The Five Types of Self-Care

Self-care, a timely, trending ritual designed to leave us feeling uplifted, energised, and nurtured. The benefits of self-care include better concentration, higher energy levels, increased positivity, reduced stress and anxiety, and the list goes… The self-care hype is filling our social media feeds, though we’re often left with some unanswered questions. For instance, what different types of self-care exist and what do they actually entail? How often should I practice self-care?

Do not fear, this guide breaks down five types of self-care and how they can be practiced daily. Yes, that’s right daily! Despite contrary belief, self-care should be viewed as a priority, not as a weekend luxury. Treating it as a luxury may leave you feeling drained, overwhelmed, or unequipped to face life’s challenges with a growth mindset. Self-care is not all about face masks, and baths, (though they are definitely needed at times!) nor is it selfish or a sign of weakness. Self-care is defined as “the act of tending to one’s physical or mental health.” The five pillars of self-care covered in this post are: physical, social, mental, spiritual, and emotional. So, let’s dive in!

Physical Self-Care

Physical self-care refers to any physical activity you engage in. We look after our body to enable it to run efficiently, providing it with the fuel it needs to reach our potentials. Firstly, this requires us to be active on a daily basis in a way that works for the individual. You’ll feel more driven to exercise if you actually enjoy it, be it walking, workouts, fitness classes or cycles. Keep experimenting until you find the one that gets you moving without clouding your joy. Secondly, sleep plays a fundamental role. Start by asking yourself if you get enough sleep and, if not, take action to make healthy changes. Thirdly, think about your diet. Fuel your body with a balanced, healthy diet. Another thing to bear in mind is health concerns. Attend to any health matters by seeking professional help if and when needed.

berries blackberries close up cocktail
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Social Self-Care

As social beings, human connection is essential. Cultivate and maintain close relationships with loved ones including friends, family members, partners and pets. It is easy to neglect our social life when life gets in the way, you know like when you’re too busy to even finish that to-do list. The amount of time devoted to relationships is subject to the individual. Extroverts may need a weekend-full of social activities to get their fix, while introverts may require a more precise balance of alone time and socialising to feel fulfilled. Regardless of personality type, a great question to ask yourself is if you devote enough time to catching-up or having fun with your loved ones and is there any relationship that you may have unwillingly neglected.

Mental Self-Care

Mental self-care encompasses anything related to the mind, and closely intertwines with psychological and emotional health. The way the mind works greatly influences our overall sense of well-being. Mental health involves our reasoning and decision-making skills as well as our ability to concentrate and retain information. A great way to sharpen the mind is by carrying out mentally stimulating activities daily. Such activities include reading, learning a new skill, word puzzles, maths problems, or anything that requires a mental effort like writing, drawing, painting etc.

Mental self-care also entails how we think, process and understand information. It’s vital that you work towards a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset. Do you find yourself doubting your abilities, questioning yourself, or frequently clouded with negativity? These are signs of a fixed mindset. A growth mindset sees problems as challenges, mistakes as learning curves, while driven by self-belief and persistence. Throughout life it’s natural to experience both mindsets, though it is of greater value to practice a growth mindset for our mental well-being. Check out this short video for a more detailed explanation and tips on how to achieve this.

cup of coffee placed on cozy robe near lilac flowers
Photo by Ioana Motoc on Pexels.com

Spiritual Self-Care

Spiritual health does not necessarily refer to religion, though commonly associated with this pillar, and can be practiced by atheists and agnostics too. It’s concerned with meaning and purpose; having a defined set of values and morals and living in accordance with them. Essentially, it’s acknowledging what you believe to be right or wrong, important and meaningful and applying them to our actions and goals. Spiritual well-being greatly impacts our overall well-being and can bring us inner peace. For instance, have you ever done something you don’t agree with like gossip about someone or tell a lie, and then been flooded with guilt? That’s because it doesn’t align with your values and principles.

