The self care continuum illustrates the sliding scale of self care, starting with the individual responsibility people take in making daily choices about their lifestyle, such as brushing their teeth, eating healthily or choosing to do exercise. 

Think if it like a Self Care Rainbow….

Moving along the scale or arch, people can often take care of themselves when they have common symptoms such as sore throats, coughs etc, for example by using over-the-counter medicines. 

What is important to know about self care is that it has to come from you. From you taking the responsibility and making the time in your schedule to do it. 

And caring for yourself does not mean putting band aids on things, namely, eating or drinking when stressed, rewarding your behavior with food or drinks or showing yourself love with ice-cream or a lollipop. These are patterns taught and learned during childhood and to train our pets! You are not a child nor are you a dog! 

Self care is choosing to make the best choice for you and your body. Sometimes this will not FEEL good (I mean a deep tissue massage can be really uncomfortable but it is good for you). Drinking a green juice instead of a cup of coffee as you are feeling tired is not as fun or easy but it will serve you and your body better in the long run. 

So a reprogramming of the meaning of care needs to happen and making time to do this is not a cop out or being weak. It is essential. And potentially life saving. 

Recovery

 

Recovery is just as important as the workouts themselves and recovery isn’t just about NOT doing. It is about looking after your body that is now moving more and has greater demands on it. And ultimately, will prevent injuries.

Getting injured is never fun, but it’s even more annoying when you’ve just started a new workout or lifestyle plan.

 

You need a recovery routine.

As I’ve shared with you won’t be exercising every day on this programme. It’s simply not productive and may in fact be harmful.

However, that doesn’t mean you’ll be completely sedentary on your days in between workouts.

If you want to avoid the kind of injury and even minimize soreness between workouts, it’s important that you move every day.

Let me share with you my pancake making story!

One morning, I was stirring some pancake batter in a big bowl ready to make Josh some yummy gluten free pancakes and my back goes!

I mean, making pancakes!

I had to go lie down until the tightness subsided and was able to get to my chiropractor.

But it wasn’t the pancakes that did it.

At the time I was training for my second marathon and had been running… a lot and not stretching much either.

Let me teach you about the concept called Creep.

According to this concept, solid materials have a tendency to move slowly or deform permanently under the in uence of mechanical stresses. In plain English this means that most structures can bend and deform under a certain load after a certain amount of time. And depending on the magnitude of the applied dress and its duration, the deformation may become so large that a component can no longer perform its function.

 

What does creep mean to self care?

Trying holding a spoon off the edge of a table and placing a 1kg weight on the spoon. The spoon will quickly bend and deform. If you instead add a lighter load, the spoon might not bend immediately but given enough time it may end up bent and useless as well.

Creep also applies to the human body. Sitting at a desk all day hunched over a computer is the same as putting weight on the spoon, eventually your body will deform.

This is why your daily movement is so important.

So here are some key recovery activities to engage in:

  1. Keep moving with micro movements:
  • Do 25 bodyweight squats first thing in morning
  • Plank for duration of one ad break when you’re watching TV o Run up and down stairs
  • Do 10 squats before breakfast, lunch, dinner
  • Stand up and do 5 lunges after every 20 minutes of sitting

2. Dynamic stretching in the morning or a Yoga Sun salutation

I always start my day by just moving my body and waking it up and most days I do a sun salutation or a mixture of yoga stretches.

 

Here is a short 10 minute beginners yoga flow video you can follow along with me and my good friend Ciara.

Regular Bodywork

I recommend various forms of deep-tissue work that alleviate muscular tension and make you feel great.

Massage, active releases technique and osteopathic, chiropathic or kinesiology adjstment.

I understand that not everyone has the money to pay a massage therapist on a regular basis so why not try a foam roller! It’s like having your own massage therapist at home.

Foam Rolling

For less than £20 you can buy a cylindrical piece of hard foam that will do the trick. o When it comes to your workouts, here’s the sequence I recommend:

 Foam rolling warm up

 Light aerobic warmup

 Dynamic stretching

 Workout

 Cooldown with more foam rolling

Here is a sample of different foam rollers…

Sleep your way to slim

Did you know nearly a third of us are sleep deprived, and to the point that insuf cient sleep was a public health epidemic. When was the last time you had a full, restful night of sleep?

While you are snoozing, your body is actually performing a umber of critical functions including:

• Regenerating, growing and repairing itself

• Consolidating new learning

• Cleaning up cellular garbage

• Helps you to lose weight

We all know that sleep is good. And that when we don’t sleep well it can affect everything from what and how to eat, to how we behave and our moods let alone mention working out.

