It can be easy these days to think that it normal to constantly be busy or doing things. I guilty of it myself.
The feeling that you need to be productive and getting tasks done as a form of value and self worth is harmful. It puts our own needs second and turns us into slaves of just getting it done because that’s what we’ve been taught to do.
Keeping busy is fuelled by capitalism.
The fact that our self worth has been connected with how well we are able to work and constantly be productive in some way is leading so many of us to losing our connection with ourselves and our needs.
I get it though. If we aren’t busy, then what are we doing?
We couldn’t possibly be allowed to take time for ourselves. To care for our own personal needs and wants. That would be ludicrous. How would the system continue to function if we began putting ourselves first and not the needs of the faceless forces keeping us constantly busy.
It’s stressful to say the least. But it is so important to practice self care. I believe it’s an act of healthy rebellion to put my needs first. I can’t keep working to support the people in my community if I’m falling to pieces due to stress, lack of sleep and never taking time to fulfil my own needs.
We are allowed to take the time to care for ourselves. Here are some great ways to begin practicing these little acts of healthy rebellion are.
1. Take 5 minutes each day and just breath.
Deep breathing or Diaphragmatic breathing is the practice of breathing with from your diaphragm. With each breath in, let your stomach expand gently. As you exhale allow your stomach to contract and push the air gently out.
If you are finding it hard to fill your stomach comfortably with each breath, try laying on your stomach on the floor. Being able to feel the ground beneath your body as you breath will allow you to feel your stomach gently expand with each breath.
The effects of deep breathing have been well documented and have been linked to reduced levels of anxiety, less overall muscle tension, lowering of stress levels and improved mental focus to name just a few of the benefits.
2. Take a daily walk.
The human body was designed to walk for distance. It’s what helped our species evolve and survive back in the days of the cave person.
Going for a walk each day is an easy way to get a little more movement in your life. A daily walk can improve your moods, reduce muscle and joint stiffness, support your heart health, reduce high blood pressure, improved sleep and assist in changing your body shape.
The best part about a daily walk is that it’s totally free and you don’t need any special equipment or skill. All you need is a comfy pair of shoes. You can walk with friends or go for a mindful walk on your own, the choice is yours.
3. Eat mindfully.
Nutrition plays a huge role in how we feel, what our moods are like, how much energy we have, how well our body functions and the quality of our sleep.
Food is what our body uses to replenish and repair itself. If it isn’t getting all the nutrients it needs, over time we can end up suffering for it both physically and mentally.
To begin eating mindfully, write down a list of foods that you enjoy eating. Try to think of the foods that are minimally processed. What fruits do you enjoy eating? What veggies do you delight in? Figuring out what you enjoy and keeping it handy will help you when it comes to buying your food.
Fruit and veggies are actually pretty cheap as well. Stick to the outside section of the supermarket and it’ll be a pretty safe bet that you’ll be getting the least processed foods available. You can also try Asian grocery stores. They are great for cheap leafy greens and other delights that the supermarkets may turn down because the food isn’t “perfect”.
Eating mindfully doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself either. You can still eat the other foods you enjoy, just try adding a few extra pieces of fruit and veg to your meal.
4. Move daily.
Our bodies were designed to move. Not just walk but twist, bend, stretch, reach and flex. For some of us this may be easier than others. That’s totally ok. Getting moving isn’t about be perfect or having the most perfectly functioning body, seriously, who of us does?
Move yourself in the ways that you can. Find out what movements make you feel good and what movements don’t. If you have pain when you move, then it’s important that you see the right person to support you to address the issue.
There are heaps of ways that you can get moving. You can find tutorials on youtube. There you can learn to practice a little yoga, try a little bodyweight session or even a HIIT (High intensity interval training) session if you’re feeling adventurous.
Moving when you haven’t really done it before can be awkward as heck. Don’t let that discomfort deter you. It feels better over time, trust me. Just start small and if you’re uncertain, you can look for a trainer that can support you as you learn how to move. Our 7 days of healthy rebellion is a great introduction for any person looking to get a little more active in a gentle and safe way.
Now here’s a bonus tip that is super important and one that we just aren’t really taught about. The catch is, it’s not necessarily going to be low cost. That being said, to really get into a good self care routine, it has an important part to play.
5. Visit specialists when necessary.
Seeking specialist support when you feel that your body isn’t feeling the best, is probably one of the most important acts of self care you can practice.
If you have had soreness in a joint or muscle for longer than two weeks, it’s time to seek help. Start with an osteopath. They specialise in supporting the joints, muscles and spine. They will be able to address a lot of muscular skeletal issues. If they can’t help, they are great at referring on to different practitioners such as chiropractors or physiotherapists.
It may feel a bit daunting going to a specialist and probably a little expensive. But look at it this way, if you need to live in your body for the rest of your life, wouldn’t you want it to feel as comfortable as possible.
Our body is great at compensating when a joint or muscle group isn’t functioning the best it could. Issues that are left untreated can lead to imbalances within the body. For folks that chest bind, this is an especially important. Binding causes many restrictions that over time can lead to a lot of discomfort and potential long term damage.
This is by no means an extensive list of options for self care. There are many ways that a person can begin to support their needs. Try new things out. Make it an experiment. Have fun. That’s what this is all about. Find what brings joy into your life and practice it.
Forget about having to be busy and focus on just being you. Our time is our most valuable asset, it’s something that we can never get back. Learning to spend it on ourselves may be challenging but, it’s necessary if want to live a life that fulfils our needs.
Wanna join the NGF fitness revolution?
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