Self Care 101

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Something that I really wanted to prioritize this year, starting a new chapter, in a new environment was my own healing process, which entails a lot of self-care.

People want to know all about self-care, and of course they do because once you find out that there’s this magical thing that can make your life better, of course you want to jump on that train.

But people are like “I don’t … How do I … I don’t have time.” News flash, if you’re one of those people who feels like you don’t have time for self-care, then you’re really in need of self-care. As a recovering overachiever, I totally understand what you’re feeling, so I want to talk about it.

Step 1 to practicing self-care is letting yourself know that you deserve it. YOU deserve it.

So self-care is basically any set of practices that makes you feel nourished, whether that’s physically, emotionally, spiritually, all of the above. Self-care is putting aside time to recharge in a way that’s meaningful to you, and that can mean different things to different people.

I’m actually really introverted, which means that I find rejuvenation in activities that centre quiet, calm, and introspection. Others who are extroverted may find it refreshing to be in environments that are active, energetic, and social. Some people fall somewhere in the middle. What’s important is recognizing that what might work for some people might not work for you.

For example, when I’m feeling lonely, anxious or overwhelmed, what’s works best for me to get back to a neutral place are activities like taking a walk on the beach, meditation, yoga, journaling, going to the farmer’s market , a bubble bath, stuff like that. But I have a lot of extroverted friends.

When they know that I need self-care, they’ll text me “Hey, do you want to grab a drink? You want to do such and such social thing?” And I’m like “No, not even a little bit actually.” But for some people what they need at the end of a stressful day is to go out for a couple of drinks and vent, hence why happy hour exists, and none of these options are right or wrong. It’s really just about finding what works for you.

Figuring out what works for you, can be one of the biggest hurdles to self-care because it’s not something that we sit down and reflect about a lot. But the problem is that if we don’t already have a list of self-care activities that we know are going to work for us, sometimes, we’ll just pick one at random that isn’t actually all that helpful. One way to think through a self-care plan is to ask yourself who, what, and where make you feel safe and supported.

Who are the people that you can surround yourself with who will make you feel supported?

What are some activities that you can do that bring you a sense of calm, and where are the places that you can go to feel safe and comfortable? For example, earlier when I was talking about introversion I gave you a list of activities that are useful to me to find self-care, but what about the people and relationships….

I frequently reflect on the relationships in my life and actually hand pick the ones that I want to nourish. I actually sit down and choose a group of people who I want to be my support system, and I re-evaluate as necessary. I make sure that toxic people are no longer in my life, and I prioritize the relationships that help me grow. Remembering that it’s up to you who is a part of your life and who isn’t is actually a really powerful aspect of self-care.

So my take home message on self-care is making a list of 5 things that you can do sitting at your desk or wherever you are that will calm you down when you’re feeling stressed. My list is breath, move, gratitude list, tea, getting into nature. Five really simple things that can help calm me down when I’m in a state of anxiety.

The only rules are that they have to be something that you can do in the moment. You can’t put on your list go get a massage or take a vacation, because usually those aren’t available to you in the middle of the day.

Self-care really isn’t something that takes a lot of time, which is what I think most people think. It can be as easy as consciously choosing who you spend your lunch hour with. It can be remembering to take a 10-minute break in the middle of the day to go for a walk or to do some breathing exercises. It can be as simple as promising yourself that you won’t do homework on the weekends. It can be starting every morning with a cup of tea or watching the sunrise. It can be whatever works for you.

But it’s psychologically necessary. You need to take care of yourself. You need to prioritize yourself because you deserve to be prioritized. Self-care is one small step towards self-acceptance and self-love, and cultivating self-love is so, so important because holding yourself in respect and honour and compassion is a really beautiful, powerful thing.

It’s the only love guaranteed to you in life.