Spiritual self-care practices include being surrounded by those that are aligned with your values, whether it be a friend or forms of entertainment like podcasts or books, all these things influence us greatly so choose them wisely. Another key pillar to spiritual health is to ensure that our actions represent our beliefs. Intentionally set out your values and purpose by creating Stephen Covey’s innovative personal mission statement as seen in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The statemen defines what is most important to you, the person you want to be and how you’d like to be remembered by those that cross your path, and lifetime goals you would like to achieve. A value could be something as simple as kindness or honesty, while goals could be starting a family, becoming an entrepreneur or being a valued employee. The statement can be a guide for decision-making processes, behaviour, actions and stay focused on long-term goals.

scenic view of ocean during sunset
Photo by Travis Rupert on Pexels.com

Emotional Self-Care

Emotional health is both the awareness of our emotions and the ability to manage and express those feelings appropriately. It’s about acknowledging, processing, and expressing emotions in a healthy way. Developing supportive friendships is crucial in order to talk about negative emotions or doubts and support you through any emotional turmoil. It’s also essential to be your own best friend. Self-talk can be the be-all or end-all. For more guidance on negative self-talk, work on self-love and how you can silence your inner critic.

A great practice for anyone who has a tendency to struggle with this pillar is to journal at the start and end of each day. Outline affirmations, gratitude and three goals to keep you focused on the day ahead and control a wandering mind. Likewise, at the end of each day note down what you are grateful for to stay on track. Let’s face it, processing and expressing emotions in a healthy way isn’t always a walk in the park. Try out a range of practices until you find one that works for you and make a concerted effort to practice the technique that’s effective for you when faced with particular emotions. For instance, when stressed focus on breathwork or learn to release anger in a healthy way like with exercise or journaling. And, finally, schedule in fun activities and always have something to look forward to. Don’t fall into the trap of punishing yourself based on fleeting emotions.

Self-care shouldn’t be expensive or overly time-consuming. If you find yourself neglecting one of the pillars of self-care, work to improve that specific area. Reap the benefits by establishing rituals that work for you. See it as a concoction of healthy habits that enhance your overall well-being and enable you to flourish.

P.S. Check out my free five-minute morning journal below to start the day as you mean to go on.

“Give yourself the same care and attention that you give to others and watch yourself bloom.” – The Sprouting Sunflower

Simple Self-Care Guide to Health

Following the Christmas holidays, it’s time for some self-care in time for the New Year. After weeks of eating and drinking to our heart’s desire in addition to numerous late nights, it starts to take a toll on our body, skin, and mood in general. Forget waiting for January, start feeling revitalised, and get glowing with energy today. Follow these five simple steps to see the New Year in feeling healthily replenished.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water may seem pretty obvious, especially as our bodies are 60 – 70% water. It’s essential to get the doctor-recommended two litres a day due to the healing and purifying properties water contains. In fact, if you find yourself with reduced energy levels, water may be the answer. That’s because our brain is around 75% water requiring a specific amount to function properly. Water is key as it enables the body to remove any unwanted toxins, which in turn helps boost our immune system.

clear drinking glass with lemon juice
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Get Moving

Earn yourself that downtime on the sofa by getting active beforehand. Movement, be it yoga or a gentle walk, encourages blood flow and the release of impurities. In addition, it increases energy levels, reduces stress calming both the mind and body. Plus, exercise stimulates the production of the brain chemical dopamine, also known as the “feel-good” hormone enhancing our mood and happiness levels. Be sure to make getting active part of your self-care routine.

rolled yoga mat and bottle of water in sunlight
Photo by Anete Lusina on Pexels.com

Rest Up

Be sure to get enough sleep, preferably the recommended 7 to 9 hours, in order to feel truly replenished. Sleep deprivation promotes low morale meaning it’s vital to get enough rest. Establish a good sleep routine or even throw in a siesta if needed. Sleeping is the best meditation after all.

apartment bed bedroom comfort
Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

