SELF CARE – WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?

SELF CARE - WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO YOU?

SELF CARE

What does self care mean to you?

Self care means – taking care of your personal hygiene, eating well, getting enough sleep, getting some exercise, making time for social activities and paying attention to your thoughts and feelings

A women’s life can get busy and it can be easy to stop focusing on your health and wellbeing because of that. 

Women are nurturers by nature and everyone turns to us for care, love attention, advice, affection etc. 

Do you find that you don’t seem to have enough time to focus on you and your needs because you are so busy focusing on other people’s needs and wants?

Sometimes it can feel overwhelming, especially if you have a family member that is ill or you are going through a life crisis such as divorce or separation.  Maybe your children are going through a hard time.  A lot of women may have their grown up children come to live back with them because something has happened in their life.

It’s time to take a step back and see where you can change your priorities so that you can free up more time for your self care.  What is your day to day life like at the moment and how can you change that to free up more time for you. 

Self care is important because if you are not looking after your health and wellbeing, you will be no good to anybody else.

“Put your mask on first before helping others”

When you are giving yourself more self care, you will feel happier about yourself and a happier you equals a happier life and outlook on life.  This will benefit your family and friends because they will pick up on you being a happier person to be around. 

Here are a few tips to help bring more self care into your life:

Buy a journal or planner and a nice pen and get everything out on paper.  This is a great way to offload everything in your head and begin to plan out how you can switch and change up your life to bring in more self care.

Are your family helping you around the house to free up more time for you?  If not, have a meeting with family to work out a schedule and let them know that they have to help around the house too and that you need more free time.  They have to take some responsibility for clearing the plates after dinner, washing the dishes, tidying up and helping with cooking and food shopping.  They don’t get a free ride, they live in the house too and need to be taking some responsibility of how a house runs, there is no magic fairy that does the cleaning and the washing! 

Have a schedule every week and put it on display for everyone to see what their job is and also what everyone is doing every day socially and put down your time out to exercise and do things you love to do.

Get more in touch with your spiritual side.  What are the things you are passionate about and that light you up?  Pay more attention to grounding and being in the present and stop your racing mind thinking about the next thing you need to be doing or putting too much focus on the next day or the next week.  When you slow down and take in the day you will also be paying more attention to how you are feeling today and start to pay more attention to what your body needs and wants.  When you pay more attention to what your body is telling you, you can focus on better health and wellbeing.  Have you been ignoring the signs to eat better, drink more water or get more sleep?

When was the last time you stopped to pay attention to your surroundings, the smells, nature, your house, your family etc? 

When you can be more fully present in your day, you will start to notice more of these things so you can stop to take it all in.  What are the smells around you, is your house as tidy as you would like, looking at the flowers, looking at the trees and the colours all around you.  This can really make a difference in reducing stress and lifting your mood. 

Get outside in nature especially away from road noise.  Be among the trees and the birds singing.  Look at all the beauty of nature.  

Here is a link to the website called chipperbirds.com.  They have written a blog about how birdsong can help with relaxing, stress and anxiety.  I love birds and bird song, do you?  

Essential oils can help to calm you and relax you.  Young Living Essential Oils are the purest and Grade A therapeutic oils.  Your sense of smell is the most powerful of the senses and can trigger memories.  I love lavender, which is a multi use oil and can help to transport happy hormones into the brain.  Bergamot is another good oil to enhance mood and uplift you.  There are so many different oils to choose from, these are just a few that I have mentioned here. 

Drink some green tea to help uplift your energy.  It contains polyphenols to help boost your energy. 

Look at ways to change your diet to help you feel healthier and have more energy.  Start small even if it is just drinking more water throughout the day.  Start to swap out some things in your cupboard for healthier versions. 

What is your relationship with food, is food feeding your emotions and you are reaching for unhealthy options?  Journal about your relationship with food and do your own research into how your eating habits are impacting your life.  If you are emotional eating, this will really help you to find your why.  I am not talking about denying yourself foods that you like, it is just so you can set boundaries around food and to heal your emotions so that you are better equipped to have more self control around food and to let go of the power that food has on you.  Take your time and be kind to yourself.  Take a few small steps every day and build on the changes. 

Book in some exercise every week and stick to a schedule.  Challenge yourself and set some goals to keep you motivated.  Don’t compare yourself to others, you are you and women are all shapes and sizes, there is no one size to fit all.  You are unique in your own special way.  You will feel so much better with yourself and have more confidence.  Think about how good your joints will feel, how clear your mind will be and be able to maintain your weight much more effectively.  Build on muscle tone.  You don’t have to have a “six pack” or have bulging muscles to have muscle tone and strength.  Keep focused on your consistency and enjoy the process. 

