What "Self Care" Really Means, Part 1: The Body

Image: David Straight

Image: David Straight

Did you know that July 24 is International Self Care Day?

All around the world, people will be slowing down a little to honour the fine art of self care.

But what does that really mean?

“Self care” is one of those popular terms in the media, especially on the health & fitness side of things. But taking great care of yourself is about so much more than green smoothies and exercise (although those things do help) - it’s about having a look at yourself in a holistic way, and supporting ALL the elements that make us human.

I like to do this by dividing my self care into four main areas, and checking in with each one.

Area #1: The Body

Physical self care is a great place to start, because when your body’s not healthy, nothing else can be.

Nowadays, one of the biggest threats to physical well-being is stress, which comes in different forms: we’re stressed out at work, sure, but our bodies are also stressed out because of all the harmful toxins in our air supply, water, cleaning products, etc.

We also stress our bodies our with the food we eat. Sugar is the main offender here, and, unfortunately, refined sugar is used in almost ALL processed foods.

Tips for Body Self Care

Pay attention to the essentials

You know the drill, but it definitely bears repeating: get 8 hours of sleep a night. Increase your heart rate with cardiovascular exercise five times a week. Stretch. Get out into nature. Show your body a lot of love.

LOAD your plate with leafy greens

Cut down on sugar and processed foods and EAT YOUR VEGGIES! Leafy greens like kale, chard, romaine and spinach in particular are rich in vitamins and minerals.

A great, simple rule for healthy eating is to divide your plate into quarters. Two quarters, or half your plate, should be dedicated to vegetables. One quarter should contain lean protein, and the other a simple, whole grain like brown rice or quinoa. Easy peasy.

Support your adrenals

Your adrenals take a beating from chronic stress, and without these glands acting optimally you’ll find yourself exhausted and sick. Luckily there are some wonderful natural supplements to give your adrenals a boost. Visit your local health food store and try one of the following:

  • B Complex
  • Magnesium
  • Vit C
  • Adaptogens - Rhodiola, Ashwagandha, Siberian ginseng, and Holy Basil

This is a short list on purpose: caring for our bodies is wildly important, but it's not nearly as difficult as it may feel if you're already adrenally fatigued or not giving yourself enough self-care. Implementing even one or two of these tips will create a big shift in your physical well-being, and give you space and energy to implement more.

Stay tuned for my next area of self care later this week!