Why self-care is so important when we’re stressed

When we’re busy and stressed looking after ourselves often gets put on the backburner. But, the truth is, when our plates are full-to-bursting self-care should be even higher up on our list of priorities.

At this stage in my wellbeing journey, reaching for crappy food when I’m stressed isn’t really an issue for me. Having eaten clean for years now, opting for wholefoods has pretty much become instinctual. I’m no longer tempted by the lure of the vendo. My body actually craves the good stuff, whether things are hectic or not. Sure, I might smash a little more raw chocolate than I normally would when I am stressed, but that’s usually about it.

However, just because I don’t crave junk doesn’t mean I exist in some wellbeing bubble that revolves solely around yoga, smoothies and meditation. Far from it! While I might have the food stuff sorted, it’s all those other little nurturing self-care rituals that I tend to let slip when life gets full-on.

This is something which has playing out for me over the last few months. Although it pales into comparison with many of life’s other challenges, leaving the comfort and security of a stable job to forge your own path and follow your dreams can be scary as hell. A rollercoaster of emotions, from excitement to anxiety. On a practical level, there’s also a heck of a lot to do when you’re setting up a company with a friend and creating a shiny new website together!

Sarah feature 2Here’s a case-in-point example. A couple of weeks ago I was sitting at my desk, scoffing an amazing organic salad while reading Lola Berry’s mindfulness story. It wasn’t until a few paragraphs in that I realised the irony of the situation. There I was editing a story about the importance of eating mindfully and, all the while, I wasn’t paying any attention to the delicious food I had in front of me! Talk about not practicing what you preach, right? However, wellbeing isn’t something I just pay lip service to. I truly believe in the importance of nurturing our bodies and minds. Sometimes I just need a little reminder! So I shut my laptop and took my bowl of salad outside. I sat down, felt the sunshine on my face and enjoyed every delicious mouthful… before going back inside and tackling my massive to-do list!

Since then, I’ve decided to recommit to the following self-care rituals, regardless of busy I am.

  • Drinking warm water with lemon every morning. It’s alkalising, boosts your immune system and aids your digestion. It can also help you glow from the inside out. My stunning friend Laura Dundovic swears lemon and water has totally transformed her complexion. If you’ve ever met this mega babe, and seen her skin, you’ll agree that’s incentive enough to get sipping!
  • Giving my body a boost by taking a good probiotic (look for one with multiple strains of bacteria) and a powered green superfoods blend. I’m a fan of the ones by Green Nutritionals and Synergy Natural as they’re both organic and just contain the powdered greens. However, green superfoods are an acquired taste. That’s code for “they taste like lawn”. So try adding them to a smoothie if you’re new to taking greens. Or opt for a multi-vitamin style greens powder that also contains other goodies and is sweetened with natural fruit extract such as Nuzest Good Green Stuff or Vital Greens.
  • Taking time out every day to just be still. That might mean a mini meditation, relishing savasana at the end of a great yoga class or perhaps some deep belly breathing. I love this breathing exercise from my wise, wellness guru friend Claire.
  • Dry body brushing in the morning, to give my lymph system some love, and slathering myself in organic coconut oil at night. It’s super-hydrating and brings to mind memories of tropical holidays!
  • Trying my best to get eight hours sleep each night. Sleep is a biggie and something I’ll be sharing more about in future posts – stay tuned!

Of course, being kind to yourself when you slip up is also incredibly important. We all do and that’s totally ok. After all, there’s a reason why some of the most amazing wellbeing tools (meditation, yoga, mindfulness, gratitude) are all accompanied by the word practice. It’s because they’re all things you have to keep working on. Because true wellbeing is a series of daily habits, not some mythical destination.

Sare x

Photography by Heidi Boardman
Hair and make-up by Katie Goerlach