Do some stretching, yoga or pilates.  These type of exercise are very beneficial to help with balance and strength.  Sometimes we forget to stretch and this is so important to keep your ligaments and your muscles healthy.  If you work at a computer every day, doing some simple neck and shoulder stretches during the day can help with stiffness. 

When was the last time you treated yourself?  It doesn’t have to be expensive, it could be a new book or reading a book, getting outside in nature, going for a walk.  A treat doesn’t have to include money, do anything that makes you happy and helps you relax. 

Choose your thoughts wisely.  Are you self sabotaging with your thoughts?  This can leave you feeling drained, sad with a lack of motivation and have an impact on everyone around you.  You can also be betraying your own self worth. 

How are you feeling?  Don’t forget to pick up on your feelings and don’t ignore your feelings.  They are telling you something.  Ask yourself some questions around what you are feeling.  Are you tired, lonely, anxious, fatigued, unhappy etc. 

You could set yourself a morning ritual so that you can set the tone for the day and make the most out of your day.  Here are a few things you could include in your daily ritual.

Check in with yourself and give yourself some love.

Think of 3 things to be grateful for today.

Say an affirmation such as “I am pain free and totally in sync with life”.

Here are a few more tips from the Tiny Buddha website for the body, mind and soul:

TINY BUDDHA

Here is a TedX talk from Andy Puddicombe about mindfulness.

ANDY PUDDICOMBE

Here are 15 inspiring quotes from the Relax Like A Boss website to inspire you 

RELAX LIKE A BOSS

Download my Self Care Tracker for more help to make changes HERE

IS GLUTEN FREE AND WHEAT FREE THE SAME?

IS GLUTEN FREE AND WHEAT FREE THE SAME?

A gluten free and wheat free diet is being talked about more and more right now.

A lot of women are finding that they are more gluten and wheat sensitive and experiencing some digestive discomfort when eating wheat or gluten.

The reason for this is because hormone levels are going up and down and it affects digestion, stomach acid and bile flow.  This is because the body is under a bit of stress trying to keep up with hormone levels changing. 

Do you know if gluten and wheat free are the same?

Are you a bit confused about what gluten or wheat free means?

I am going to explain the difference between the two so it is a bit easier for you to understand. 

Are you struggling with some gluten intolerance because it is causing you some digestion discomfort?  You will probably want to buy products that are gluten free.

But what about wheat?  If you buy products that say “wheat free” they are not necessarily free from gluten as well.  Also, if you buy gluten free products, it does not mean they are wheat free. 

Gluten can also be found in other grains, not just wheat, such as barley, rye and spelt so you need to avoid all foods containing these. 

 

If you have a wheat allergy, this means that you are allergic to wheat and all the wheat proteins such as albumin, globulin, gliadin and gluten.  If you eat foods containing wheat, it will trigger a reaction in your body and you have to be careful when buying products to make sure they are manufactured in a wheat free factory so there is no cross contamination.  Also if you eat out in a restaurant, you have to ask the restaurant how they prepare their food and if they use a separate area and separate utensils, cookware etc, to prepare wheat free meals. 

If you are gluten intolerant, this means that your body will react to any food you eat containing gluten.  This is often the case with people with digestive diseases such as celiac, colitis or crohns. 

If you are allergic to the protein in wheat, you can buy products that are wheat free.

If you want to avoid gluten, choose gluten free, not just wheat free. 

Here are a few food items to look out for in the supermarket containing wheat and gluten (there may be more):-

Most baked items such as biscuits, cakes, bread, cupcakes, bread and breadcrumbs

Breakfast cereals

Health Bars

Couscous

Spelt

Rye

Barley

Packets of dry pasta or fresh from the fridge

Beer

Hydrolyzed vegetable protein

Bottled or packet sauces

Dips

Ketchups

A lot of processed meat

Dairy products

Gravy mixes

Packet sauces

Stock cubes

You also need to look out for toiletries that may contain what too. 

SOURCES OF GLUTEN ARE:-

Wheat

Rye

Barley

Oats – They don’t contain gluten, but they can be cross contaminated when manufactured in a factory that is not wheat free so be careful that it states on the packet that they are in fact gluten free.

There is a lot of food selections available now that are wheat and gluten free but not all of these foods are good to eat.  So, just by following a wheat and gluten free diet may not be healthy at all, so you need to be careful what you buy! 

If wheat and gluten free alternatives to breads, wraps, crackers etc, contain rice or corn flour, then these are not healthy to buy and contain cheap flours that can cause inflammation in the body which you want to avoid.  These products can also contain bad fats and artificial ingredients.  So don’t buy them!

You want to look out for good quality flour such as ground almonds, coconut flour, buckwheat flour, for example.  These may be more expensive to buy but are much better quality products and will also contain healthy fat such as coconut oil.  You can always cook your own too, which would be much better and healthier all round. 

A wheat and gluten free alternative grain would be quinoa or buckwheat. 

If you are only allergic to wheat, then it will be less restrictive but I would recommend everyone avoid all wheat containing foods as they can cause a lot of digestion problems long term in your body, which can lead to inflammation and inflammatory diseases.  It could also be stopping you from losing fat around your body.

RECIPES

Here are some recipes you can make that are gluten and wheat free.

CHAI TEA FRUIT LOAF

This is a lovely fruit bread from the One Green Planet website

SERVES 20 SLICES

INGREDIENTS

240ml/1 cup of cold chai tea

330g/1 2/3 cups dried fruit

210g/1 3/4 cups buckwheat flour

2 chia eggs (1 tbsp ground seed mixed with 3 tbsp water)

6 tablespoons coconut sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon allspice

INSTRUCTIONS

Soak the dried fruit in the cold tea for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.

In a bowl mix together the buckwheat flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice

Add the “eggs” and mix until combined.  Add the dried fruit mixture and then transfer to a prepared loaf tin.  Bake in a 350°F/175C for 40-50 minutes until golden brown.

Allow to cool slightly before removing from the tin

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-recipe/chai-tea-fruit-loaf

CHOCOLATE CAKE USING SWEET POTATO

This recipe uses some starch from sweet potatoes, carrots or beetroot.  I can highly recommend the beetroot to make this recipe.  The recipe is from Bettinas Kitchen website. 

INGREDIENTS

2 big sweet potatoes OR 2 big carrots or 2-3 Beetroots (pre boiled or steamed until very soft)

(Save some boiling liquid for blending)

12 dates (pre soaked)

1 tsp. of baking powder

1 cup (120 grams) of buckwheat flour

1/2 cup (60 grams) of almond flour

4-5 tbs. of cacao powder.

1/2 cup (120 grams) of Raw honey or maple syrup

Vanilla pod

Pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat your oven on 180°C.  Put pre-boiled vegetables and the rest of the ingredients in a blender and mix well together.  If you have trouble blending add some of the veggie liquid to get a thick smooth cake batter.  If you are using a cake tin then pre grease with some coconut oil or if you are using a silicone mould that usually won’t be needed.   Spread evenly and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until you get a hard outer shell but inside is still nice and moist.  Let cake cool when it is done.  Top with some chocolate cream or eat as it is. 

https://www.bettinaskitchen.com/recipe/paulines-chocolate-cake

FROSTING

This frosting is from the Happy Pear website

INGREDIENTS

200g dark chocolate pellets

150ml boiling water

handful ice + water in other bowl

INSTRUCTIONS

Make up the frosting by pouring boiling water into a bowl with the chocolate pieces.  Mix until the chocolate has melted into the water.  Put some ice and some cold water into another bowl and place the bowl with the chocolate mixture on top and whisk until you get a stiff cream as it cools down with the ice underneath the bowl.  Frost the cake when it is cool.  Grate some more chocolate over the top.

GINGER LEMON SHORTBREAD

This is a great alternative recipe for a healthy shortbread biscuit from The Foodie Teen website.

MAKES 12 BISCUITS

INGREDIENTS

120g/1 cup ground almonds

60g/1/2 cup arrowroot starch

30g/1/4 cup buckwheat flour

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp salt

100g/1/3 cup maple syrup or raw honey

76g/1/3 cup butter

zest of 1 lemon

1 tsp ground ginger

INSTRUCTIONS

Sift the flours into a bowl, then stir in the remaining ingredients and mix well to combine into a soft dough.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.  Preheat the oven to 160C/325F.  Roll the dough to about 1/2 inch thick between two pieces of parchment paper, then cut into twelve equal rectangles. Use a fork to gently poke a holes in the tops of the cookies if you want to!  Carefully transfer the cookies to a lined baking tray, then bake for 15-17 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes

http://thefoodieteen.com/lemon-ginger-shortbread/