When you hear the words self-care, you might think of long baths, face masks and perhaps a spot of reading on a Sunday afternoon. Whilst these are wonderful examples, self-care is so much more, and it doesn’t have to be a great effort or hugely expensive.
You might be put off self-care thinking of your busy schedule, however self-care can become part of your daily routine by welcoming a few small adjustments, and the benefits are beyond fruitful. Let’s take a look at how nutrition plays a part in self-care and well-being.
What is self-care?
Self-care is simply doing what you need, rather than what you feel you should be doing. It’s about getting to know what your own body needs to prosper and looking after yourself in a way that you’re comfortable with, and can sustain. It covers many aspects of looking after yourself: your physical body, your mental health and your emotional well-being, and nutrition plays a part in all of these core functions.
You self-care can change on a daily basis, depending on how you feel, but it is generally built on the ideals that are important to you. That said, it’s important to check in with yourself regularly to understand exactly what it is that you need. You are unique and your self-care routine will reflect that.
So it’s important to ask yourself, what do I need? And answer honestly.
Self-care isn't about being selfish, it means you’re giving your mind and body nourishment, protecting your energy and fuelling yourself in a healthy way.
What does self-care look like?
When it comes to nutrition and well-being, there is a plethora of information on what is right and wrong for your body. In reality, it comes down to what works for you.
Nutrition can have a huge effect on how you feel, physically and mentally, how you sleep and your appearance - relating to skin, hair, weight and intolerances - so if you’re not sure where to start with self-care, here are a few examples you could try:
- Invest in nutritious, brain-boosting breakfasts every morning to fuel your day.
- Make time to do a weekly shop so you’re not rushing throughout the week.
- Find balance in your eating habits. It’s ok to eat the chocolate bar if you fancy it.
- Eat dinner every night at the table, rather than in front of the television.
- Invest in your sleep routine. If you struggle with sleep, try and introduce foods that are high in melatonin to encourage a healthy sleep pattern.
- Find an enjoyable exercise routine that keeps you motivated and energised.
- Spend time once a week in nature; a long walk or a bike ride.
- Plan for relaxation time. Perhaps a dedicated evening or day every week to rest and recharge.
- Talk about how you are feeling with a friend, family member or professional.
Diet and exercise are two things we can control, however, and they are key to our well-being. An ever-growing body of research shows just how important they are for our mental health, as well as our physical health.
- Mental health practitioner and nutritional therapist Rebekeh Esdale.
How does self-care support you?
If you’ve found us, you’ll already have an interest in living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. You might want to make some changes to your diet, be looking for support for a diagnosed medical condition such as Coeliac disease or you might be looking to up your performance in the sporting world. By simply being here, you're already extending your self-care practice, and investing in personal development. You’re giving yourself the chance to grow, learn and develop.
A balanced lifestyle when it comes to food, can be key in feeling strong, resilient and happy. As studies suggesting your gut health plays a huge part in your mood regulation, giving some (not all) attention to how and what you eat can be a highly beneficial aspect to your self-care routine, as it can effect so many functions in your body.
Working with a nutrition professional can help you to make healthy changes that you may have been otherwise avoiding because they seem daunting or unrealistic. Nutrition is one part of self-care, but with some additional support and knowledge, small changes can add up to big achievements.
If you’re interested in reading further about the different aspects of self-care, take a look at the following resources to get you started:
Happiful’s I am. I have podcast resources