Eat Smart

Christmas is renowned for indulging in sweet treats, alcoholic beverages, and an abundance of food as part of the festive fun. But now it’s time to slowly get back on the healthy bandwagon in order to get our body functioning optimally. Focus on cleansing your body with foods that help eliminate toxins. Any foods high in anti-oxidants are a great place to start, think fruit, veggies, nuts, and seeds. Cut down on unhealthy snacks by substituting them for some food medicine. Blueberries, avocadoes (homemade guacamole definitely counts!) and apples are particularly good for cleansing the body.

fresh raspberries and blueberries in bowl
Photo by Any Lane on Pexels.com

Reflect

2020 has certainly been a different year with a rollercoaster of ups and downs for everyone. As easy as it may seem to write 2020 off as a year worth forgetting, take a moment to reflect on this year’s journey around the sun. Think about what you have accomplished and what you’re proud of. Were you kind to yourself? Have you helped others? Are you aligned with your values? Jot it down in order to analyse what went well and what could be improved. These reflections will act as a guide for next year’s goals. Remember, you can only ever be better than the person you were yesterday.

opened notebook with silver pen near magnolia
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

As this year comes to an end, be sure to celebrate the completion of 2020 by feeling replenished and energised. Don’t wait for those New Year’s resolutions, boost your body and spirits before this year closes. What are your top self-care tips to leave you feeling revitalised and replenished?

Simple Self-Care Tips for the Winter Season

As winter begins in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s the perfect time to embrace the seasonal changes. Winter is rolling in which means our self-care routines and leisure activities, much like our wardrobes, are in need of a switch-up. Welcome in the beauty of winter with these simple self-care tips to embrace the chill.

christmas decors on winter background
Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

The Benefits of a Seasonal Routine

Did you know that the seasons affect both our body and mind? Scientific studies show that seasonal variations including temperatures, daylight, and weather conditions affect us. Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD, is an example of human seasonality. Those with the disorder tend to suffer depressive episodes in late autumn or early winter, sapping energy and augmenting mood swings. One reason for this is that reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin levels.

Luckily, there are some simple steps we can take in order to stay in sync with the seasons. Our daily self-care practices help keep us happy and healthy. So with the arrival of winter, it’s time to prioritise self-care.

Winter Walks

Nothing is quite as refreshing as a winter walk. Not only is it a wonderful way to get a dose of fresh air, it also provides us with the natural light that our body craves during the winter months. It may seem less appetising during the cold months, especially on those frosty mornings. Even so, you won’t regret it. It’s a wonderful way to get exercise and even enjoy the company of a loved one. Or, to make the most of some alone time, why not make it meditative by giving a walking meditation a go?

green pine tree with white snow
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

Vitamin D

During the winter months, it can be hard to get enough vitamin D from sunlight alone. Yet, vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy bones and strengthening our immune systems. Studies actually show that vitamin D deficiency is associated with depression. Luckily, between 10-30 minutes of midday sunlight several times a week is a great way to get your dose of vitamin D. And, for those gloomy days, there are some delicious sources of vitamin D including: fortified soy, almond and rice milk, mushrooms, fortified orange juice, oily fish and fortified cereals and oats.

Soak in Hot Baths

Soaking in a bath is a pleasant way to relax and, according to the Healthline, it can also help reduce inflammation and control blood sugar. Basically, a relaxing bubble bath can be used as an excellent antidote to a stressful day as well as warming you up amid the winter chill. Soak in a hot bath whilst soothing your senses with some scented candles or fragrant bath salts. Or why not make a day of it and schedule a spa day for the ultimate relaxation.

three towels on brown wooden rack
Photo by Castorly Stock on Pexels.com

Ayurvedic Rituals

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian system of holistic health, which embraces natural practices to nurture the body and mind. In Ayurveda, wellness is known as the absence of disease and the vibrancy of being at ease with yourself and others. Although Ayurveda focuses on three different body types, there are many lifestyle practices to benefit from regardless of our dosha. Tongue scraping, for example, first thing in the morning is an effective way of removing toxins and bacteria accumulated overnight. Drinking warm water first thing also has incredible benefits including hydration of the body’s tissues, aiding digestion, and, of course, keeping you warm and cosy on those winter mornings. For more amazing Ayurvedic practices and an in-depth guide to rituals and recipes specific to your body type, check out this Ayurvedic Beginner’s Guide.