X M

Exercise types and well-being

1200-running-beach-workoutExercise types and well-being.
Have you ever started a new gym program, and then suddenly get ill for no reason. Well its just a response from you immune system being suppressed due to the new stress added to your body.
The science: Bouts of exercise results in an acute response in a number of immune function components, followed by a dip below pre-exercise levels.
Chronic exercise which is moderate in intensity, results in enhanced immune function, where as exhaustive exercise, overtraining, or high intensity exercise may lead to immunosuppression.
I remember before I started using exercise as medicine (now training everyday, at a moderate intensity) I would always, without a doubt catch a cold and be man down for a couple days just as I start a new exercise routine. I would be demotivated and give up. Until I found the motivation to start again – A vicious ongoing cycle.
Now Im not saying high intensity training is bad, in fact it shows huge health benefits, increased weight-loss and not to mention how time efficient it is. Just don’t over train/ run yourself down.
But if you are a little demotivated from being ill and or suffer chronic disease this might be something you can use to change it all around.
Using exerise as medicine is cost effective, fun, a massive stress reliever and a natural anti-depressant!!
If you can relate to any of this or if you know you have a weak immune system, try taking it slow, taking it day by day, listening to your body, change your perception of why you want to exercise. Do it for health, do it to fend off disease, do it to move you body and shake up your energies.
Exercise isn’t always for the aesthetics, that’s just a bonus 😉

What is ‘Biohacking’

 

What is ‘Biohacking’?

It’s the process of making changes to your lifestyle to “hack” your own body’s biology and to feel your absolute best.

Every single thing we put into our bodies – our foods, our thoughts, our physical movement and our environmental exposure affect the way we behave. You have the ability to transform your body so that you can feel like the best version of yourself.

When you function at such a higher level you are able to be more productive, feel more energized, focused, feel happier, be more mindful, and have lowered stress levels.  You will feel more in control.

Here are a couple of ways you can dabble with to “bio-hack” yourself:

  1. Nutrition – Eliminate anything that causes you any digestive stress – good digestion is key for a well-functioning system. Try the elimination diet, if you cannot pin point causes of digestive stress.  Digestive stress can cause symptoms like; bloating, bowel changes, skin issues, cramps, nausea etc.
  2. Water – drinking enough water is the first step, then drinking clean filtered water is the second. Remember water flushes out the system, the type of water we drink is definitely something we need to pay more attention to.
  3. Sleep – I cannot stress enough how important getting adequate amounts of sleep is. On average you should be getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night, this also increases the more active you are. If you’re an athlete, and training almost every day, sleep is vital for recovery.
  4. Eating patterns – Intermittent Fasting (IF), the new craze diet in the fitness industry. IF is not really a diet, rather a timeline/ pattern of eating and not eating. The benefits are numerous, I suggest doing IF a couple days a month, to reap the benefits of autophagy and longevity.
  5. Exercise – movement! – My favourite hack – why? – Because this really gives you so much room to play. I recommend any physical activity that you enjoy – again I emphasize ANY activity YOU enjoy. If you do what you enjoy, chances of doing it again are much higher! Moving your body – releases endorphins (the feel good hormones), gets your heart and muscles working – we were made to move!
  6. Eat more fat – no I’m not saying go all out KETO (ketogenic diet). Adding more fat to your diet is good for your health, but make sure it’s the healthy fats like avocados, coconuts, olive oil, fatty fish like salmon and mackerel etc. Fats are vital for hormone production and many processes in our bodies. (side note – note the increase in obesity worldwide since  LOW FAT diets were propagated)
  7. Develop a daily gratitude practice – get yourself a journal, write down a list of what you are grateful for, write down your goals, your to do lists, favourite scriptures, this task is so easy to do yet – we always too busy liking instagram posts to do it, you become so mindful with how you spend your time when you make time for journaling and practicing gratitude.
  8. Grounding – Nature is healing! Take off your shoes, walk around barefoot on the grass, on the sand, allowing your feet to connect with the surface below them. When we spend time barefoot on the earth, our feet act as electrical currents, allowing the natural electrical charges that the earth produces flow through us.
  9. Get in to the sun – Getting some vitamin D. Exposing your skin to sunlight is so important. Most people are vitamin D deficient, this can lead to terrible side effects like lowering your immunity, fatigue, hair -loss, headaches etc.

Some food for thought, with these practical ideas on how you can hack you biology to upgrade yourself!

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