For my first blog post I thought I would write about something accessible, universal and widely misunderstood: self-care.
I know all too well how easy it is to buy yourself a new coat, get yourself a takeaway, take a 3-hour nap and call it ‘self-care’ – let’s just say I am certainly less than qualified to giving advice on this subject! However, there are ways that you can take care of yourself which are a thousand times more simple and a thousand times more effective, so here goes..
1. Follow a plant-based diet.
Carnivores, I know what you’re thinking! But the reality is, if you’re interested in making some positive changes this one is definitely worth a shot. I could go on forever about the environmental and ethical benefits of veganism, but right now I’d like to address veganism as a form of self-care.
When I was following a plant-based diet I was the healthiest version of myself – and when I say ‘healthy’ I mean it in its purest, most genuine sense! I found that it had a positive impact on my mental health both by improving my own negative relationship with food and by giving myself a sense of pride in knowing that something as fundamental as my food habits were having a positive impact on the world. Not only that, but I found myself more energized, more awake and the moments where I found myself feeling sluggish were rare.
It is important to remember that being vegan is not about limiting yourself but about healthier choices and balance; it doesn’t mean you can’t indulge once in a while! Here is my favourite list of plant-based comfort foods to get you started!
2. Stay aware of your basic personal care habits.
We all know how to take care of ourselves in the simplest ways: eat 5 portions of fruit and veg per day, drink 8 glasses of water, stick to a regular sleeping pattern and squeeze in some light exercise.
A crime I am guilty of committing myself is knowing these things but not actually sticking to them. Once you begin to keep track of whether you are giving your body all the right things, even if it’s by doing something as simple as making a note in your phone and setting yourself small targets, you’ll find that your mind and body will become more aligned with the addition of a little simple routine.
At this point in this list you’re probably thinking that none of this is new information, but I’ll let you in on a secret: it’s because it’s true, so do yourself some favours!
That being said, as I sit here watching the 40-Year-Old Virgin, eating slightly too much pizza and drinking slightly too much wine, I can’t help but feel that maybe I should practice what I preach. But sometimes it’s okay to aim for the stars and only reach the moon, right?
3. Listen and learn from others.
The third and perhaps most important piece of advice I can offer is to observe healthy and admirable qualities in others and apply them to your own life. Have you ever met somebody who manages to be unconditionally kind without giving it a second thought? Or someone with a distinct attitude towards life which you have found refreshing? There is no better way to care for yourself than by adopting habits you find truly praiseworthy in others. Life should be taken as one big lesson, with each day an opportunity to become wiser and more sensitive to the world around you.
There are also books you can invest in (yes – by actual real-life professionals this time!) which can offer more of an insight into personal happiness. Two of my favourites and books which I believe not only define this topic but have also somewhat inspired this post are The Little Book of Hygge and The Little Book of Lykke by Meik Wiking. These are books which I cannot recommend highly enough and both provide a similar message which I will leave you with: Immerse yourself in the smaller pleasures in life – Read a book, cherish friendship and community and extend a family dinner that extra 10 minutes to make room for one more story. Most of all, be kind to yourself and others! 🙂