THE DIS­CI­PLINE OF SELF CARE: PART 2

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Dr Suzanne Hen­wood

De­cide to take daily ac­tion & commitment in self-care

IN the March/April 2019 is­sue of Great Health Guide TM, The Dis­ci­pline of Self Care: Part

1, ex­plored why self-care is cru­cial for our health and well­be­ing and why it is im­por­tant to have a dis­ci­plined prac­tice and a plan, that will en­sure you act. We ex­plored the five key ar­eas of health and well­be­ing and in this Part 2 of the se­ries we are go­ing to cre­ate a plan across those five ar­eas. As a re­minder, the five ar­eas are: phys­i­cal, men­tal, emo­tional, so­cial and spir­i­tual health. In each area, pick ONE ac­tiv­ity for this coming month and set your­self mea­sur­able targets to achieve it. The best targets are re­al­is­tic, yet stretch you a lit­tle bit, so that you feel re­ally good when you achieve them. Your plan might look some­thing like this: En­sure that you have clear mea­sures and con­sider:

1. In­clud­ing things that you re­ally en­joy do­ing (don’t make this a huge chore – build in things that make you smile and come alive) 2. How you will re­ward your dis­ci­plined ac­tion at the end of the month? What is a gor­geous, healthy re­ward that you can build in – a mas­sage? A cin­ema trip? Some­thing that will spur you on when you don’t feel like com­plet­ing a task. 3. To whom will you make your­self ac­count­able? This can be shar­ing your plan, so some­one else checks in on how you are do­ing, or you could agree a ‘fine’ to some­one, if you do not stick to your plan. Have fun and be cre­ative with each area and each month change your plan to keep

chal­leng­ing your­self to keep mov­ing your­self for­ward to­wards be­ing your health­i­est self. Here are some sug­ges­tions in each area:

1. Phys­i­cal Health

This might in­clude any num­ber of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties such as walk­ing, jog­ging, bike rid­ing, surfing, skip­ping, box­ing, swim­ming and wa­ter walk­ing. Take an ex­er­cise class (stay­ing healthy is even more fun with a group), do Yoga, Mar­tial Arts or go to the gym. Or build ex­er­cise into your nor­mal daily rou­tine such as: taking the stairs in­stead of a lift, get­ting off a bus or train one stop early. Get good ad­vice on nu­tri­tion and diet. Think about your mi­cro­biome. En­sure you get enough sleep. Avoid ex­ces­sive al­co­hol and other drugs. This list is not ex­haus­tive but gives you a start­ing point within the area of phys­i­cal health to get you started on your jour­ney.

Note: Al­ways seek med­i­cal ad­vice if you have health is­sues, be­fore in­sti­gat­ing any new ex­er­cise rou­tines.

2. Men­tal Health

This is a wide area and may in­clude: learn­ing new things, hav­ing a grat­i­tude prac­tice, jour­nal­ing, mind­ful colour­ing. Con­sciously work­ing to en­sure pos­i­tive thoughts out­weigh neg­a­tive ones. Be mind­ful about what you fo­cus on and give at­ten­tion to. Finally, con­sider dis­con­nect­ing from tech­nol­ogy for a spec­i­fied pe­riod of time to find still­ness and quiet. If you do ex­pe­ri­ence more se­vere men­tal health is­sues, seek sup­port early from ther­a­peu­tic ser­vices that work for you.

3. Emo­tional Health

There are an un­lim­ited num­ber of ways to en­hance emo­tional health, some of my favourites in­clude: med­i­ta­tion and re­lax­ation tech­niques, learn­ing to breathe well, floata­tion pods, soak­ing in a bath, ex­plor­ing new mind­ful­ness prac­tices, go­ing out into na­ture, mu­sic, laugh­ter, do­ing some­thing you love do­ing, read­ing a book, taking time to savour pos­i­tive emo­tions. Find sim­ple plea­sures that bring your fo­cus on to pos­i­tive emo­tions ev­ery day.

4. So­cial Health

As human be­ings we were made to live in a com­mu­nity, and we need to feel that we be­long. So, find ways to re­ally con­nect with others – and at least some of the time, pick happy peo­ple to con­nect with. Ar­range to meet a friend. Join a club or group, find some­where that you can ‘be­long’.

5. Spir­i­tual Health

Finally, spir­i­tual health is all about do­ing work that is im­por­tant to you. Finding that wider con­nec­tion to others, to mak­ing a dif­fer­ence and re­mind­ing your­self that what you do mat­ters. Look for signs of the im­pact you have in the world and spend time fo­cus­ing on what is truly im­por­tant to you.

Sum­mary

Health and well­be­ing, in the main is a choice. We have to have an in­ten­tion to deeply and with dis­ci­pline, care for our­selves and act across all 5 ar­eas of health to turn that into re­al­ity. I hope you will cre­ate a plan and up­date it each month so that you can en­joy em­brac­ing your own health and well­be­ing. In the words of L’Oréal – you are worth it.

De­cide to take daily ac­tion & commitment.

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