Journaling

Momentaneous sadness or irritation is normal irrespective of the seasons. Yet, those rainy days or winter chills can take an extra toll on our mood at times. This is when journaling can come in handy. Relaying your thoughts on paper is a great way of coping with fleeting negativity. It can help to understand the reasons behind these emotions, or even enable us to stumble upon some solutions. Positive affirmations are also a great way to stay on track in moments of self-doubt or worry. We are what we think, and in turn, our moods, days, and lives stem from our thoughts. Release some “feel-good” hormones with the help of psychologist Doctor Carmen Harra’s expertise in affirmations.

photo of cup beside books
Photo by Claire Morgan on Pexels.com

Music

Did you know that your brain actually releases dopamine, also known as the feel-good neurotransmitter, when you listen to music? Pleasurable music induces release of dopamine, contributing to feelings of pleasure and satisfaction. So, if you’re looking for an instant mood-boosting hack to cure your winter blues, it’s time to put your favourite playlist on. And what better way to get in the Christmas spirit than dancing, cooking or showering to some Christmas classics. Because, who doesn’t feel happier after listening to Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You, right?

Ignite Your Inner Creativity

Getting creative is entertaining and provides us with an abundance of benefits. From stress relief to increased confidence, we have all experienced first-hand the feeling of accomplishment that creativity brings. Whether it be some mindful baking to whip up some tasty treats, reading in a cosy corner of the house or drawing and painting to your heart’s desire, the options are endless. To practice some seasonal creativity, why not create a beautiful hand-made gift this Christmas or have a go at making some delicious wintery drinks to feel replenished.

brown pastry and cupcake in chopping board
Photo by Element5 Digital on Pexels.com

Winter is a wonderful season that has so much to offer. From snuggling up on the sofa with a hot chocolate to exhilarating winter sports, this season deserves to be celebrated. Wintertime is renowned for its frosty mornings and crisp air, yet it’s also a time to embrace the beauty of winter walks, cosy corners and festive spirits.

Natural Skincare: The Benefits of Au Naturel Beauty

Ever wondered what impact personal care cosmetics and beauty products have on the planet and our bodies? Personal care rituals are an integral part of our daily routines and, let’s face it, healthy radiant skin will never go out of fashion. On average, we use nine personal care products daily. To name a few: deodorant, shampoo, toothpaste, body lotion, sun cream, make-up and the list goes on. Luckily, due to consumers’ increased interest in an eco-friendly lifestyle, innovative skin-friendly products are on the market. So, let’s find out how to consciously choose natural products with the planet and our health in mind.

bath bathroom bathtub indoors
Photo by Burst on Pexels.com

The Impact of Cosmetics on Our Bodies

Did you know that cosmetic ingredients do not remain on the surface of our skin? Our skin actually penetrates these ingredients making their way into our bloodstream and accessing our organs and glands. Depending on what we put on our skin, this can be beneficial or detrimental to our health. Exposure to harmful chemicals absorbed through our skin can lead to a variety of health issues. In fact, our personal care regime can even strip away our bodies’ natural oils and moisture, further increasing the vulnerability of our skin by making it more permeable.

Parabens are the perfect example of the detrimental effect a cosmetic ingredient can have on our bodies. These harmful chemicals are commonly found in everyday items including: shampoo, conditioner, cleansers, deodorant, toothpastes, moisturiser, make up and many more. According to EWG, parabens can disrupt hormones in the body, harm fertility and reproductive organs as well as increasing the risk of cancer. Long story short, be sure to avoid products containing parabens.

set of jars of bath salts composed with gentle matthiola incana flowers
Photo by Rebecca on Pexels.com

How Beauty Regimes Affect the Planet

It’s not just our bodies that we are potentially harming. In fact, studies have shown that hormone systems of wildlife are harmed due to the chemicals found in these products. The array of chemicals, toxins and plastics that rinse down drains eventually end up poisoning our waters. As a result, natural habitats and wildlife are damaged or even destroyed.

