Start An Action Plan For A Self-Care Healthy Habit–Your health is tied to the amount of self-care you put into yourself. Pauliina Salmenhaara shares how cultivating a self-care healthy habit benefits not only your life but the lives of those around you.

Self-care is something we often equate to being selfish – incorrectly so!

In fact, I would argue the opposite. Lack of self-care can make us more irritable and defensive, as a result of which, we can’t – maybe even don’t want to – care for others as we are struggling for even our most basic right to a moment of peace and quiet.

At one extreme, being more in service to others than to self can even turn into a kind of martyrdom, in which self-worth is measured in terms of how much sacrifice is made for others.

I prefer to view it from the perspective of starting off with caring for ourselves.

Self-care is self-love. And this translates into energy for us to do all those things we dream of, including having a more positive kind of energy for others.

This month I spoke with other panellists on the topic of self-care at an event organised by The Change School. The questions they posed were so relevant that I decided to answer them in written form.

What does self-care look like in your line of work?

Well, in my line of work, one could say that I have to “walk the talk.” That’s why I keep the talk honest, realistic, and like it is. When people come to me for advice, it helps if I speak from a sincere place. This is why one of my mottos is “Whole over perfect.” It’s much more important to feel WHOLE, to have a lifestyle that is holistic than to aim for perfect ideals.

Therefore, self-care to me means being realistic about my situation at any given time, in the now; what am I feeling, how busy am I, what climate or social environment am I in?

How important is Self-Care for life/work performance and physiological well being?

It’s crucial. Self-care affects the quality of our mood, clarity of our mind, and strength of our body. All three are interconnected, so take care of all of them. In a stable and healthy self-care ecosystem, it’s possible for some occasional neglect, but if one part is neglected for too long, stagnation and disease start to develop, and then it affects the whole ecosystem.

How do you personally create the space for Self-Care?

I give myself permission, and then it’s a matter of doing it before it’s too late.

Sometimes, when I get fed up with a particular self-care routine, I remind myself of what life will feel like if I don’t do it. I’ve learned that there are some routines I just can’t afford to leave out, and then I make myself do it.

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What is one healthy habit/ritual you practice regularly?

There are many: I will just tell you about my morning routine, which is my most important one, and to which I stick even when travelling.

I start off with about 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and do coconut oil pulling for 20 minutes, sometimes whilst showering and getting ready, at others whilst making green juice. Then I move onto tongue scraping and tooth brushing. I then move into the kitchen and take probiotics, C-Vitamin and my own ginger concoction (if I feel my immunity is down), topped off with green juice.

Self-Care is all about creating and sustaining good habits. How do you stay motivated and disciplined to sustain habits and a healthy lifestyle?

Experience. I’ve experienced too many times what happens when I drop a good practice. You can be the most self-disciplined person on the planet, but this alone won’t sustain a good habit. I know that if I eat a soft ice, I will get awful stomach cramps and diarrhea. It’s really not worth it anymore.

There are different ways to practice Self-Care. How do we know where to focus/start?

Start somewhere easy and doable. Simple first steps, and then add on to that, only when each step is firmly in place. Taking on too many steps at one time is counterproductive. Start somewhere which is most critical, or which seems most realistic.

Please share one tip for anyone looking to create their personal Self-Care plan.

Give yourself a chance to feel the benefits. You can’t convince yourself with logic to do something for very long, but once you’ve felt the benefits, it’s harder to back out. Find what makes you click. Some people like to think of self-care as a luxury. If you like the idea of luxurious self-care as pampering yourself, then tune into that frequency. If, however, you see it as a practical necessity, then use that thought process to motivate yourself. But ultimately, the best self-care plan is based on your experience of it as something that makes you a happier and healthier person.