Sleep is essential for a person’s health and wellbeing, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF). Yet millions of people do not get enough sleep and many suffer from lack of sleep. For example, surveys conducted by the NSF (1999-2004) reveal that at least 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders and 60 percent of adults report having sleep problems a few nights a week or more. Most of those with these problems go undiagnosed and untreated. In addition, more than 40 percent of adults experience daytime sleepiness severe enough to interfere with their daily activities at least a few days each month – with 20 percent reporting problem sleepiness a few days a week or more.

Everyone’s individual sleep needs vary.

In general, most healthy adults are built for 16 hours of wakefulness and need an average of eight hours of sleep a night. However, some individuals can function without sleepiness or drowsiness after as little as six hours of sleep. Others can’t perform at their peak unless they’ve slept ten hours. And, contrary to common myth, the need for sleep doesn’t decline with age but the ability to sleep for six to eight hours at one time may be reduced

“I read recently that lack of sleep can lead to chronic disease and other problems. I have kids, a job with crazy hours and personal stress. I struggle to get a great night’s sleep.what I often hear from my clients.

Sadly, this situation has become all too common in our stressed-out, super-busy, hyper-caffeinated, modern world. Among the numerous responsibilities we juggle daily, quality sleep often takes the back burner, and those repercussions show up in our health and around our waistlines.

Inadequate sleep can quickly sabotage your efforts at getting healthy and losing weight. Sleep is a major cornerstone for an energetic, joyful, healthy life. Not getting enough sleep or getting poor-quality sleep adversely affects hormones that make you hungry and store fat.

One study found just one partial night’s sleep could create insulin resistance, paving the path for diabetes and many other problems. Others show poor sleep contributes to cardiovascular disease, mood disorders, and poor immune function, and lower life expectancy.

I’ve seen inadequate sleep’s repercussions play out numerous times among clients. One struggled with her weight after giving birth. He was probably 10 to 20 pounds overweight and often felt extremely tired. Her situation became so bad that she got migraines from being sleep deprived and then found it almost impossible to fall asleep even when exhausted.

I diagnosed her with a magnesium deficiency and we worked out a better bedtime routine for her and her baby including meditation, a relaxing bath and taking supplements and magnesium rich foods.

This lack of sleep often creates hunger, cravings and blood sugar imbalances that eventually increase pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.

As a woman, I understand how stress can become an issue. I juggle what feels like about 10 jobs. I have kids, a house, employees and clients, plus I’m rarely home because I often travel for work.

I realized that lack of sleep adversely impacts my health. I know I have to make sleep a priority, so I give myself a goal to get seven or eight hours of sleep every night. By experimenting, I figured out that when I get eight hours of good sleep, I feel much more alert and focused.

Trust me; I know what a challenge that can become.

Here are eight ways to achieve you to achieve a better night’s sleep:

  • Get on a regular schedule. Going to sleep and waking at the same time each day creates a rhythm for your body. Only use your bed for sleep or romance. Don’t keep a television in your bedroom:Studies [2]show the artificial, bright light can disrupt brain activity and alter sleep hormones like melatonin. Your bedroom should be a quiet, peaceful haven.

 

  • Get natural sunlight. Aim for at least 20 minutes of sunshine every day, preferably in the morning, which triggers your brain to release chemicals that regulate sleep cycles. Avoid computers, smart phones, tablets and television one or two hours before bed. You might also try low blue light exposure for about three hours before bed. Low blue spectrum light helps your brain reset for sleep and increase melatonin. (watch the video below about Broken Body Clocks.)
  • Get grounded. At times, electromagnetic frequencies can impair sleep. I recommend turning off Wi-Fi and keeping all your electronic devices away from your bed. Create a common area charging station in your home and encourage all your family members to “check in” their devices before bed.

 

  • Clear your mind. Everyone knows how something resonating on your mind can hinder sleep. Turning your mind off can become a challenge. Keep a journal or notebook by your bed and write down your to-do list or ruminations before you go to sleep so you can close your eyes and make it less likely for your mind to spin.
  • Perform light stretching or yoga before bed. This relaxes your mind and body.Research[3] shows daily yoga can improve sleep significantly.

 

  • Use supplements or herbal therapies. I recommend 200mg of magnesium before bed.  I take this every night.  I also recommend 300 to 600 milligrams (mg) of passionflower or 320 to 480 mg of valerian root extract before bed. Other natural sleep supplements include melatonin or magnesium. Potato starch mixed into a glass of water before bedtime can also help. Start slowly with one teaspoon and gradually build up the dose. This feeds good gut bacteria and improves blood sugar control while helping you drift into sleep.

 

Lisa Barwise

Author Lisa Barwise

Hi, I'm Lisa. I consider myself a Wellness Alchemist, the catalyst in the transformation of Strong Women around the world. Strong of mind, body and character.

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