Realizing Self Care
Written By Gina Ciaccio
The topic of taking care of ourselves should be in prominence as it leads to cultivating a healthy lifestyle and preventing illness through stress and anxiety relief. Adopting a self-care state of mind and daily ritual is at the forefront of our wellness as well as lending itself to the ripple effect of taking care of family, friends, and loved ones. Through maintaining mindful self-care, we can prep ourselves to reemerge in the post-pandemic world (when the time comes) in a strong, healthy way and be there for those in need tenfold.
What is self-care anyway? Showing ourselves loving kindness, and appreciation in order to take care of our mind, body, and spirit. You can use self-care techniques as a way to reconnect with yourself - what brings you pleasure? Embrace it! Good news, you may already be practicing self-care techniques but aren’t aware.
Through in-depth conversation and intuitive listening, my clients and I learn fundamental things about themselves and discover what works best for them in terms of self-care. Our first, one-hour consultation is free.
Effortless Shifts Towards Personalized Self-Care
Expand your interpretation of self-care. This could mean embracing mundane things that bring you ease and joy like playing catch with your dog, listening to your favorite album while cleaning up after dinner, or reading the label on your shampoo & conditioner.
Lose the all or nothing mindset. If you only have a few minutes before bed for a ritual, that’s great! This doesn’t need to be an all-day trip to the spa every Sunday.
Be realistic. Do you need to schedule self-care into your daily agenda between meetings? Do you need to set an alarm to remind you to step away from your desk? Do you need to tell your family to offer you space? This is all OK!
Remember this is not an act of selfishness. It is purely shifting your state of mind towards gentle care for yourself in order for you to live to your potential.
Think about how you can amplify your daily habits. For example, we all take showers. By caring about the products I use on my hair and body I ensure I’m using what is best for me. Reading labels, finding out where things are made, taking five extra minutes at the health food store to look at new soaps… This is one of my favorite ways I’ve shifted something that was mindless to mindful self-care.
ACTION STEP: Are you ready and willing but feel like you’re not able to make that mind shift or find a few extra minutes? Try to reconnect with yourself and what makes you happy. Take a daily inventory of tasks you do… is there something that can be removed from this list? Fill it in with what makes you happy. Also, find an accountability partner - someone that can check in on you with gentle reminders towards self-care acts. This is one of my favorite roles as a Health Coach.
One of the most important reasons to show yourself love and care is to lower stress. There is no doubt that a state of constant stress does not do the body good. Constant stress can lead to lack of energy, lowered immunity, mood issues, increased blood pressure, loss of libido, and chronic illness. Most humans live in constant stress with their Sympathetic Nervous System (fight or flight) activated through pressures from work, family matters, anxious thoughts, not eating well, and living in a pandemic to name a few. This is harmful for our systems over time and does not allow us to sleep restoratively. Through adopting a self-care mindset, we can slowly start to live with and around daily stresses peacefully and operate in a healthful state. Check out these TED talks on the importance of self-care.
Honor Your Rhythms.
Habits play a role in structuring our thoughts. Below are some ideas for self-care practices to incorporate into daily struggles. In making these gentle modifications to our thinking, the benefits of caring for ourselves begin to shine.
Honor your rhythms. Feeling extra tired in the morning? Move slow and be gentle on yourself, wear comfy clothes. Have an extra burst of energy from too much caffeine? Play longer with your kids and pets or get that to-do list done, and drink extra water.
Create a sleep routine. Show yourself care by setting aside some time before bed to relax your body and mind. Create a sleepy time playlist, splurge on a set of organic cotton PJs, settle down with some stretches and a moment to journal, put away your phone and computer, eat some CBD gummies or rub CBD cream on your joints, listen to a guided meditation...
Practice meditation and breathing. The benefits are outstanding. Meditation promotes a state of well-being and builds new connections in your brain which helps you make better decisions, offer kindness and compassion to yourself and others, helps modulate immunity, and creates a deep connection between your mind and body to conquer daily tasks. How can you take five minutes out of the day to slow down, focus on your breathing, and sit with yourself?
Discover your personal mantra. Having negative self talk? Reverse the statement to something loving, and repeat it to yourself mindfully. Even if you only have time to recite your personal mantra while showering, it’s worth it.
Take part in Joy Based Spending (via Manisha Thakor, one of my favs to listen to about finances). Honor your hard work by spending money on something that brings you joy, within reason of course. Could be a fancy coffee or new TV!
Start a Love Journal (adopted via Joan Borysenko’s Appreciation Log). The benefits of expressing gratitude daily are massive - less stress, better sleep, increase in alertness, and connection to others. How about doing this based around yourself. Remind yourself daily the good things about YOU by writing them down in a journal. I love this for parents - moms and dads are superheroes and need to be reminded of it often.
Selfless Self-Care Can I practice self-love and not be selfish? Absolutely, yes! Having yourself in your thoughts does not need to seem self-centered or egotistical. Creating self-care rituals directly benefits the people around you as you become your best self to care for your friends and family. For example, I found myself spending most of this last weekend helping and doing favors for friends. While I was sewing patches on pants for my partner, I put on some new music that sent me into new music expansion which lead to the making of my new playlist. Caring for my creative self while doing a favor - so fun!
Adopting a daily self-care practice is an essential part of living well and to your best abilities. I understand the feelings of selfishness and not wanting to focus too much on yourself, however, it is critical to take special care of ourselves daily as it will allow us to better excel in our roles of parents, in our careers, with our partners and friends, especially during the pandemic. When you value yourself at an optimal level you stand energized for your life’s purpose and for those people around you.
Keep it simple. Don’t forget… Eating healthy is one of the most basic forms of self-care. By buying organic produce, fish, and meat, drinking enough water, and filling up with vitamins and nutrients through food, you are telling your body you love it - at a cellular level!
About the Author:
Gina Ciaccio is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Fine Art. She has a no-nonsense, intuitive, and realistic approach to health and wellness.
For more information on Holistic Coaching, visit her website at: