23 Jun 2020

Vitamin S - Self Care

Written by Cathy Houghton, Founder, Blossom Health Coaching

As a Health Coach I work with women on a wide range of issues affecting their wellbeing, such as stress, poor food choices, inadequate sleep.  There is, however, one theme that runs through all my clients’ sessions, that is what I like to call Vitamin S.  And this is more important than ever as we emerge from lockdown into a changed world.

Taking time to pause, listen to our minds and bodies, and respond with what is needed, is at the heart of really taking good care of self-care.   

Why are we so bad at this?  Why do we give up so much time and control of our lives to external sources, and equate business with successfulness?  Perhaps some of us are afraid of the times of calm and potential solitude after the work / project is done,  ignoring our inner wisdoms and requirements?  Life should ebb and flow naturally, and letting go of any resistance to this will make for a calmer ride. 

A big part of self-care is finding balance in life, so that one part does not dominate the others. Is your life balanced?  It  doesn’t matter how many ‘superfoods’ you are eating if you are managing only 4 hours sleep a night (and feeling ragged on it).  If working 60 hours + a week in a sedentary job, then perhaps your time for movement is diminished and your stress levels are way too high.  Or maybe you are a people pleaser and some toxic friendships are ruling your spare time, leaving you  resentful, and with no chance of doing what you want to do.

Self-care in life is a balancing act in another way too, needs versus wants.  That tricky combination of doing the things we ‘need’ to do as conscientious responsible adults, pitted against the inner child that ‘wants’ things for pleasure and fun.  There is a place for both.  Getting this right,  without struggle, leads to a smoother, more peaceful life.

Peace is a big word in the self-care world.  Finding peace within is at the heart of my health coaching.  For many women the lack of peace in their lives centres around food, weight, and body image.  The struggle to lose weight may  cause more damage overall than remaining at a bigger size, if it causes distress, unhappiness and feeling like a failure.   Wherever women are on their journey with weight and size, trying to start from a place of acceptance, and eating for nourishment rather than for calories or points, is a good place to start.

Some areas of our life that may need a little help with self-care:

  1. Food patterns – do you know what your body thrives on? Or really objects to?  Do you eat like you love yourself?  Keep a daily diary for 1 week to map what you have eaten against how you feel, then review.  It never fails to surprise. (contact me for my food and mood diary).  
  2. Nutrition – are your eating patterns varied and balanced enough to be giving you all the nutrients you require? This is really hard in today’s society, most of us need a helping hand from supplements one way or another.  Jacquie and her team at Nature’s Bounty are on hand to help us with us with this.
  3. Sleep – are you giving your body enough? One way to tell is to sit quietly in the afternoon for 10 minutes, if you can’t help but nod off then you probably aren’t getting enough sleep at night.  Stand back and think about your bedtime and morning routines, what can you do to improve them?
  4. Downtime / rest / flow – being awake but switching off the brain from active thought. Being in the moment, calmly.  Accepting whatever comes along.  A walk in the woods works well for me, what about you?
  5. Movement – sounds so much better than ‘exercise’ doesn’t it. What does your body enjoy doing?  How many different ways can you move for pleasure, not punishment?  Forced exercise regimes are not self-care.
  6. Self-talk – how do you talk to yourself? Is that voice in your head critical or kind?  Do you talk to yourself as if you were talking to a good friend – and if not, then why not?  Becoming aware of the chatter in your head, changing this to become kindness and compassion, is probably the single most important to show yourself some love and self-care.  Try it, just for one day, and watch what happens. 

 

So, do you have enough Vitamin S in your life?  Particularly now as we are emerging into a different world. Do you feel balanced, calm and at peace with the world?  If not, where can you start to make some small easy changes? Perhaps this might help: -

Take a small empty glass jar.  Place it somewhere visible in your home, like a desk or kitchen worktop.  Everyday try to do 1 small thing for yourself, and each time you do put something in the jar like a marble, paperclip, button.  It doesn’t matter what you fill the jar with, nor does it matter what you have done to earn it – a bath, listen to your favourite song, take a walk (for pleasure), ring an old friend, have reflexology, make your favourite cake ….. The point is to watch the jar fill up and when it gets near the top plan something really special, a treat for looking after yourself.    By then hopefully the habit is ingrained enough, if not empty and start your Vitamin S jar again. 

I hope some of these thoughts and ideas have resonated with you,  please get in touch with me or Jacquie from Nature’s Bounty for more help and inspiration.

 

Cathy Houghton is the founder of Blossom Health Coaching,  based in Newton Abbot.  Cathy coaches women in health and wellbeing, individually and in group sessions.  Coaching is currently taking place online during lockdown.

www.blossomheatlhcoaching.co.uk

cathy@blossomehealthcoaching.co.uk

07972 374150.

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