Does your “me” time often turn into chocolate that you feel you deserve after a long stressful day?
Believe me, you are not alone…..
A lot of busy women find that their stressful life gets in the way of their self-care practice.
The thing is when you don’t feed your emotional needs you are likely to feel irritable and resentful and this can turn into an invitation to use food to soothe your emotions.
Emotional eating can be so seductive and comforting when you feel stressed and many women fall into the trap of eating to soothe themselves when they feel sad, stressed or when experiencing uncomfortable emotions.
But eating problems aren’t really about food. They are about self-nourishing.
What are you hungry for?
When we constantly feel hungry and overeat, sometimes it’s not about the food. It’s about how you use food to self-soothe; numb yourself against the pain of living.
After all, we are all hungering for something…
- You may be hungry for balance.
- You may be hungry to do something other than work.
- You may be hungry for “self-nourishment”
You can’t pour from an empty cup – take care of yourself first.
Most of us have been conditioned to take better care of others than we do ourselves. When your life gets busy, it’s all too easy to cross yourself off your priority list entirely.
- You may feel selfish putting yourself first and taking care of your own needs when there is so much to do already.
- You may be considering it optional, something that you can make up on the weekends, or sometime in the future.
- You may also be stuck in the mindset trap of thinking that self-care is an indulgence and something that you can do later.
The fact is: you will not satisfy emotional hunger with food because emotional eating is a result of emotional triggers and unresolved issues that need addressing.
Selfcare Isn’t Just Important, It’s Crucial.
What self-care is:
How do you limit your caretaking of others and start prioritising at least some of your own needs?
- Ultimately, self-care is about understanding that your body is the one place on the planet that you have dominion over and creating self-awareness.
- Self-awareness — the ability to recognise, understand and label one’s own feelings, along with the ability to accurately self-assess — is a foundational skill for a life of well-being.
Let’s dive in and explore a few simple steps you can take to start making yourself a priority.
Step 1 – Make a commitment to yourself.
The way you care for yourself really counts, taking care of YOU is not a luxury.
Self-care also means abandoning the idea that there is an authority that knows more about what your body needs than you. (Your lack of self-care may come from the belief that you don’t know what’s best for you.)
- The way you prioritise yourself affects your health and fitness goals as well as the time that you can devote to them.
- When you are at the bottom of your priority list, it affects your eating.
- Emotional eating, including stress eating, skyrockets when you aren’t getting what you need in other areas of your life.
Step 2 – Turn down the volume of your daily life.
Turn down the volume of your daily life — by spending time alone, by escaping from media and conversations and other requests for attention — so that you can listen more acutely to your authentic inner voice.
Start with mindfulness practice:
Identify your feelings, accept the unpleasant ones and focus on your breathing so you can fight the automatic urge to reach for a snack.
- Close your eyes, take a deep breath and identify what you are feeling and where in your body.
- Listen to the signals your body is sending- stress-energy-sleep-love?
- Try and identify what you are really craving, focus on your breathing so you can fight the automatic urge to reach for a snack.
- Become aware of how you are speaking to your self – try and be gentle and compassionate to you.
Step 3 – Build your own self-care routine.
Build a self-care routine that is yours, what I mean is find your own rhythm and routine that ticks all of your boxes, not your neighbours or your best friends.
Check that it ticks the below boxes:
- Make it supportive but also fun, so that you look forward to dipping into your self-soothing bucket when a craving strike, as opposed to turning to food for therapy.
- Make it simple so it’s easy and sustainable to practice even on your busiest and most stressful days.
The next step is to write down 10 things that you find self-nourishing.
Examples: walks, walking on the beach, sunsets, massage, swimming, colouring in, singing, dancing…. you get the drift.
Now, separate these into 2 separate lists: everyday acts of self-care and monthly acts of self-care.
Step 4 – Schedule your self-care activities.
Now that you have committed yourself to self-nourishment activities, schedule a time every day to make sure you do it.
- Then schedule a time at least once a week that you do a weekly act.
- Then schedule a time for an activity you want to do monthly.
- Plan ahead and block out times the same way you plan your appointments.
And lastly, Remember you are your most important engagement!
When you take care of your emotional needs, you will be bursting with energy, feel emotionally balanced, spiritually enhanced and ready to cope even when life gives you lemons!
What does this mean to you?
Find your own self -care style, whether you prefer to walk in the rain or sit in the park or to wonder at the sunset – make it yours so that you can look forward to these activities.
Taking a break from your daily grind and doing things for you helps you refocus and taking regular breaks are the epitome of self-care.
Now I would love to hear from you…
- What are your self-care strategies?
I would love to hear your feedback, thoughts and any questions you have on this article.
Please tell me in the comments below.
The Carousel would like to thank Irene Geller for her article.