Updated: Feb 5
Has life got you constantly feeling tired? Stressed? Rundown? Do you find yourself looking forward to unwinding during the evening, only to have racing thoughts or worry as you internally prepare for the next day? Perhaps all of the expectations of your daily life have taken over; leaving you feeling like you’re running on empty going from one thing to the next without much thought.
It’s time to talk about essential self-care.
You may ask, what is self-care? What is it really and truly all about? How can we use it in our daily lives to bring more peace and joy; promoting overall health and wellbeing in our busy lives?
Self-care can look different for everyone, but when it comes down to it, the fundamental principle is about prioritizing time spent in the present moment to focus on your physical, mental, spiritual, and intellectual wellbeing. We live in a very high-stress society, so it’s important to make time to care for our physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Taking a moment away from all the societal pressures and turning inward for some peace and quiet can be extremely beneficial. Life is meant to be enjoyed and we can experience greater joy in life when we include practices daily that are relaxing, calming, or nourishing for the soul.
Now I know some of you may be thinking to yourself, who has time for that? I’ve got children to get ready for school, lunches to pack, laundry to wash, dry, and fold; I’ve got after-school programs, a house that doesn’t clean itself and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. I’m here to assure you, self-care doesn’t need to be complicated and it shouldn’t be a burden, but it should be a priority.
Prioritizing self-care doesn’t make you selfish – self-care is the means by which you take care of yourself so you can be present and feel accomplished each day. It allows you the energy to do your jobs well whether you are career orientated or busy taking care of family and loved ones; self-care lays the foundation for a healthy and happy life. It’s been proven to boost physical health, improve emotional wellbeing, improve your relationship as a caregiver, and provide a much-needed break from the daily stresses of life.
I’ve outlined 5 simple daily self-care habits to begin implementing today to help you on your journey towards healthy hormones and optimal well-being:
1. Drink Plenty of Water
Start with one of the simplest, most important self-care tips to keep you hydrated and energized throughout your day. Considering our bodies are made up of approximately 55% water, it probably comes as no surprise that drinking enough water is essential for good health! Consuming enough water throughout the day can help reduce symptoms of fatigue and brain fog, prevent constipation and improve absorption and detoxification of the gastrointestinal tract by increasing excretion of wastes through urine and sweat. Drinking water can help boost the metabolism, break down fat cells and improve the rate at which your body burns fat. It is essential to feel healthy and supports the organs to function optimally. Keep a bottle of water with you at your desk, at home, or on the go. Aim to drink about half your weight in ounces of water each day.
2. Nutrient Dense Foods
Keep meals simple with a focus on whole food nutrients. Eating regular meals not only keeps blood glucose levels in check but also plays an important role in hormonal balance especially since women’s hormone levels fluctuate so regularly due to many internal and external factors. Need some ideas on where to start with this grab this free guide and 3-day meal plan loaded with hormone-friendly meals and recipes. Proteins play an important role in hormone production but are also beneficial in keeping the hunger hormone (ghrelin) in balance. Include lots of healthy fats which can help reduce inflammation throughout the body and reduce levels of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Nuts and seeds such as flaxseed, pumpkin, sunflower, and sesame seeds are rich in lignans which are extremely beneficial to regulating estrogen levels in the body. Aim to consume a variety of dark leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables such as kale, spinach, collards, cabbage, arugula, swiss chards, and broccoli which are high in magnesium, vitamin K, B vitamins, and many other beneficial nutrients. If you’re struggling with cravings for sugar, increase your consumption of antioxidant-rich berries such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries which are great sources of vitamin C!
3. Daily Movement
It’s true – getting fresh air and daily movement is essential to good health. Regular exercise not only strengthens maintains our physical bodies, but strongly influences hormone regulation and is known to improve insulin sensitivity, the hormone responsible for cellular uptake of sugar and amino acids from the bloodstream; which is then used for energy and maintaining muscle. If there’s anything I’ve learned, imperfect action is better than perfect inaction, so let go of the expectation you have to work out at the gym 5 days a week or run 5KM. Start small by including multiple micro-breaks from your daily chores to complete a few squats, lunges, jumping jacks, and crunches; try out a 10-minute aerobic workout video online, or head outside for a brisk walk and some fresh air with a friend. You’ll not only be doing your hormones a favor, but will reap the many benefits of more physical strength, more energy, clearer skin, and an improved mood throughout your week.
4. Practice Mindfulness
This should be a priority, whether scheduled in or practiced throughout our busy lives to help slow time down and come back to the present moment. You deserve it, so whenever you feel overwhelmed, frustrated, fearful, or even angry; take a moment and enjoy a few deep calming breaths wherever you are. Check-in with your senses as you enjoy the sweet aroma of those roses (you know those ones you always notice while walking the children to school), or shut your eyes and listen to the sweet songs of the birds, the creek babbling, or the wind rustling in the trees. If time permits, I highly encourage you to schedule in 15 minutes a day, perhaps into your morning or evening routine, to practice some yoga, meditation, journaling, breathwork, or EFT tapping. These practices all have their unique benefits but at the end of the day it really just comes down to being still and checking in with the body, mind, and spirit.
5. Prioritize Sleep
Setting a regular sleep schedule and improving bedtime habits can significantly improve energy levels, mental sharpness, performance, emotional well-being and greatly impacts immune function. Consistency is our body’s best friend, so be kind to yourself and prioritize getting 7-8 hours of sleep nightly. Always remember tomorrow is a new day and you can always knock a few more things off your list then, but until then, rest easy knowing you deserve it.
Now, remember, everyone’s health journey is unique and it’s all about finding the right tools and routines to help you re-establish balance, so be patient with yourself and trust the process. You don’t have to commit to a 30-minute meditation, working out 5+ times a week, or eating clean 100% of the time. Start small and build, self-care is not an all-or-nothing kind of deal, so begin by utilizing any spare time you do have to do something kind for yourself.
Looking for more tips to support healthy hormones? Grab my FREE Happy Hormone Guide and I'll share 6 steps that you can implement right now to support your hormones naturally and increase your energy + a 3-day meal plan.