I care, you care, we care about self-care.

It's been a long and beautiful summer break here at my end but I have to point out summer is slowly getting to its end I'm afraid. I've been truly lucky to enjoy plenty of hot sunny days full of joyful activities! I traveled, rested, met new people, organised my new home (not finished yet!), harvested wonderful herbs growing locally, and made plenty of plans for the rest of this year and beyond. Holidays usually have such relaxing and restoring impact on us and there's a simple reason behind it.

During vacation, we are simply focusing on our own needs doing activities we truly enjoy. Engaging in such activity is therefore considered as a self-care. So this blog is going to highlight some of the self-caring activities you can do.

We can define self-care as any deliberate activity in which we take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. The purpose of self-care is to recharge, replenish and maintain our own wellbeing that we are able to take care of others. The general aim is to become more resilient, more happy and satisfied with ourselves, and more compassionate towards others. Self-care practice also improves our self-confidence, creativity and proactivity. On the other hand the aim of self-care is to feel less stressed, frustrated or even burned out.

There's no particular rule when it comes to self-care activity. We are all different so we shall choose what suit us most. The importance of self-care regime is though that we make it simple, consciously plan in advance and practise it regularly. Sometimes it might not be easy as we are all busy with work commitments, deadlines, school run, etc. but self-care activity may take only few minutes a day if necessary to make a difference. These are the few activities coming to my mind considered as a self-care:

PHYSICAL EXERCISE - whether it's 10-15min morning routine, walking your dog or weekly yoga/pilates/dance/gym or any other class is entirely down to you but you should enjoy and feel better afterwards. In fact any form of physical activity improves oxygen and nutrient tissue delivery, and increases blood serotonin levels resulting in better mood, physical stamina and energy levels.

MINDFULNESS - in many forms, mindfulness practice such as meditation, conscious activity and awareness in our daily lives are beneficial to improve focus, concentration, feeling of happiness and reducing levels of stress or sadness.

UNCONDITIONAL LOVE - counts for time spent with your loved ones such as your partner, husband/wife, children, family member, friend or loved pet dog or cat, etc.. To love and be loved is deeply nourishing to our mental health not only others or by others but also by us. SELF LOVE is another practice to reconnect with your own self and restore a peace within!

HEATLHY RELATIONSHIPS - clarity and clear communication in between is a key to maintain healthy and thriving relationships. It's also important to surround ourselves with positive and optimistic people as it will make us feel generally better.

STRESS MANAGEMENT - diminish stress in daily life as it causes great demand on the body increasing health risks.

HEALTH MANAGEMENT - take care of any ongoing health issues and problems. Listen and be intuitive towards your bodily signs and functions. The body is expressing its imbalance in various ways.

DIET & NUTRITION - again healthy and nutritious diet is a key to maintain healthy body and mind. Yet it so difficult sometimes to practice this, whether its food we chose or habits of eating. Rule is to make a conscious choice about foods and mindful eating.

SLEEP HYGIENE - having proper sleep of 7-8h restores every cell in our body and organ function, supports immune system and slows down ageing process actually. Lack of sleep induces fatigue, low energy, lack of concentration and focus, and body's increased exposure to infection or illness as it becomes vulnerable.

SKINCARE ROUTINE - take care of your skin and recognise your skin needs. Cleanse, hydrate, moisturise and protect twice a day minimum. Skin health is as important as our overall health as it usually reflects any internal imbalances.

MASSAGE OR RELAXING TREATMENT - any holistic type of body massage or facial treatment is truly relaxing allowing us to unwind and relax our stiffed muscles and its a great opportunity to make time and treat ourselves (even better if we were gifted!).

SIT STILL - switch off your electronic devices or social media channels, grab a favourite book, get cozy and unplug, and let yourself fall into a world of a wonderful imagination!

JOURNAL WRITING - short and brief reflection on your actions during a day or making plans for the future is another example of conscious action as long as it fulfils us in doing so.

ORGANISATION - whether it’s your desk, wardrobe or pantry make it clean and well organised - you won’t be annoyed while looking for something!

Although there are many more self-care recommendations and practices out there, I hope these will encourage you to implement some of the activities at your own pace and convenience, and will become a regular activity in your daily lives. Remember, any self-care activIty should be simple, consciously planned and practised on regular basis. It's really important not to forget about ourselves. So please do take care of yourselves and enjoy the rest of the summer!

Jitka.