy because doing only things that feel like a chore increases the stress hormones. 

- **Seeking Support**: Talking to a friend, therapist, or counsellor can provide valuable emotional support and perspective. Remember social support is the buffer against stress and has been shown to be the key factor in well being, over and above wealth or status or any other factor. If you are lonely, learn to reach out; there are many companion volunteer services, online or phone services, organisations and charities that can support you if friends and family are too busy or absent. No-one will come knock on our door so it is our responsibility to reach out. If you struggle with this, do consider reading "Breaking Free" Part Two and learn how to develop crucial survival and thriving skills- or join the programme to get 121 support, live webinars and in the new year, community chat webinars. 

- **Taking Breaks**: Stepping away from work or responsibilities to relax and recharge prevents burnout and fosters creativity. So many people struggle to juggle friends, family and responsibilities but look at people who do find time. How do they do it? What do you need to find some time for yourself? 

#### 4. Social Self-Care

- **Building Healthy Relationships**: If you are able, spending time with loved ones, nurturing connections, and fostering a supportive network is critical to recovery and well being. Note, it needs to be nurturing not draining. 

- **Community Engagement**: For those who are able, volunteering or being part of a community contributes to a sense of belonging and purpose. In a long term study on longevity, having a sense of purpose was one of the key factors for a long life in addition to social support networks. 

### Implementing Self-Care Practices

Finding the right self-care routine is a personal journey. Experimenting with various activities and observing how they affect your well-being is key. Here are some tips:

1. **Create a Routine**: Incorporate self-care into your daily or weekly schedule. Routine is important for developing new habits so set a time when you will engage in self care and stick to that time when posiible. 

2. **Listen to Your Body**: Pay attention to signs of stress or fatigue and respond accordingly. "Breaking Free: A Guide to Recovering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Long Covid" shows you how to respond to stress sensations and offers exercises to balance the autonomic system back into thrive mode. 

3. **Practice Gratitude**: Reflect on things you're grateful for; it shifts focus to get the brain out perceiving life as bad, hard or threatening and recognises the world is a good place, safe and nurturing. That means the body then physically switches, automatically, into the healthy adaptive mode. 

4. **Unplug**: Take breaks from technology to disconnect and recharge.

### Conclusion

Whether it is Christmas or any time of year, prioritising self-care isn't a luxury but a necessity for a balanced and fulfilling life. It's about acknowledging that taking care of yourself isn't selfish, but rather an act of self-preservation that enables you to better care for others and navigate life's challenges with resilience.

Remember, self-care isn't a one-size-fits-all concept. Discover what works best for you and make it a priority. Investing in your well-being is an investment in a happier, healthier, and more vibrant you.

Categories: Thriving, Wellness