Welcome to Part 2 of Self Care for Busy Women.
If you haven’t read Part 1, you can find it HERE.
Earlier today, someone posted in a Facebook group I’m in, saying how her feed in the past week had been filled with posts about self-care. There have also been a number of posts across various platforms talking about planetary factors, with 5 planets in retrograde at the same time, the full moon & the lunar eclipse and that a lot of people will be feeling the need to just slow down, not to take on too much and just assess where life’s at and where they want to go. It’s a time to forgive and move on from the past, learning from the lessons rather than getting caught up in “shoulds” and doing things the way they have always been done.
This is a great time to schedule in some more self-care so you can have the energy to move forward towards that balance and bliss we all seek.
One point that was raised on the Facebook post was that self-care comes with a large degree of privilege. Women who have great support networks or have the financial means are more able take the time to look after themselves, compared to a single mama who’s solely responsible for the care and support of herself and her children. There’s absolutely no denying that reality, and they are often the people who need self-care the most. Conversely, it’s not uncommon for partnered women to feel they have to ask someone else’s permission, sometimes begging, for time to do things for themselves, by themselves, even for something as simple as having a shower without interruptions. It is so easy to get caught up in doing all the things for others which is why we hear so many woman say they’ve lost their identity; they’ve forgotten who they wanted to be and what it is that used to make them happy, or they just can’t see any way to fit those hobbies into their lives any longer. If they do get some time for themselves, they often don’t know what to do first, or are wracked with guilt.
Whilst dreams of fame, creating or luxuriating on a tropical beach with a personal cocktail waiter/waitress at your beck and call may be temporarily put on hold, there are a few more things you can do to regain some sanity & feel more replenished.
When you are chronically stressed and/or over-worked, your adrenal glands take an absolute beating. Our bodies were not designed to cope with sustained stressors and continually high levels of cortisol will lead to adrenal exhaustion, much in the same way that high blood sugar levels will lead to insulin resistance. Chronically elevated cortisol will also affect your sex hormones, contributing to loss of libido, infertility & accelerated aging.
In Eastern health philosophies, there’s a balance of energies – warming/cooling, damp/dry, yin/yang. When supporting adrenal function, warmth is important. You want to make sure the kidney/adrenal area of your back is always covered, away from cold, damp breezes. Keep your feet warm and dress so you are comfortably warm at all times. Drink warm drinks (herbal teas, bone broth or vegetable broth are all good) and choose lightly cooked vegetables over raw foods & salad, particularly in Winter months when your body is already putting so much energy into just keeping you warm.
The other thing in Winter is to get out in the sun when possible. Keeping your torso well covered, then expose as much of your arms & face to the sun as you can to help maintain Vitamin D levels. This will help your hormonal balance, reduce the chances of getting the flu & improve your mood. If you have North-facing windows in your house, make like a cat & curl up for a while when you can. (If you live far from the equator or have problems converting vitamin D, you may benefit from a vitamin D supplement, along with magnesium that the body uses to properly utilise the vitamin D).
7) Brain-dump / Write it down
I was at a business mastermind group recently when a friend wisely said, “the brain is for creating ideas, not storing them”. Who hasn’t woken up at 3am with some marvelous idea, or laid awake for hours with thoughts & ideas abuzz, wishing their brain would STFU? One solution is to sit down and just write it ALL out. Anything that comes to mind. It does not need to make sense or follow a structure. It just needs to get out of your head. Ideally, you’ll do this with a pen and paper, as there’s something that happens in the sub-conscious when you hand-write things, but you could also type it out if preferred. Often you’ll be surprised by what you’ve written as things come out that you’re not always conscious of, but by getting those thoughts written down, you don’t have to waste brain power trying to remember all the things. The result will be less stress & better sleep, which will mean even less stress & better sleep.
Whilst on the subject of writing things down, it can be useful to spend a few minutes each night writing a to-do list for the next day, starting with the things you are least enthused about. Getting those out of the way early means your day is always going to get better 😉 Finish the day by noting three things you were grateful for that day. By combining those two things, you won’t be laying awake trying to remember everything you have to do and the last thing your subconscious will remember are the positive thoughts.
