The time of year where we see pink, red, candy hearts, chocolate, and teddy bears all over retail stores. A constant reminder that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.
However, did you know that February is also dedicated to something even deeper and dare I say, more important?
I’m referring to your relationship with yourSELF.
“Self-Care” and “Self-Love”
Two words that can be obscure and rather froo-froo sounding, but are essential to your well-being.
I define “Self-Care” as how you show up for yourself in the areas of: respect, love, and attention.
If we’re able to place the proper respect, love and attention on ourselves, it reflects our capacity to love ourselves, i.e. “Self-Love”.
Putting ourselves first as #1 priority may be challenging, but is mandatory.
Loving oneself is not a selfish act.
In fact, our health depends on it.
What happens when we put our own needs last over and over again?
The unfortunate answer is:
Stress over the long-term impacts our physical, mental, and emotional health.
Physiologically, when we experience low-grade levels of stress over a long period of time, we are taxing our adrenals glands. Imagine two little battery packs sitting on top of the kidneys.
Our adrenals are responsible for creating cortisol, adrenaline, and other stress hormones.
Our bodies do need these hormones to help us wake up, stay alert, and combat any germs and micro-invaders.
But, not to the degree so many of us are tapping into the adrenals. When overused, we’re actually draining the energy and vitality of our adrenal glands.
Imagine what happens when your cellphone batteries run out of juice – the phone is completely non-functional. The same scenario applies to our bodies.
If our adrenals are working overtime to pump out these stress hormones, our body will constantly be in fight/flight mode.
This increases inflammation and many functions in our body will be compromised, including an overly active nervous system, stressed digestive system, and increased blood-sugar imbalances.
Overtime, we will experience burnout, and extreme fatigue.
Possible signs and affects from overworked adrenals:
– Premature grey hair and aging
– Weakened immune system
– Decreased metabolism
– Inability to lose weight
– Trouble getting out of bed in the morning
– Trouble sleeping at night
– Reduced ability to think clearly and be cognizant
– Low thyroid function (which creates another domino affect of health issues)
The GOOD NEWS is that we can do something about it.
We cannot completely avoid stress, but there are definitely actions we can take and intentions we can set to be more easeful in our lives.
You guessed it, through self-care.
It is in our best interest to add self-care to our life.
Because, YES, you are worthy of good health, as well as being worthy of your own time, and attention.
If nothing else, it will benefit those around you when you’re feeling great and energized.
What does self-care look like?
Here are 17 ways that can help mitigate stress and boost self-care:
1. Change the inner self-talk
– Is your inner dialogue positive and uplifting, or critical and negative?
– Your mind will believe whatever you tell it, so make it positive and uplifting
2. Establish + hold boundaries around your needs and energy
3. Learn to say ‘no’
– Remember that “No.” is the most powerful word and sentence in the English dictionary.
4. Ask for help, even if you feel you want to do it all
5. Minimize sensational media (news, radio, TV, social media)
6. Reduce contact with toxic friends, family members
7. Boost your nutrients through supplementation to avoid nutrient deficiencies
8. Head to bed before midnight
– Did you know that every hour of sleep before midnight counts as two hours compared to after midnight? Your body wants you to be in bed early.
9. Practice conscious breathing
– It doesn’t having to be complicated. Inhale into your ribcage, and let your lungs expand three-dimensionally. This will shift the nervous system from fight/flight mode to rest/digest mode
– Practice this before having a meal, or before driving
10 . Practice Gratitude
– Before going to bed at night, write 3-5 things you are grateful for. Even the smallest things, for example, the ability to breathe fresh air, is worthy of attention
11. Drink water with a pinch of Himalayan Sea Salt to balance out electrolytes
12. Choose nutrient dense, whole foods that lifts your energy and nourishes you
– Add good fats, fiber and protein to every snack and meal
– Eat foods that are low-glycemic: nuts, avocados, veggies, nut butters
13. Stay present at meals:
– Manage stress eating by taking a few deep breaths before you take your first bite
14. Find a hobby that is for pure joy
15. Laugh more
– Watch a funny movie with friends
– Attend an improv show, or sign up for an improv class
16. Spend time bonding with a partner or with a like-minded community
– Add more joy to your calendar: date night
– Bro-time or ladies’ night out/in
17. Move your body:
– Strength training
– Hiking in nature
Note: If your adrenals are already taxed, hardcore exercises like intense running, high impact workouts, will actually further tax your system, reducing the desired affects. In this case, walking is one of the best forms of exercise.
While not comprehensive, even if we adopt one thing on the list, we’re on the right path. Notice that many don’t require a financial investment.
Remember, even simply taking a deep breath will do wonders.
Be kind to yourself.
We are not supposed to be perfect nor should we be.
What’s one thing you’re willing to implement to start showing yourself some TLC?
For more support around managing your stress and adrenals, or other areas in your health, contact our office to see how we can customize your needs and be a part of your wellness team.
Michelle Wong is a Lifestyle & Wellness Coach for Claudine Kubesh, M.D. Michelle uniquely blends nutrition, supplementation, intuition + self-care, and leadership techniques to help people build a thriving lifestyle. Her approach is kind AND fierce, and she won’t let you get away with your own bullsh*t anymore. Create a luscious life that’s in alignment with your core values and purpose. Learn more at nonlinearpath.com or schedule a free 15-min consultation appointment to see how your health + lifestyle goals can be met.