Seven days of self-care
I’m generally fairly good at looking after myself or self-care as it seems to be termed these days. I always have at the back of my mind “Put your own oxygen mask on, before helping others”. If I’m feeling OK, then I’m much more able to be there for those around me, including family, friends, clients and colleagues.
In advance of my triathlon last week, I’d already planned various things afterwards to help me to recover quickly. As the saying goes, “life is a marathon, not a sprint”, so the more we can do to help us along the way, the better. Regular self-care can also bring benefits from an Age Life Balance perspective, as there are associated physical and psychological benefits.
I share my seven days of self-care below, as well as some wider benefits of looking after ourselves.
My seven days of self-care
Day 1 – Bath
On the Sunday night, I treated myself to a simple bath. There are few things I appreciate more than lying in the bath with a good book. It symbolises not having to be or being doing anything else. The warm weather meant the water didn’t need to be too hot and I used a lovely bath bomb to release some relaxing smells. Bliss!
Day 2 – Rest
Having exerted myself on Sunday, I’d already planned to give myself a few days off exercising. With the hot weather, this has been a godsend. I’ve been out walking everyday this week to stretch my muscles and to ensure I’m still getting a minimum daily amount of activity. As the evenings have been so pleasant, I’ve had several opportunities to take evening strolls with my kids.
Day 3 – Physio
Having made it through the last weeks of training with a poorly knee (after tripping over a tree root), I decided to get this fixed for good. While I’m no longer in pain, it stiffens up when I’m inactive and my flexibility is not what it was. I booked an appointment through a private physio and was seen the next day. I now have a diagnosis, some exercises and another appointment for next week. If I’d gone the NHS route, I’d be lucky if I’d seen my GP by now.
Day 4 – Pedicure
I’d been talking about getting a pedicure for the last couple of months (since before my spring feet article). After the triathlon seemed an appropriate time to reward my dutiful feet and my lovely regular beauty therapist was up for the challenge. She gave me a very relaxing foot soak, scrub, massage and varnish to finish. I could have remained in the comfy chair for the rest of the evening, if she’d have let me…
Day 5 – Facial
I’ve been having a facial every few months since the beginning of the year. I’d originally signed up for a January offer at my local gym, but I was so impressed that I decided to make it a regular treat. After all, my skin’s not getting any younger. In addition to the benefits to my skin, I cannot describe how relaxing it is simply lying on the couch for an hour. Each time I’ve almost fallen asleep and walk out feeling relaxed and energised in equal measure. Needless to say, my skin always glows for days.
Day 6 – Massage
I have a confession to make: I’m a bit of a massage junkie. In the last few months I’ve had massages from 5 different people – all quite different in style and technique. This week’s massage was from a local therapist I’ve recently started working with. She’s very firm and very thorough and is exactly what I need to rejuvenate my back and my legs. This is certainly not the type of treatment where I fall asleep. However, I feel much looser and energised, just what I need to get started again!
Day 7 – Yoga
I try to fit in a yoga session most weeks, but alas, it hasn’t been possible this last week. This weekend my 7-year-old daughter and I did one of my yoga DVDs together. It was her first time, and one of my favourite routines. We had a lovely time stretching in the afternoon warmth, escaping from the scorching heat outside. We finished up with a lovely guided relaxation session. The great news is that she loved it and is keen to try it again soon. Maybe I’ve found a new yoga partner?!
Importance of self-care
I’ve had an amazing week of self-care. But in reality, it’s not just about having a concentrated week and then carrying on a before. Regular self-care can bring us many benefits
– Self-care tends to improve our immunity, increase positive thinking and make us less susceptible to stress, depression, anxiety and other emotional health issues
– Taking time out to care for ourselves helps remind us and others that our needs are important, too
– Feeling well cared-for leads to feelings of calm and relaxation and conveys to others that we value ourselves which contributes to long-term feelings of wellbeing
– Self- care also makes us better caretakers, people who neglect their own needs and forget to nurture themselves are at danger of deeper levels of unhappiness, low self-esteem and feelings of resentment
– Taking time regularly for self-care can actually make you a better caretaker for others
Self-care for health
I’ve been focusing on some of the more enjoyable aspects of self-care. On a more serious note – there are other definitions of self-care, including self-care for seniors. Self-care is an approach to health, which helps you to keep yourself well. It focuses on supporting you to play an active role in your own healthcare and wellbeing. It puts you at the heart of plans for your care, today and in the future.
And in many ways, this sums up exactly what Age Life Balance is trying to achieve ?
I’ve had a wonderful week. I feel truly blessed that my plan worked and I managed to schedule the various treatments for this time. It has definitely helped me to rest and recover quickly from my efforts. The sad news is that this is not a typical week. The great news is that many of these don’t have to be one-offs.
I will continue to remember to look after myself in different ways for the foreseeable future, given the importance of self-care and the long-term benefits it can bring.
Thank you for reading. For more interesting articles, visit my blog at www.agelifebalance.com to learn more.