Yoga superstar Nadia Narain and her sister Katia Narain Phillips have dedicated their lives to health and wellness. To celebrate their new book Self-Care for the Real World they bring you 11 easy self-care tips
Self-care has always been a prominent, yet overlooked part of our daily lives. We know that it’s important to take care of ourselves, first. But what about that work deadline or family at home?
Sometimes we put these issues before our own and can eventually fall into a fast paced life of work and home. We forget to pamper ourselves and treat our bodies rightfully.
The Narain sisters grew up in Hong Kong surrounded by acupuncture, massage therapy and other alternative therapies. They saw these as a necessary part of health and wellness, and have since focused their own careers to bring healthy and wholesome practices to the western life. Nadia is one of the UK’s most popular yoga teachers, while Katia opened and runs her own raw food cafe.
They’ve written their book Self-Care for the Real World to share their own experiences and importance of self-care and tips you can apply to your own life.
‘Learning self-care is like building your own life boat, plank by plank. Once you’ve got your boat, you’ll still be rocked by the same waves, but you’ll have a feeling of safety, and a stability that means you can pick other people up on your way,’ says Nadia’
Here, they’ve shared with us 11 easy self-care tips to apply to your life. These are the single planks you will need in order to finish your boat of safety and stability.
Check yourself before you wreck yourself
Get in the habit of checking in with yourself — physically and mentally — every morning. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Just sit still with your eyes closed for a few minutes. Notice if your mind is racing or slow, if your breath is shallow or deep or if your body feels tense or relaxed. Try not to judge how you’re feeling, just observe it. If you’re wired think about how you might make the day ahead calmer. If you’re relaxed maybe today’s a good day to take on something challenging.
Start each day with some movement
Start every day with some kind of physical movement. You don’t need to head to the gym or go for a run, You could just dance around the kitchen to your favourite song. Movement brings you out of your head and into your body, and gives you energy for the day ahead. Make it fun, that way you’re more likely to stick to it.
Cooking a meal is about nourishing and caring for yourself, and for you that might mean beans on toast
We know this one’s easy to say and hard to do, but get practising because liking yourself will change your life. When you look in the mirror, instead of seeking out the things you don’t like, pay attention to the things you do. How would you compliment your best friend? Talk to yourself that way with kindness and love.
Get a nature fix
Studies show that time spent in nature is good for your health. Easier said than done if you live in a big city, but any bit of greenery will have benefits. Put a plant in your work space and get outside even if it’s just to a patch of grass between buildings. If you’re open to it – hug a tree. People may think you’re nuts but, trust us, it feels great.
Get energised without the crash
When that 4 p.m. slump hits you at work, try reaching for essential oils instead of sugar or caffeine. Peppermint is great for energising and rosemary is said to bring mental clarity. Just pop a drop into your palm, rub your hands together and inhale deeply.
It really doesn’t matter what it is – don’t feel you have to create some Instagram-worthy paleo recipe to be practising self-care. Try not to turn eating into yet another way of putting pressure on yourself. Cooking a meal is about nourishing and caring for yourself, and for you that might mean beans on toast.
Take a bath
Do this at the end of the day instead of reaching for a glass of wine. It’s good to have a winding down routine that doesn’t always involve letting off steam with alcohol. Add Epsom salts to your bath – they’re full of magnesium which will relax your muscles and help you sleep. Add a few drops of lavender oil for its calming properties. Sweet dreams. Try BetterYou Magnesium Salts £39.95 from Healthista Shop
Bye-bye binge watching
Now we’re not saying that you need to give up Netflix – nothing’s getting between us and season two of The Crown. But there’s a big difference between watching a few episodes of a show you truly love, and zoning out to countless re-runs of the Real Housewives of Wherever. The first makes you feel good, the second makes you feel like a zombie. Choose your viewing with love and attention.
Do a friend detox
This one can be harder than a juice cleanse, if you ask us, but real self-care means establishing strong boundaries with your friends. If you have a friend who always makes you feel bad about yourself, or if you’re always the last to get the invitation – you can do better.
Let go of unhealthy friendships and make space for the people who truly have your back (and make sure you have theirs, too).
Put yourself in your own diary
Most of us are so busy rushing from one commitment to another that we rarely stop and make time for ourselves.
Put self-care in your diary the same way you would anything else that’s important to you. Taking time out from the crazy treadmill of work, eat, sleep and repeat is the best way to resource and refuel.
So the news is terrible, your commute was hellish and you’ve got an inbox full of urgent emails that should have been answered yesterday.
The world can feel like a harsh place sometimes, and we can feel too small and helpless to change it.
In truth, the best cure for that feeling starts with you. If you think the world should be more loving (don’t we all?), then get out there and make the difference.
You don’t have to smooch a stranger, just a smile or a compliment can really make someone’s day. In turn, that’s going to make you feel better, too.
Nadia Narain has been teaching yoga since 1996 and has become the one of the UK’s top yoga instructors. She is one of the original teachers of London’s Triyoga yoga studios, after travelling across Asia and India to learn as much as she could about yoga and other complementary therapies. Her sister, Katia Narain Phillips’ passions lie in wellness and food. She opened the Nectar Cafe, a raw food restaurant, in 2014 to promote wholesome food that is inspiring and healthy.
Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips’ book Self-Care for the Real World is £8.49 on Amazon.