8) Calm the Farm
Another really effective way to increase that feeling of calm & wellbeing is meditation. That does not have to mean hours sitting in the lotus position, although you can certainly do that if you’re so inclined. For the average busy woman, though, 10-30 mins a day is probably far more realistic. This can be done in several ways; through concentrating on your breath only and letting other thoughts just pass on through, by listening to a guided meditation or some relaxing music or by listening to a yoga nidra recording (AKA yogic sleep, where 1 hour of practice is equivalent to 3 hours of sleep). There are some fantastic professional sound healing meditations available, or check out YouTube for a heap of free options to suit any taste.
Anytime you feel your blood starting to boil, stop whatever you’re doing & take 5 deep belly breaths. This only takes a minute and will balance your sympathetic & parasympathetic nervous system so you’re no longer in that ‘fight or flight’ mode.
Now, I know not everyone is going to class exercise as self-care, but it IS an important factor in optimising both physical & mental health. Aim for half an hour a day, remembering that can be broken up to 3 x 10min sessions if need be.
To make sure it becomes part of your routine, find something you love to do. Walking, jogging, dancing, cycling, team sport or my favourite, yoga. If you do have chronic stress issues, start with a gentle walk, some restorative yoga or tai chi. Even though exercise is beneficial, an already exhausted body can see it as an additional stressor, so launching straight into cross-fit is probably not the best way to get started. Build up to that 😉
I have met very few people in my life who don’t enjoy some form of bodywork – massage, reflexology, Bowen therapy, osteopathy, chiropractic, Bodytalk, etc. Some of these can be more difficult to fit in, especially if you don’t have someone to look after the kids for an hour or two. However, if you are able to schedule in a treatment every few weeks, it can make a massive difference to the way you feel.
In Part 1, I mentioned my health crisis a couple of years ago. As it was affecting my nervous system so significantly, I chose to visit a Chiropractor who was able to calm the sympathetic response. I continue to visit him regularly for preventative care and as each treatment only takes a few minutes, it’s something I can take my kids to. Not exactly the same as an uninterrupted hour-long massage, but the key message here is to do what you can with the time and resources you have.
There will always be responsibilities or people competing for your attention, time and energy. To use a cliché, you can’t pour from an empty cup, so it’s often more about making time rather than finding time to do the things that will fill your cup. It may be one of the 10 things I’ve suggested across the two posts, or you might have your own way that works for you. The trick is to make it a priority, a habit, not something you do as an after-thought.
Doing things that nourish your body, mind & soul will have flow-on effects to those around you. Not only will you be calmer and more able to cope with the challenges of life, you’ll be teaching others to value themselves. While I was writing this post, my 4yo did a couple of rounds of deep breathing to overcome some anxiety she was feeling and she’s now doing a yoga session – all unprompted. By showing our kids that our needs matter, they will grow up knowing that their needs matter. It’s win-win!
Comment below with your favourite way to fill your cup and share this post with others who may need a reminder that they matter, too.
Unity Wellness provides health-related information to assist people in making their own choices. While we have exercised due care to ensure the accuracy of the information on this site, it is not intended to be used as medical advice and it is not intended to be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, nor should it be used for therapeutic purposes or as a substitute for your own health professional’s advice. Unity Wellness does not accept any liability for any injury, loss or damage incurred by use of or reliance on the information provided on this website.
This post/site may contain Affliate links or links to my Independent Advocate store. By clicking these links, you pay no more for the products/services, but I will receive a commission on purchases to keep this site running & support my family (thank you!). I will never promote any products or services that I would not be happy to use myself.
This website is owned and operated by an independent InnerOrigin Advocate and is not endorsed by InnerOrigin Pty Ltd or InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their respective associated companies. Any opinions expressed on this website are made by, and are the responsibility of, the individual Advocate and should not be construed as a representation of the opinions of InnerOrigin Pty Ltd, InnerOrigin Australia Pty Ltd or any of their associated companies.