The Importance of Self-Care

The Importance of Self-Care

Over the past week I’ve been suffering from a sinus cold. It’s been an unpleasant flashback to just over a year ago when I ended up in an autoimmune crisis from too much stress, not enough sleep, poor nutrition and, ultimately, a severe lack of self-care. I’ve been trying to recover from this ever since with a few setbacks. After my move to Vancouver at the end of February 2017 I’ve had 2 colds and 1 flu, which, in the past, was almost unheard of for me. So, I’ve been taking stock, trying to figure out why this is happening and what I have yet to learn. This is what I’ve discovered:

Like many of you, I don’t invest in enough time for self-care, which equates to a lack of love of self. By self-care, and love of self, I mean making sure to love yourself and take care of your Self, the way you take care of everyone else around you (you know you put yourself last…it’s okay to admit it). This involves making sure your nutrition and food intake is on point, getting enough exercise, fresh air and sunshine, turning off the noise of the outside world, and making time to sit, listen, and just be with your Self. No distractions. No TV. No music. No conversations.

We live in a busy world where being busy is what is valued. We’re told that we need to fill our time with activities: social events, work, the gym, and so on. After all, idle hands are the devil’s playground. But what’s the price we pay for moving too fast, not taking the time to breath, and avoiding evaluating if we’re even doing things that we’ve actively chosen because they fill us with joy? In my personal, and professional, experience I’ve seen the end results of poor health and feeling unfulfilled in life. And who wants to live a life like that? With that said, here’s a few suggestions to create some peace in your chaotic life, and breathe some new vitality into your being:

Start your day in silence: instead of getting up at the last minute and rushing to get out of the house, get up an hour early to do something quiet. Read. Meditate. Do yoga. These are easy, gentle ways to wake up the mind and body, as well as set your intentions for the day ahead.

Ensure you are eating properly: excellent nutrition feeds the mind and body. Research is now showing your gut is your first brain. The food you put into your body affects your mood and your ability to think and focus clearly. Eating clean, non-inflammatory foods throughout the day, as well as drinking plenty of water, will help to fuel your body and mind for anything your day throws at you. Quality nutrition will provide you with the nutrients your body needs to function at its best.

Exercise: this is simple. Move your body. You are not a rock. You are meant to move. So, get moving! Hike. Run. Bike. Swim. Dance!

Sleep: adequate sleep is essential for your body to reset itself on every level. Turn off the TV, computer and your phone 90 minutes before bed, as well as dim the lights. Your body needs darkness to produce melatonin, allowing you to fall, and stay, asleep.

Breathe: deep breathing is essential. Not only does deep breathing provide much needed oxygen for your body to perform its natural physiological functions, it also improves digestion, eliminates toxins, and helps you relax.

Get your own healthcare team: healthcare providers of all types can help you manage the stresses of everyday life, as well as your health. Having a go-to Naturopathic Doctor, Osteopathic Practitioner, Massage Therapist and Registered Acupuncturist will help you ensure your body, mind, and spirit are all in tip-top shape. Know when you need help from these professionals to get you back on the health track.
Now that you have a few tips to get you started, take action! Be the change you wish to see in the world. No one else can do this for you. And always remember:

You, yourself, as much as anybody
in the entire Universe,
deserve your love and affection
—Buddha

Candace Kakowchyk, D.O.M.P., D.Sc.O