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  • Jacqueline Green

Embracing the journey to real self care.

Updated: Jun 13

In today's fast-paced world, the concept of self-care has become a popular topic, particularly among young - middle aged adults. While it's frequently discussed and hash-tagged across social media, it's true essence often gets misunderstood.

Often, the way it's described equates to indulgence — buying that expensive handbag, eating that extra slice of cake, or binge-watching your favourite shows. However, genuine self-care goes much deeper than these surface level actions so as part of my theme of the week, I'm trying to bring about a deeper understanding of the word, so thanks for coming along for the ride and reading this with me.

The true essence of self-care.

At its core, self-care is the intentional action taken to meet your physical, emotional, and mental needs. It’s about recognising and honouring what your body and mind needs. Unlike temporary pleasures, intentional and conscious self-care is a holistic approach to wellbeing that forms long-term health and happiness.

The importance of tuning into your body.

Our bodies constantly communicate with us, sending signals about our needs and wellbeing. Unfortunately, in our busy lives, we often ignore these signals. We push through fatigue, suppress emotions, and disregard our mental health. Tuning into your body is a fundamental aspect of self-care. It involves being present and mindful of your physical and emotional states, allowing you to respond consciously rather than react impulsively.

Common misconceptions about self-care.

Many people confuse self-care with self-indulgence. While treating yourself occasionally is not problematic, relying on material purchases or comfort foods/ drinks to cope with stress or emotions can be detrimental. This type of behaviour often masks underlying issues rather than addressing them. Overindulgence can lead to negative consequences like poor health, financial strain, and a cycle of emotional numbness.

Ignoring our needs through emotional numbing and people pleasing.

Emotional numbing occurs when we engage in activities to avoid confronting our true feelings. This could be through overeating, keeping busy, excessive shopping, or constantly seeking external validation. Similarly, people-pleasing—putting others' needs before your own at the expense of your wellbeing—is another way we ignore our needs. Both behaviours are detrimental to authentic self-care because they prevent us from addressing the root causes of our stress or unhappiness.

So, how to tune into your body?

Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness involves paying attention to the present moment without judgment. Practices like meditation, deep breathing, or mindful walking can help you become more aware of your body's signals. I have some free mindful/grounding printable resources for you if interested - see my website page to pop in your email to get these emailed straight to you!

Listen to your body: Take time each day to check in with yourself. How do you feel physically and emotionally? Are you tired, stressed, or anxious? Recognising these feelings is the first step in addressing them. It doesn't have to be 20 minutes every day, but just as you transition from one thing to the next, maybe as you get up in the morning, come back from your lunch break, as you prepare to meet a friend, or on a drive somewhere - it's just taking a moment to notice your body.

Set boundaries: Learn to say no and prioritise your needs. Setting boundaries is crucial in preventing burnout and ensuring you have the energy to care for yourself. Society has struggled to catch up with the movement around 'saying no' but we are getting there slowly. Let me be clear - saying no is not selfish or rude. It doesn't mean anything other than that's not your vibe just now - don't let fears of assumptions or judgements stop you from aligning with your needs.

Engage in regular physical activity: Exercise is a powerful tool for connecting with your body. It reduces stress, boosts mood, and improves overall health. Find an activity you enjoy, whether it’s yoga, dancing, or hiking.

Nourish your body: Pay attention to what you eat and how it makes you feel. Our gut is our second brain after all! Opt for an overall balanced diet that fuels your body and mind rather than one that provides temporary comfort.

Seek support: This goes without saying really - seeking professional help if you’re struggling with emotional or mental health can be so helpful in connecting with yourself and others. Therapy or counselling (individual, family or couples counselling!) can provide valuable tools for understanding and managing your feelings, helping you to grow towards the more authentic and real you.

Self-care is not about escaping from life’s challenges but about engaging with them in a healthy and constructive manner. By tuning into your body and recognising your true needs, you can practice intentional self-care that promotes lasting well-being. Remember, self-care is a journey, not a destination. It requires continuous effort and self-awareness, but the rewards—a healthier, happier you—are well worth it.

Thanks for reading,

Jacques x

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