When you think of Self-Care, what is the first image that comes to mind? Is it a vacation? A massage? Time with people you love? These are wonderful things.

Self-care? Maybe later. 

Now, once you visualize these things, how quickly do you take action to make your day dreams happen? Or do feelings of fatigue and procrastination immediately derail your plans? If you can relate, then it’s likely that you are lacking in one or more of three fundamentals of Self-Care.

The 3 fundamentals of Self-Care are Sleep, Nutrition and Movement.

Catch some zzzzs

Sleep is important. When you sleep your body heals, recovers and integrates the information that you learned during the day.  Lack of sleep is a primary cause for reduced brain function. This manifests as poor short-term memory, brain fog, mood changes, anxiety, depression and reduced motivation.  When your brain is not functioning optimally, then finding the motivation to make healthy decisions is hard to find, in addition to being overwhelming.  Transformation does not happen with a sleepy brain.

Don’t skip a meal

Nutrition is important in order to feed your body’s system with the essential nutrients and minerals to survive and perform optimally. Skipping meals or fuelling your body with unhealthy options in the short, or long term can have negative effects on your metabolic rate, energy levels, body composition and stress levels.  Transformation does not happen with a nutrient deficient diet.

But I walked to my car.

There is movement, and then there is moving well.  Moving well means you’ve moved for at least 20 minutes continuously.  This is enough time to get out of your head and into your body.  Movement, no matter the method releases endorphins which are the “feel good hormones”. Healthy movement is the antidote to mobilizing fear, stimulating creative flow, improving physical strength, flexibility, brain function and more. I think that’s called transformation!

Need a vacation?

The key to understand here, is that when you are sleep-deprived, hungry and sedentary you are STRESSED. Sleep, food and movement are basic metrics to keep the body happy. If you are missing any of these daily, then the stress response is automatically triggered.  Chronic stress leads to the development of chronic illness and morbidities like high blood pressure, obesity, Type II diabetes, Thyroid dysfunction etc.

Hijack Your Stress Response

The secret to Self-Care then is making sure that your body isn’t stressed by taking inventory of the three fundamentals. Of course, there are many other triggers of stress that exist.  Even during other stressful events, your resilience to these factors will be highly dependent on the quality of sleep, food and movement that you’ve committed to at any moment in time.

Perspective

Self-Care doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be expensive.

Simply ask yourself three questions:

  1. Did I sleep well?
  2. Did I eat well?
  3. Did I move well?

Did you?

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It’s often during healing that self-doubt creeps in, because on the other side of healing is great power.  An injury or sickness is like an initiation or call to action.  What is required of you to make a change? What actionable steps do you need to commit to in order to change your current trajectory for the better?

When it comes to positive change, most people wish they were stronger, leaner, resilient etc. Yet, most people are happy to continue with their status quo.  This complacency is so common because it’s easier.  The truth is this:  It is very uncomfortable to make changes in the body. The process is gradual and the chance of quitting is high.

Success is highly dependent on how accountable you are to make it happen.

In my practice, I give my patients the tools to discover how they can layer in regular self-care to support their healing.  I even prescribe personalized exercise videos they can access via the app Physitrack on their smart devices.  Despite this, compliance is not always stellar.

Success in healing lies in how badly you really want it and how much you believe that you deserve it.

This is perhaps why the self-care, self-love and self-development industry is quite lucrative. Many of us will research, but few of us will implement. Think of the ways you avoid action to make a positive change in your life.  I know that I often skip going to the gym, don’t always take my vitamins, sometimes skip out on brushing my teeth after putting my kids to sleep….the list goes on and I accept the consequences.

This year however, I am taking the reigns on my accountability and making small actionable steps achievable to improve my sleep, my brain power, my creative drive, my strength and flexibility so that I can be of service to my family and to the world.

So realize this: healing is messy. It’s a stop and go journey. There will be successes and there will be relapses. It is after all, part of being human.  So as you continue on this messy journey of healing, just know that on the other side of it is a great story that you will one day be proud of sharing.

I can’t wait to hear it.

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