It’s not just the non-sustainable packaging of these products that leach toxins into our waters and soils, the toxic chemicals also play a part in this cycle. A common example is ‘Oxybenzone’ or ‘Benzophenone-3’, which is found in many sunscreens. Although this ingredient does wonders for protecting our skin against the harmful rays, it actually contributes to the bleaching of the world’s coral reefs. These reefs house diverse ecosystems and provide habitats and food for many marine species. The sunscreen on our bodies washes off into the sea, ocean, river or lake when we take a dip, or ends up trickling down the drains into the earth’s water when we take a shower.

So, it turns out that our self-care rituals actually have an impact on more than just our personal hygiene and glowing skin. Luckily, the solution is simple – consciously choose products with both health and the planet in mind.

gold wedding band on white textile
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Healthy Skin and Eco-Friendly Solutions

EWG’s Skin Deep Database

The Environmental Working Group, also known as EWG, is a girl’s best friend when choosing the safest products and the best brands. Skin Deep provides ratings on cosmetic safety based on the hazards associated with the product’s ingredients. EWG evaluates and assesses personal care products to combat deficiencies in product regulations. You can search for a product or brand to see how it marks on the scale at the click of a mouse. It’s logically divided into a coloured scale as green represents a low hazard, orange a medium hazard and red a high hazard. Skin Deep also provides top tips for safer products by informing us on which harmful chemicals we should avoid.

Natural Products

Strive to fill your personal care rituals with beauty brands and products that use natural ingredients. Natural beauty products do not contain harmful chemicals, artificial colours or ingredients that typically cause skin irritation. They are enriched with natural fragrances which, unlike their traditional artificial counterparts, do not contain chemicals that damage our bodies.

composition of cosmetic bottle with pink rose petals and wooden plate
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Go the Extra Environmentally-Friendly Mile

Go Organic

Products with organic ingredients tend to be the most eco-friendly option. That’s because natural ingredients don’t always equal sustainability. The increase in demand for natural ingredients has resulted in farming and mining at an unsustainable level. In order for suppliers to meet demands, pesticides are commonly used to decrease costs and speed up the creation process. Pesticides are detrimental for the environment as they pollute the air, water and soil, meaning ecosystems are damaged and biodiversity is diminished. For this reason, organic products are great choices. Other sustainable ingredients worth investing in are: coconut oil, hemp oil and aloe vera.

Avoid Palm Oil

The palm oil industry is unsustainable due to its destructive deforestation. In fact, research shows that thousands of orangutans have died because of this industry. The alarming rates at which the vast amounts of rainforest are cut down puts many species at risk. Elephants, rhinos and tigers are also at risk because of habitat destruction. Luckily, the solution is simple. Choose products and brands that do not use palm oil. When checking the ingredients, keep an eye out for  “vegetable oil” or “vegetable fat” which is often palm oil under a different name.

Whether it be for the sake of your health, the planet or even both, there are so many reasons to make conscious product choices. The good news is that there are plenty of clean safe skincare products out there. Opt for natural chemical-free products in order to nourish and support your skin. This transition certainly won’t happen overnight so start with one product at a time on your quest for happier, healthier skin that the planet will thank you for. What are your top sustainable beauty brands and products?

Sustainable Beauty: Top 5 Eco-Friendly Beauty Products

The beauty industry is renowned for its use of plastic and excess waste. The constant supply of plastic bottles and disposables means that the beauty industry is, quite literally, costing the earth. Want to find out how to planet-proof your beauty cabinet and perhaps even save some money? Check out these top five incredible environmentally-friendly products to initiate small changes towards less plastic and waste. These planet-friendly alternatives are guaranteed to promote everyday sustainable living.

