Self-Care Practices

Yoga in EcuadorHaving arrived in Australia in May and after completing four (hard and tearful) months of regional farm work in Adelaide in an attempt to get my Second Year Working Holiday Visa I have finally arrived in Melbourne.

Why Melbourne? I am not entirely sure how this happened. But over the past year along my travels, everyone remarked ‘oh yes, you are definitely a Melbourne girl’ and so I listened to said advice, packed my bags and…well, here I am.

I have been told that this is the land of hope and glory (aka food and music) so I fully intend to test this out. Although I am not going to deny, it is taking me time to adjust to city life. One of the reasons that I decided to do my regional work straight away was due to me experiencing major “cultural shock” in Sydney after living like somewhat of a bohemian gypsy. A life to wander around freely with no shoes on – yup, that’s exactly what I did. In some ways, I feel I am still in that mind set.

The trouble is now I have to start hunting for a job and flat; thoughts that stress me out. Which is definitely not great when I am fully aware that stress can have such an adverse impact on my mind and body. I am trying to take everything in my stride – I really am – but then I begin to start thinking about money, and jobs, and flats, and hostels (I really REALLY don’t want to have to go back to living in an eight-bed dorm, having done so the last 15 months).

As I am currently not working, I should be able to fit even the most simple Self-Care rituals into my daily routine but I am finding that, instead, I am avoiding them. So this week, I want to make a conscious effort to inject some routine into my life – or more importantly some love. I always think that if my body is looked after, so is my mind.

To start with, I am going to focus on the following four areas. Yup, that’s right. I am going to be treating you guys as my Accountability Coaches. You can see just how well I do by following my story on Instagram @sotremendous (your support will help me a trillion).

Whilst being out in the Outback I managed to cook good, tasty and nutritious meals – despite only having one gas stove and having an eski as a fridge. However, I snacked a lot. On all the things that I would never even consider buying. Sugar-loaded oat bars, white potato crisps, salty crackers. By the end of the four weeks my stomach was so inflamed from all the gluten and sugar that I was consuming that I was walking around feeling mega uncomfortable. I have decided that I am going to cut right back – not to starvation mode but when I do need a snack I am simply going to opt for a healthier option.

Back home I was a keen runner, competing in Parkruns, Half Marathons and Marathons. I understand that long runs can put an enormous strain on your body as it actually increases my cortisol level – a hormone released during long periods of stress – which, in turn, causes havoc for my insulin levels. I am going to continue to run but not for speed – to destress whilst ensuring that the length is kept under one hour. It’s such a pity as I really do love those half marathons but if I want to reverse my PCOS, I need to prioritise what’s right for the needs of my body.

Yoga is also a great form of exercise as it helps to lower cortisol levels (that stress hormone I spoke about above). I definitely felt the benefits from this when living in Ecuador and practising it everyday. Yoga really helps me to relax and and focus on my breathing, and allows me to release all that built-up stress which – hopefully- in turn will regulate my monthly cycle (which has been very out of sync over the last year travelling).

Did you know that one of the main reasons that we practise yoga is to allow us to hold poses for long periods of time when meditating? Lately my mind has felt muggy and confused. I aim at completing ten minutes a day of meditating as soon as I wake up for clarity. I’ll definitely update you a little later on what apps I have been using and how I am finding them.

To ensure I fully integrate all of these things into my daily life, I am going to write a list of things that I would like to achieve the night before. Often I forget about ‘me’ and try to please other people and their routine. I can’t stress enough how important it is to be a little bit selfish with your time and focus on self-care practices. <3