THE DISCIPLINE OF SELF CARE: PART 2
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.
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.