Over the past few years, self-care has become a massive topic.
So much so, that for some it’s started to feel like just another fad.
I totally get it.
But when you strip back all the slogans and gimmicks, self-care is something we all need to incorporate into our lives.
And, it can be done simply, affordably and does not have to take hours.
In this post, I share eight simple self-care ideas for your body that you can easily make part of your daily life if you’re not already doing so.
Simple Self-Care for Your body
According to Bupa, water makes up nearly two-thirds of our body and is essential for us to function properly.
So it’s important to stay hydrated.
The recommended guideline in the UK is 6 to 8 cups or glasses of fluid a day but of course, all fluids are not made equal.
Start your day with a cup of warm water (with lemon is highly recommended).
Swap fizzy drinks and high sugar juices for water or real fruit infused water.
Choose herbal teas instead of caffeinated tea and coffee.
Make better food choices
Another one that is not rocket science but is often easier said than done.
If you work full time, freelance or even part-time and/or you’re responsible for taking care of others (children, parents, etc.), making better food choices can be a challenge.
But you can start small.
Delete your takeaway apps.
Avoid keeping junk food in the house and shopping when you’re hungry (which is normally when we’re least likely to make healthy choices).
Stock up on staple items such as couscous, beans and pulses, frozen veg, etc. that you can use to make quick, simple nutritious meals.
And when you do cook, make enough for leftovers for the next day’s lunch or freeze for dinner another day.
I know, I know, we don’t talk about poo in public.
But, because we don’t talk about it, most of us have no clue what’s normal.
I’ve spoken to people who only poo once a week and thought that it was perfectly normal.
#spoileralert: it’s not!
If your toilet habits are irregular then it’s definitely worth looking at your diet and water intake.
Just think about what happens when you leave food waste in the rubbish bin for a week. Effectively that’s what’s happening in your colon and bowels if you’re only pooing once a week!
Chart your menstrual cycle
Periods. Another historically taboo subject!
Firstly, extreme pain and discomfort are not normal but unfortunately, too many women have been going to their GP for years, had their pain ignored or dismissed and been forced to “get on with it”.
Luckily lots of women are now discussing their experiences and supporting each other through years of physical and emotional distress caused by menstrual issues.
Seek a second, third or fourth opinion until you at least have your symptoms investigated by a specialist.
Secondly, because periods have been a taboo subject for such a long time, few of us have been encouraged to take an interest in our menstrual cycles.
As a result, many of us have minimal knowledge about the impact our periods may be having on our physical, mental and emotional state, from one month to the next.
Likewise, we’re often oblivious to the impact our daily habits can have on our monthly cycle.
There are several apps available that can be used to monitor your cycle. I use Period Tracker, which is free and simple to use.
Also, ladies, while we’re kind of on the subject, please make sure you attend your smear test!
You don’t have to go to the gym but it is important to move your body, daily.
Most of us spend too much time sitting and if you can at least regularly take a break from your desk, that’s a start.
A simple trick is to drink lots of water so you have to regularly get up from your desk to use the loo.
So you’ll be hydrating and moving regularly. Two for one!
Also, become aware of your posture and ensure your work desk is set up correctly and ergonomically.
Likewise, if you carry a laptop, heavy bag or equipment daily, consider getting a bag on wheels or at least using a backpack – on both shoulders.
Use the stairs instead of the lift/elevator/escalators.
Walk to and from the station or take a daily walk around the block with your kids, partner, a friend or neighbour.
If you do have time to “work out” a few times a week, find something you enjoy – dance, box, swim, rollerskate, yoga, pilates, spin – the possibilities are endless.
Take care of your skin
Exfoliate and moisturise, which are also great opportunities to be more mindful, stretch (I stretch my hamstrings on my bed when moisturising my legs) and give yourself some TLC.
When you have the time (aka not when you’re rushing to get ready for work in the morning), spend a few extra minutes mindfully massaging any aching muscles as you apply your body lotion/butter.
Avoid products heavily loaded with chemicals.
Remove your make-up before you go to bed and if you have time, consider following a quick but effective skincare routine.
NB: Drinking enough water daily helps to keep your skin healthy. Another reason why staying hydrated is excellent self-care for your body.
Take care of your teeth
Brush your teeth (obviously!), floss and regularly attend your dental/hygienist appointments.
If you suffer from bad breath (ask a loved one if you’re not sure or a young child – they’re always honest), visit the dentist as it could be a sign of gum disease – gingivitis.
I also highly recommend swapping a manual toothbrush for an electric one, if you can afford to do so. It’s one of the best swaps I’ve made and a simple act of self-care I now gift myself every day!
Take care of your eyes
Get your eyes tested, especially if you’re suffering from headaches and make sure you’re wearing the correct prescription.
If, like me, you wear contact lenses daily, be sure to regularly give your eyes a break and use comfort drops for dry eyes.
Too often we consider self-care to be grand gestures, such as spa days, afternoon teas and weekends away, that we don’t necessarily have the time or money to do regularly.
At the same time, we see simple acts of self-care, such as taking a few extra minutes to massage our aching muscles while we moisturise, as indulgent.
Hopefully, this post has helped you to see that more often than not self-care is not about doing more.
Rather, in many cases, it’s about doing what you already do, or know to do, consistently.
Self-care is also giving yourself the permission to take a few extra minutes or hours out of your day or week to do something small that will actually make a big difference to your physical, mental and emotional well-being.
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