I’ve made no secret of the fact that I let things get on top of me over the last couple of months which was tough, but it also taught me all the things I need to do to ensure taking better care of myself no matter how difficult or uncertain life gets. I'm sure a lot of you can relate to the fact that work is extremely fast paced in our current culture, our careers and jobs are our lives which can make it very hard to switch off and take a step back, let alone take care of ourselves in the process. Sometimes it takes lifes curve balls to make us realise how important it really is for us to ensure we are putting ourselves first because when we do, we actually end up working more efficiently, effectively and most importantly, happily. But what's even more incredible is the ripple effect goes much further than just ourselves believe me, I've taken a few serious knocks to make me realise this for myself, but when we take care of ourselves we are more equipped to take care of those around us in the process and then they are able to take more care of those around them and before you know it, its no longer just self care, its caring for all of us.
Now I'm not perfect and I've made peace with this. Some days I can do it; I can get up, put my make up on and boss life, other days its not quite so easy and I have to revert to my checklist of things that get me back on track. I kind of think of it like my Contingency plan to ensure everything doesn't spiral out of control and fall off track. So I thought I'd share a few of the things I do to take better care of myself daily and when things aren't quite going to plan but as always I love hearing about your own self care tips and plans in the comments so get involved and share away as I know I always find so much helpful information from you too.
I really got myself into a habit of thinking that I simply “didn’t have enough time”, does that sound familiar? . It wasn’t until a friend said to me that your health doesn’t care how busy you are, and crumbs! did have to learn that the hard way. But its all well and good acknowledging it but the hard part is finding the motivation to actually do something about it. I realised that the only times I regretted anything about my 6am runs, was when I didn't do them. Being up with the sunshine in spring or the morning frost in Autumn filled me with so much joy and motivated me so much for the rest of the day, it simply didn't make sense that I wasn't doing more of it. Now I know running isn't for everyone but listening to your mind and body when you are exercising really should be, because there will be exercise that suits you and motivates you like running does for me, its just about finding it. I also find that a new gym kit does wonders for motivation too, there's nothing quite like a shiny new Sweaty Betty vest or a flattering new pair of TALA leggings to get me up and dressed in the morning.
My Apple Watch with my Nuclieus strap is also great because it lets me know when I haven't been doing enough, which is always a helping hand too. Closing my rings becomes a bit of a challenge I set myself for a certain amount of times per week, again I'm not perfect but I try my best and believe me, that is better than doing thing.
Getting a good night sleep is another area that is sacrificed for other priorities. I was the number one offender of being on my phone or laptop until late and it was massively affecting the quality and quantity of my sleep. I have totally changed my night time routine and I would say I have seen the biggest rewards from improving bad sleep habits.
I will always try and go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday. I use the Phillips Hue Wake up Light Inspired by nature's sunrise, the light gradually increases within 30 minutes from soft morning red through orange until your room is filled with bright yellow light. This process of changing an increasing light stimulates your body to wake up naturally.
I use the hour before bed for quiet time. This is “ME” time and I like to read. I have been reading "The Salt Path" by Raynor Winn and "Us" by David Nicholls, both books are definitely worth a read btw. I make sure that I don’t feel rushed, I think an hour is enough time to truly unwind. Do my skincare which involved various lotions and potions which I tailor to my skin each night, however the soothing fragrances of ESPA Optimal Skin Procleanser and the Optimal Skin Rejuvenating night booster is glorious for a really indulgent night prep for your skin.
I also spritz my sheets with the NEOM Pillow mist and rub the NEOM magnesium body Butter (the Perfect nights Sleep fragrance is my personal favourite) every single night, I've found this particular ritual hugely noticeable.
Vitamins & Healthy Eating
It's tempting to reach for the multivitamins and hope it gives your body all the essential vitamins it needs. Sadly thats not how it works, so for me eating right is essential. We all get a little lost from time to time but its simple, when I don’t eat well I don’t feel good. The biggest lesson I learnt was to make sure I was actually eating enough throughout the day so I wasn’t feeling hungry between meals and reaching for the snacks. As well as a balanced diet I now take a Vitamin D supplement. This is partly due to us coming into the winter season and having less sun exposure but also because it's a natural supplement that apparently has been proven to reduce the risk of coronavirus complications, obviously I'm not a doctor though so its always important to get your medical advice from them, this is just what I do to help stay safe. I have also been taking a daily supplement of magnesium citrate which has a 360 degree effect on wellbeing, it is used by every organ (not to mention bones and muscles) to support their vital functions and ensure they’re running smoothly. Lastly (and I know, I don't shut up about it!) is the Wellco Nourishing Protein in the Chocolate flavour that is HANDS DOWN the best tasting natural protein on the market, I challenge you to find one better. But also has all nine essential amino acids, its plant-based, vegan-friendly and provides the protein that is essential for tissue repair and growth which is great for supporting post workout recovery), fuelling my body with endurance, power and energy.
Yoga has always been one of my top self care tools. I light all of my NEOM candles at once and let the fragrances fill the room, I put on my cosiest clothing so I'm super comfortable and cosy, lay out a super squishy mat and then my Lavender infused yoga mat from Holistic Silk. I prefer Yin yoga classes because they are slow and provide the most amount of stretching for my muscles. You tend to hold each position for around 2-3minutes and you feel your muscles lengthening and relaxing both my husband and I absolutely love it. We just use the Boho beautiful YouTube channel.
This is a new one that I'm just getting the hang of really, initially I started writing a kind of "Dear Diary" style journal which was a little too long winded for me. So at the moment I'm leaning more towards gratitude journalling which I do each morning. I simply write down three things I'm grateful for that day as I sip my morning coffee in bed, usually Ali and Lumi are snoring next to me but its become a time in my day which I really enjoy and really helps to put my mind in the right place for the day ahead.
Now this will be a bit of a controversial one but I always respect others when it comes to what helps them so I hope you all are able to do the same for me here, but alternative therapies have become a huge part of my life recently. I started off having reflexology over a year ago now and as someone whose hugely ticklish, I didn't think I would love it as much as I do. Its helped me massively with scheduling out time for myself to switch off and from there I've got quite good and doing it more often. I now have reflexology at least once every 1-2 weeks and also acupuncture every week which again has helped me massively.
I began feeling quite panicky this year, which I'm sure a lot of you can relate to with everything that's been going on this year and acupuncture has been a big part of my treatment for that, I have to be honest I really wasn't optimistic about it but I couldn't believe how much it transformed my ability to cope with the fluttery feeling in my chest which had become quite troublesome. Its also helped with my PMDD which I hope to be able to write about in the future but I'm still monitoring my progress with it.
Again I know its not for everyone, but if it helps you, screw what some people thing!
Limiting Phone time & Boundaries
I talked about this a lot in my recent video STARTING A NEW LIFE, but as life got slower we started spending more time on our phones and that isn't always a good thing (unless its for the Net-A-Porter sale of course). I realised that I needed more limitations between my workplace which exists in my phone and normal life so evenings and especially mornings I really try to limit my time on my phone, give myself "normal" work times from 9-5 and only use my phone for essential things outside of those times. I'm even toying with the idea of getting a work phone!
Those are just a few things I've been doing to help with the stresses of work and life that can sometimes get on top of us, let me know in the comments if you have any tips of your own!