Self Care – What is it & where to begin

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Self Care is a practise or ritual that helps us to restore our energy, health and wellness and actively reduce our strength. Practising self-care isn’t something we should try to do once off, but we should try to incorporate into our journey. Particularly people who operate in environments that at times can be high stress. Now we don’t want to bury the lead in this text through this series we will give you ideas on what you can do to incorporate self-care into your routine. You will find one at the bottom of this article. 

Where to begin with Self Care
Self Care is important. You’ve gotta nourish to flourish!

Our journey of self-care is a practice that relies solely on one person. You! As we continue this self-care Sunday Series we will introduce simple rituals that you can incorporate into your day to help you manage stress and mental wellbeing. Self-care doesn’t have to be a massage or a pedicure – it is simply a way for you to focus your energy and reduce stress.

Beginning any new habit can be uncomfortable and hard to commit to but without giving back to yourself and continually taking we begin to risk burnout. In the Medical Journal of Australia, it states; burnout does not ‘have to be a rite of passage’. Rather than experiences the stress, exhaustion and impact on our health burnout can take if we begin taking small steps engaging with ourself finding practises that resonate and restore with our energy.

It is easier to prioritise someone else and look after them than it is to take care of ourselves. But should we fail to take care of ourselves how can we continue to look after others. This series will seek to provide you tools and practices you can use to combat the three main domains associated with burnout; “exhaustion, cynicism (role negativity, feeling callous and detached) and professional efficacy (self-evaluation of competence and achievement)”

In MJA’s article work is referred to as the main contributing factor to exhaustion, but work is more and more a constant in our daily lives. Should we implement self-care practices could we continue to enjoy our work and 

The secret of your future is hidden in your daily routine. Should we want more energy and happiness and less stress we should incorporate practises that empower us. If you want more joy and happiness you can choose to have it today. 

Today’s self care activity: Practising mindful breathing. 

Find somewhere comfortable and relatively quiet where you can take a few moments to yourself. Begin by sitting with your back supported, your head free and place your feet on the ground. If you would like to close your eyes take a moment to do so. If you wish to keep them open this exercise is designed to be what is most comfortable for you. 

Begin by focusing on your breath, take 2 conscious deep breaths; in through your nose and out through your mouth. These are to release pent up energy from your day. Just focusing on your breath as you breathe in and breath out. 

For the next part, you will take 6 consecutive deep breaths in, on the exhale you will breath out through your mouth like you are blowing out a straw.

This exercise helps to bring blood back to your prefrontal cortex and keep you centred. The part of your brain that is responsible for your executive functions and decision making. Taking a moment to bring focus to your breath helps you bring rational decision making to your daily activities. 

Where can I practise this activity: as there is no special equipment required for this exercise, you can take a moment to perform this when you are in the car, waiting somewhere rather than looking at your phone or while on public transport. Taking a moment to be mindful of your breath can be done multiple times during the day, particularly when you feel overwhelmed or stressed. 

Resources and articles for further reading:

Medical Journal of Australia. https://www.mja.com.au/system/files/issues/208_11/10.5694mja17.00891.pdf

More to Explore

Types of Self Care

There are many different types of self care! Being human we have many basic needs including but not limited to: food, water,

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