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LAMAV’s founder shares her self-care secrets…
There’s no doubt that when looking ahead to 2021, we all hoped that COVID and its lengthy lockdowns would be nothing more than a distant memory. But, with the pandemic once again surging ahead here in Australia, we’ve found ourselves in an all-too-familiar situation.
Lockdowns—although necessary—can be tough on a number of levels and challenge our motivation, mental health and overall wellbeing. While we all know how important self-care is for our physical, emotional, sensory and spiritual health, it’s often one element of our day that is easy to neglect when we’re focused on other things.
As women, we are also famous for our multi-tasking skills—but it is so important that we look after ourselves in order to avoid burnout. And during lockdown, the need for self-care has become even more essential! Whether it’s FaceTiming friends and family, setting up a Zoom call with girlfriends to play trivia or simply heading outdoors daily for a walk in nature—there are so many ways to build self-care into our days.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to nurture my health and wellbeing—and thrive during lockdown…
For me, meditation has become an essential part of my daily routine and one that I cherish. While it’s not always easy to justify the time as my work life can be so busy—setting aside just 20 minutes a day is vital in order for me to connect body, mind and soul. Whether we like it or not, everyday we are confronted with countless stressors which can take a toll on our physical and mental health. And this is why meditation is so important as it’s one simple way to help process our emotions before they’re able to manifest into physical symptoms or further intensify and overwhelm us.
Meditation can be as simple as taking a few minutes to sit in silence, concentrate on your body and breath—releasing any tension in your physical self with a few deep inhalations and exhalations. I promise that after a few minutes, you will feel both re-energised and reinvigorated and the self-awareness that evolves out of this simple daily practice will also help you to better manage your own stress levels moving forward—subsequently making you feel more connected to your body, too.
Showing gratitude and appreciation for all the gifts we have in our life is certainly not a new concept and in recent years, there has undoubtedly been a global movement towards embracing an ‘attitude of gratitude’. While developing a gratitude practice is often seen as something a little ‘woo-woo’, it’s actually a simple way to regain perspective and find more joy in the simplicity of life. And let’s be honest, during lockdown, we could all do with a little more joy!
With studies illustrating that those who regularly practice gratitude also exhibit more positive emotions overall, what’s interesting is that grateful people are also more likely to experience gratitude. Essentially, it’s a self-perpetuating cycle: practice gratitude and you will be rewarded with more gratitude!
Embrace a hobby
Lockdown can be monotonous—especially when there’s no rhythm or routine to your day—so discovering a new (or old!) hobby is one way to break up your time, give your mind something to focus on and hopefully, bring you more joy in the process, too. One of my favourite hobbies is journaling. It serves as a bit of a double-whammy too, as journaling helps me to process how I’m feeling, embrace my more creative side and practice gratitude as well. I find that a few minutes journaling each day always helps me to uncover a more positive energy!
I also love to cook so trying new recipes and cooking healthy dishes for my family is another hobby I try to embrace daily, as well as scrapbooking. No matter what it is, making the time to enjoy a hobby just for fun holds incredible value for our mental health and wellbeing.
We all know how important sleep is for our physical, emotional and mental health. It’s the only time our body’s are able to completely rest and relax—regenerating and resetting for a new day. But for many, getting good quality sleep can be tricky so if sleep is elusive for you, try a wind down yoga flow before heading to bed. This is a practice I’ve enjoyed for many years and not only is it a good excuse to stretch and move my body, but it also helps me to calm down and get my body ready for sleep. Switching off my devices at least half an hour before bed also helps, as does having a nice warm bath with magnesium salts and a cup of herbal tea.
We all love to indulge sometimes—and with #isobaking virtually becoming a viral social media movement in itself, it can be tricky to stay on track during lockdown. However, the bulk of food we eat should be healthy and our plate should feel balanced with a good range of fresh produce, vitamins, minerals, fermented foods and nourishing proteins. But just as important as what we eat is how we eat! Practicing mindful eating is essential for optimal digestion as before we even take a bite, the mere sight of food can stimulate our brain and signal to our gut that food is on the way.
During lockdown I’ve really embraced the opportunity to spend more time in the kitchen and some of my favourite recipes include dahl—which is super easy to cook and packed with nutrition—and a daily green goddess smoothie. If nothing else, do your best to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of clean, filtered water daily.
Exercise need not be vigorous, it just needs to be consistent—but most importantly, exercise needs to be fun! Stretching our bodies daily and getting outside in nature is essential, especially during lockdown as a burst of fresh air helps to cleanse our lungs and clear our head. There are so many online exercise apps and YouTube channels to try, but for me, I am dedicated to a daily yoga practice. Every morning I practice surya namaskar and before bed, I do a gentle yoga flow. Find what works for you and even get the rest of your family involved—a run or walk together is a fun way to get moving and connect, too.