Soap Bar

Whatever happened to the retro bar of soap? Well, it was defeated by its rival: the plastic bottle. However, there are so many reasons why the soap bar should and will make a come-back. Firstly, a bar of soap tends to be packaged more efficiently avoiding single-use plastic. Secondly, a soap bar actually requires about 30% less water than when washing with liquid soap. So, cut back on wasteful plastic and opt for an eco-friendly soap bar to freshen up.

natural soap and brush on folded towels
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

 Make-Up Remover and Exfoliating Mitt

Nothing is more frustrating than cleansing away your make-up and impurities to find that you still leave residue on the towel, right? Those stains are a reminder that maybe our cleansing routine is not as effective as we may wish. By investing in a washcloth mitt, we can thoroughly cleanse away make-up while gently exfoliating excess dead skin off too. The magical mitt yields numerous benefits as it’s a zero-waste, washable, and reusable product. This makes it a great alternative to disposable make-up wipes and cotton wool pads. For make-up removal, washing off a face mask or exfoliating it really is a game-changer.

Biodegradable Skincare Capsules

How beautiful are these eco-friendly carbon-neutral skincare capsules?! These pre-dosed cleansers, moisturisers and skin treatments come cocooned in a completely biodegradable shell that magically melts away with hot water. Bolt Beauty have officially prioritised zero waste skincare that is also vegan and cruelty free. And to top it off, there is even a fully compostable bag option that the capsules come in.

Image Credits: https://sheerluxe.com/2020/10/23/skincare-capsules-what-they-are-how-use-them

Shampoo Bars

Solid shampoo bars give their liquid counterparts a run for their money. Not only do they last longer, but they are also more eco-friendly due to their lack of plastic and packaging. Their minimal impact on the environment means that it’s worth doing some research and testing out which shampoo bar works best for you. Check out Byrdie’s 2020 guide for the best shampoo bar for different hair types and tendencies.

The Safety Razor

How many non-recyclable disposable razors have you used over the years? I dread to think… Thankfully, the stainless steel safety razor is here to save the day. It’s appropriate for all of your shaving needs from head to toe, men and women included. Guarantee the longevity of the product by keeping it dry and away from chemical exposure. These reusable razors are plastic-free and long-lasting as the safety razor blades are indeed replaceable. When the blade becomes dull and/or rusty, replace the blade. You can store blades in a metal container for safety and recycle them at your nearest recycling facility.

composition of cosmetic bottle with pink rose petals and wooden plate
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

While the journey towards zero waste won’t happen over night, these alternatives will make everyday sustainable beauty a little easier. The purpose of these minimal and zero-waste products is to prevent filling up landfills, resulting in a more environmentally-friendly beauty regime. What are your recommended swaps towards zero waste beauty and personal hygiene?

How to be More Positive

If you’re reading this, you’re probably struggling with negative thoughts. Don’t worry, you are not alone. It can be so easy to fall into a negative mindset. The good news is that there are some simple steps we can take to feel more positive. Positive psychology is the science behind what makes us feel good on the inside. Thanks to in-depth psychological studies on human thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, we know now that there are many steps we can put into practice to enhance positivity.

Focus on the Good

In order to feel happy, it’s of pivotal importance that we focus on strengths rather than weaknesses. And, though at times this is easier said than done, it’s essential to focus on the good things no matter how insignificant they may seem. For example, imagine you can no longer attend an event you’ve been excited about, focus on the free time you’ll have to relax or watch your favourite TV show.

Embrace and Enhance Your Strengths

Identify your strengths. OK, so hopefully you can name your top three as we’ve all prepared for that interview question, right? But, believe me, you definitely have more than three strengths. Think about it carefully and write them down. The interesting thing is that your strengths may seem so ordinary to you that you are actually unaware of them. If you struggle to think of your strengths ask the people closest to you, try returning the favour too.

