Many people spend the majority of their time taking care of others: family, children, partner, parents or even friends. There is obviously nothing wrong with this and it is exactly as it should be. Issues arise when you are too busy to look after yourself (which can be most of the time), leaving you worn out, frazzled and neglecting your physical and mental health. By leaving yourself at the bottom of your to-do list, there is no way you will be close to being at your best to help others when needed. My suggestion this month is that you start integrating self-care into your routine, so you can start to enjoy your life a bit more and not just be a slave to everyone else. You will also be more fun to be around, and that is a win-win for all concerned.
Are you suffering from daily stress?
Whilst it is easy to recognise sources of extreme stress, there are many subtle physical and mental signs that indicate you are dealing with daily stress.
You are constantly tired and fatigued
Do you feel like you are always tired, no matter how much sleep you get or caffeine you consume?
Or perhaps you are suffering with insomnia? If fatigue is becoming a problem, it might be because of emotional stress.
Your mood is unpredictable
Are you moody, agitated, or irritable?
When your brain is handling a lot, this can cause overwhelm, panic, anxiety, and emotions that lead to moodiness and agitation.
Your anxiety is getting worse
People with chronic stress can suffer from heightened anxiety, while those already dealing with anxiety find that stress affects them more severely. It is a difficult cycle to be caught in.
You feel confused and lack focus
Stress can cause brain fog, which leads to confusion, lack of focus and poor concentration.
Takeaway message: If you recognise any of these affecting you, it is time to take a step back. Slowing down will allow you to avoid burnout, gain more clarity, help you focus on your priorities and, ultimately, figure out what is causing your stress, so you can do something about it.
Introducing some of my favourite self-care ideas into your life is one of the ways you can start reducing your daily stress levels.
1. Eat like you love yourself. Notice how different foods make you feel. What makes your body feel healthy? What satisfies and energises you? When your choices are fuelled with kindness, you naturally find a happy harmony between treats and nourishing, nutrient-dense whole foods.
2. Reduce caffeine and drink more water. Aim for two litres a day. See how vibrant and calm you feel when you are adequately hydrated.
3. Spend time in nature. Even just a few minutes can help. Go to the park, take a stroll, breathe in fresh air, walk in the grass. Nature is soul food.
4. Practice five minutes of deep-breathing or meditation every day. Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique and the Insight Timer meditation app. Sit quietly, turn your attention inwards, let go of thoughts as they come up, and focus gently on your breath.
5. Seek out the joy in life. Tell yourself “This is going to be an amazing day!” and make a point of looking for the good in every situation. If something is making you feel stressed, let it go. Remind yourself that things are only a problem if you make them one.
Christelle is a Registered Nutritionist, specialising in energy, weight loss and blood sugar management. If you are committed and ready to transform your health from September and would like to start afresh, book your Complimentary Health call now at: www.keepcalmnutrition.co.uk