I once read a post where someone said something along the lines of ‘Selfcare isn’t all about salt baths and face masks’ and I couldn’t agree more. (I couldn’t find the exact post to link back to).
I’ve been working hard to achieve most of the wellness goals I set in January and I feel it’s helped me get a better understanding of myself, as well as look after myself better than I have in the past.
The bulk of my selfcare practices aren’t all sugar scrubs and dry brush exfoliating. In fact, it’s recognising and doing something about my triggers.
To me, a trigger is a habit, action or thing I do that doesn’t serve me in a positive way.
I’ve been quite familiar with some of my triggers for a long time, but I rarely did anything about them. In this post I discuss how I’ve changed this.
Overeating and not eating nutritious food
I’ve decided to put this first as it forms the basis of most of my wellness goals. I can get away with overeating once a day, but if I do it a few times in one day, there’s a high chance I will feel ill.
If I overeat a few days in a row, chances are I’ll end up wasting a weekend in bed because I feel so sick.
I also feel ill when I don’t eat real food the majority of the time. To me, real food is meals or snacks prepared from scratch and made using fresh and natural ingredients.
Furthermore, I find it really hard to get a good night’s sleep when my gut is playing up. If I’ve eaten particularly bad over a few days, I can often experience a whole week of poor sleep. As you can imagine, this affects my concentration levels at work and can make me quite cranky.
My new approach to eating and meal prep
I plan my junk
I don’t avoid junk food, but I’m just a lot wiser about when I consume it. I’ve discovered that if I eat healthy at work and moderately healthy on weeknights, then I get away with eating quite a lot of junk on the weekend. More on that in the next point.
I’m aware of how much exercise I do
I work a desk job Monday to Friday so I don’t move much. When daylight saving ends, I barely move on weeknights. This is why it’s important for me to eat clean at work.
The weekends are a different story. I move a lot. I clean, garden, walk around the shops, do the washing, hang out clothes, fold and pack away the clothes etc. I can definitely get away with eating more junk on the weekend because I’m expending so much energy.
Other triggers I’ve identified
Too much caffeine
I used to rely on drinking too much caffeine to ‘perk me up’. A lot of the time I’d drink it when I didn’t need to. Caffeine can make me really hyper, too much will disrupt my sleep and it can make me cranky.
I decided to try to go a few days a week where I drink only one cup of coffee or a soft drink like No Sugar Coke. I’ve been doing this for a few months now and have noticed a big difference in my quality of sleep and my concentration.
Low on iron
Like many women, I have to be mindful of my iron levels. If I don’t get enough, I feel so tired and don’t have energy to do anything. I also find it hard to get out of bed. I haven’t felt this too much this year because I’ve been eating better.
The absence of a routine
I’ve had two situations this year where I’ve realised not being in a routine affects my wellness goals: my honeymoon and a holiday in Fiji.
I generally eat my predominately healthy food around the same time at work. Whereas on holidays, I eat a lot because I’m not quite sure when my next meal will be because I have activities planned for that day. I also snack a lot more on sugar and chips. Before I know it, I just can’t stop eating these snacks because hey, ‘I’m on holiday!’.
Usually I end up feeling quite sick towards the end of my trip and when I get back to Sydney, it takes me a few weeks to feel healthy again. The fact that it takes this long highlights how sensitive my gut is.
Yoga helps with my foot injury and metabolism! I also notice that my ‘desk neck’ isn’t as bad when I do it regularly.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that if I use a foam roller for just 1-2 minutes a day to stretch my upper back, I’m in a lot less pain. Same goes for stretching my neck at my desk a few times a day.
Other things I’m doing
Weight on opinions
I used to value the opinion of others too much. I think getting older and having more life experiences has drastically reduced that.
I am a lot better at identifying if comments don’t align with my true-self. For example, I have some people in my life who occasionally tell me that I’m too thin and that I need to eat more.
Before I would ramble and explain that I only eat what I need and I limit my junk food intake because of my gut problems. These days I don’t bother as much.
I remind myself that I’ve figured out what works for me and if I followed their advice, then I would’ve wasted more weekends than I already have in bed from self-inflicted gut problems.
Some of my friends made fun of me when I told them I’d started meditating. They had the vision of a person sitting cross legged saying ‘Ommm’ and wouldn’t listen to me when I said it’s not like that. I decided to ignore them and continue. Almost three years on, I most certainly think it’s rewired my neural networks and changed how I deal with stressful situations, as well as increased my concentration. Imagine if I had listened to them?
I’ve also realised that a lot of people who comment on my life have their own health problems. I remind myself that they should be worrying about their own life instead of commenting on mine, and at least I’m doing something about my gut problems.
I don’t let others make me feel bad because they’re not bothered
Also, I try not to feel ‘bad’ or ‘down’ because there are people who are more bothered than me, or achieving things I’m not. Everyone’s different and we all have different priorities that we want to focus our time and energy on.
I don’t look at things at face value
Once upon a time I would ‘lament’ at what I didn’t have or say someone else is ‘So perfect’ because they have A, B, C and D.
I’ve noticed focusing on things at ‘face value’ can lead you to compare your life to others, however there are so many reasons at play as to why someone is in a certain situation.
A very basic example is that an old school friend who’s always sharing a photo of themselves in a different country may be funding their trips on credit, and will have to deal with the stress of a credit card hangover later.
Anyhow, the point of the above is that there’s no point expending energy on wondering how someone can be in a certain situation.
I don’t compare myself to others as much
There’s a famous saying: Comparison is the thief of joy.
If you focus too much on what you don’t have, you won’t appreciate what you do have! Like I said, we’re all different and naturally, we’re going to have different experiences that make us who we are. Also, chances are many people could be lusting after your life (when they shouldn’t!).
Final words…for now
I’m not perfect. As supermodel Molly Sims says, perfection is a unicorn. I have days and periods where I revert back to old habits. But I’m a lot better at recognising I need to get back on track.
I will share more ‘physical’ selfcare practices I engage in (e.g. dry brush exfoliating) in another post, so stay tuned for that!
I’d love to know if there are any selfcare habits you’ve created to take better care of yourself?