Once you have identified your strengths, make it your goal to strengthen them (yes, really, you can strengthen your strengths). It may seem ridiculous if you are already good at something, yet we must enhance instead of alienate our strengths. The use of our strengths is linked to higher well-being and will lead to you being your best.

black and white laptop
Photo by Prateek Katyal on Pexels.com

How Not to Fall Off Track

It seems so simple, right? So why is it that we somehow manage to fall back into the trap of pessimism? It often has something to do with a feeling of helplessness. This phenomenon takes place when we feel as if we have lost control over what happens to us, thus resulting in feeling helpless. Such thoughts commonly lead to a depressive state which, in turn, ends up feeling like a step back in our journey towards optimism. Recognise when this happens, and take control of your thoughts. Some simple breathwork can assist you in calming the mind. As you breathe in think of calm thoughts, and as you breathe out visualise any unsettling or negative emotions disappearing.

No Journey is a Straight Journey

What’s important to remember is that what we learn, we can then unlearn. Although you may have focused on the negatives earlier, that does not mean you cannot focus on the positives now. In order to shift our perspective, we must acknowledge the importance of balance. We must override negative thoughts with positive ones.

black typewriter machine typing on white printer paper
Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Values: The Plan of Action

Discover what your values are and make it your goal to ensure that your life is aligned with them. Think about your values according to the following categories: work/education, relationships, leisure, personal growth, and health. Once you have identified your values, analyse how close you are actually living according to these values. Next, identify the main obstacles that come in the way of these values and how you can overcome them.

Take note of the discrepancies and take pride in using them to build a bridge towards the kind of life you want to live. Create an action plan to be more aligned with your values. Think of this as mood board, in fact, why not get your creative juices flowing and create one to motivate you each day. After all, meaning and purpose are essentially a reflection of the presence of our values in our day-to-day lives.

self care isn t selfish signage
Photo by Madison Inouye on Pexels.com

Self-Compassion: Kindness Over Judgement

Just like we would be caring and comprehensive when a friend is stressed, anxious, or hurting, we must do the same for ourselves. Self-criticism defies love. Think about the classic moral that we all learned growing up: “treat others as you’d like to be treated.” Well, just reverse that and you’ve got the idea. Treat yourself how you would treat a loved one if they were experiencing any difficulties and self-compassion is born.

Flawlessness does not exist. We all fail, make mistakes, face challenges, struggle and that is an inherent part of being human. Instead of feeding the harsh critic, provide yourself with warmth and understanding as you recognise the issue. Recognise it, be understanding towards yourself, and think of a solution. Balance is key here.

Practice Gratitude

Yes, that old chestnut – be grateful. Cultivate gratitude to grow happiness. Write it, think it, or even say it out loud. Anytime you feel negativity washing over you, try to cancel it out with positivity. Balance is key. By making gratitude journaling part of your daily routine, you are guaranteed more optimism.

I hope you flourish with gratitude, purpose, and positive experiences that fill you with happiness and love. Focus on your strengths, your blessings and embrace the glass-half-full approach as life is to be lived to the full. Optimism is as infectious as a smile so be sure to comment below on your top tips to positivity.

“Your only limit is your mind.”

Silencing Your Inner Critic – 5 Simple Steps Towards Self-Love

We have all been held back at some point by our inner critic as its innate negativity eats away at our self-confidence and self-love. The question is: how can we silence that critical voice and achieve inner peace?

Ackowledgement

Recognise that it is just a thought. A thought is fleeting and, as they come and go, negative ones are bound to arrive at some stage. The first step is to recognise that it is a self-constructed thought and that only we are in control of our thoughts.

Name your Inner Critic

Give your inner critic a name. So, we’ve all heard of negative Nancy, right? Not only is it super catchy, but it also acts as a reminder to stop us moaning eventually because nobody likes a complainer. So why is it OK to be negative in our mind, to feed our inner critic? Let’s not give way to such a voice. Giving your inner critic a name will make it easier to recognise, thus becoming easier to silence. This technique further solidifies the fact that the inner critic is not you.

Negative Nancy who?!

Do not give the thought/your inner critic importance. The more you fret about it, the more you succumb to instilling the negativity in your mind. For example, if you find yourself thinking “I am so useless. I always mess up” listen as it comes to your consciousness, and let it go. That thought, “negativity Nancy” only grows if you let it.

Replace Negativity with Positivity

Override the negativity with positivity. The garden analogy works perfectly here: we remove weeds to stop them from stealing the sun, nutrients, and water from the plants and flowers we wish to grow. Watering the weeds would just be counterproductive. Instead of watering the weeds, we must remove them in order to let the flowers grow. The same situation exists in our minds.  Upon recognising your inner critic, that unwelcomed weed, be sure to replace it with a positive thought.

Highlight your Strengths

Invest in a self-love journal. Every time someone gives you a compliment, write it down. Every time you recognise a personal strength, jot that down too. Give examples, elaborate, big yourself up. This will act as a strong DIY weed killer in those times of need. If one day you are facing a fierce battle against negative Nancy, the self-love journal is there to lend you a helping hand with your struggles. Take a glimpse, or read through as much as it takes to silence that dreaded (but completely normal!) negativity.

“Loving yourself isn’t vanity – it’s sanity.” – Katrina Mayer

Wellness and the Weekend: Finding Balance

Many of us can relate to maintaining a healthy lifestyle Monday to Friday, right? Our routine, limited social events, and a productive mindset help us to stay on track. Yet the moment that the weekend arrives, it can be easy to slip up. Here are some tips to promote balance and avoid completely jumping off the wellness bandwagon.

Buy Healthier Alternatives

Healthy eating is all about the balance of enjoying food responsibly. Bear your food cravings in mind when you do the food shop because let’s be honest, we all get them. The key is to opt for healthier alternatives. If you are a chocolate lover, opt for dark chocolate, if you are a pizza lover, make a cauliflower-based pizza. By investing in healthier alternatives to your guilty pleasures you set yourself up for a happier, healthier gut. Do some research and find out what alternatives are available. Although, OK it’s the weekend so technically pigging out should be allowed, just in a smarter way. Liberate yourself from the guilt and sugar rush. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

Get Excited about Exercise

It’s the weekend so the last thing you want to think about is having to drag yourself to the gym when you’re just not feeling it. That’s completely fine because we all need a break and, hey, it’s the weekend. It’s all about having fun whilst not jumping off the healthy bandwagon entirely. If no form of exercise excites you yet, it’s time to get experimenting. Try out a new sport or even take a trip down memory lane and opt for a childhood classic like roller skating. Why not get the best of both worlds by getting outdoors too? For instance, going on a bike ride, hiking in the mountains, or taking a walk to watch the sunset. Embrace the activities that excite you and get you moving in the process.

vintage bicycle with basket near wall
Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

Give Yourself Some You Time

So Monday to Friday we work, we study, we run errands and we reap productivity. The weekend is the perfect time to reward yourself for all the hard work you have put in and take time to focus on yourself. Do something that makes you happy or makes you feel alive. It’s OK to say no to events to prioritise yourself. Actually, you are doing them and yourself a favour in order to replenish and feel like your best self.

Spend Time with People that Bring Out the Best of You

According to Jim RohnYou are the five people you spend the most time with.” This is the perfect reason to hang out with the people that make you feel happy and uplift you. Social interaction, when done right, triggers positivity and releases endorphins. Spending time with friends that spark joy is a win-win situation, resulting in an increase in well-being for all.

sharing cherry tomatoes
Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

Learn Something New

Who said that learning was boring? Learning doesn’t have to be tedious. In fact, when you find something that sparks your inner curiosity, learning becomes a pick-me-up. From reading a gripping book to listening to a podcast that inspires you, the more you learn, the more you keep your mind engaged. Embrace unconventional learning by watching a video on a topic you’ve always wanted to learn about, or by reading your favourite magazine.

You cannot buy your health; you must earn it through healthy living.” – Joel Fuhrman