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How self-care is the key to your wellbeing

What does self-care mean to you? Does it comes across as self-indulgent, even selfish, or limited to those with time and money to spare? That may be because we often see the message of self-care in advertising directed at women, generally as a sales pitch for something we don’t need.

More specifically, self-care means identifying and meeting your needs, something women often struggle with. We tend to put others first – children, spouse, parents, friends, even pets.

Because we have to, because we may not have the choice or we really like to be the sole provider. But this comes at our expenses, and with the ripple effect, in the mid and long term it will decrease our efficiency and ability to be that amazing super woman, super mother, care taker and community leader.

We are not being selfish when we do take care of ourselves, we are actually making sure we can be efficient and effective, that we can take the best decision for ourselves and for those we are in charge of.

These are the 8 areas of self-care:

  • Physical Self-care. Involves movement of the body, health, nutrition, sleep, rest, physical touch and sexual needs.

  • Psychological Self-Care.

  • Emotional Self Care.

  • Professional Self Care.

  • Social Self Care.

  • Environmental Self Care.

  • Spiritual Self Care.

  • Financial Self Care.

By practicing self-care, we give ourselves a chance to step away and breathe, thus avoiding burnout. Because, let's face it, it's not just physical energy and stamina that are threatened by doing too much for too long; it's also focus and mental acuity. And if you don't take care of yourself, your body will let you know.

Self-care means also to organize your daily life in a different way, giving you moments to rest, to recharge, to focus, even allowing you to set clear boundaries with your environment so you can own your time.

And it is essential to practice mindful eating. Eating transitions from a mindless practice of filling the void — both physical and emotional — to a pleasurable experience of tasting and enjoying food. Less food is needed to feel satisfied, and addictive foods lose their power.

Self-care and fasting during Ramadan

During Ramadan, Muslims around the world connect more deeply with their religion, reflect on themselves, and give back to their community. There are different kinds of Muslims and different traditions within the religion. When it comes to Ramadan, fasting is a ritual shared by nearly all. Fasting during Ramadan involves not eating food or drinking water between sunrise and sunset for the entire month.

Delicious baklava

There are only two opportunities to eat during Ramadan: in the early morning before sunrise (Suhoor) and after sunset in the evening (Iftar). And therefore the type and quality of food is even more important. It’s extremely important not to skip the first meal. The food choices one makes will affect your energy throughout the day.

A lot of times people will turn to simple carbohydrates for the morning meal, but simple carbohydrates will not provide long-term energy. Instead, one should eat whole grains paired with healthy fats and proteins as well as fruits and veggies. These include dishes such as savory oatmeal, power pancakes, strawberry-chocolate overnight oats.

They are some very savory and health recipes for fasting during Ramadan. Eating the right food can be very satisfying, for your body and your mind. Check them out here.

And vitally important, to stay hydrated. Drinking water is vitally important and has many health benefits. Not drinking enough water can result in poor mood and increased tiredness. This can affect energy levels and memory. Maintaining water intake can also help manage chronic health conditions and has a role in preventing and treating headaches, migraines, kidney stones, and constipation, as well as maintaining blood pressure.

There’s also some evidence that staying hydrated lowers appetite. This is especially useful when you can’t eat for the entire day! But how do you stay hydrated when you can’t drink water between sunrise and sunset? Use the time before sunrise and after sunset as an opportunity to rehydrate and meet the recommended water intake. Keep a water bottle close throughout the night and drink whenever possible.

While sweets during Ramadan can be very tempting, try to choose foods with high water content instead. Following water-filled fruits and vegetables should be integrated in the evening meal: strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe. cucumbers, zucchini, bell pepper and tomatoes.

And of course, as you are reducing the number of meals, it would be tempting to increase the amount of food of the two meals, but you know this is not a good idea... After a whole day of not eating and feeling hungry, overeating is also common. This may lead to morning tiredness and weight gain over the month.

Focus, concentration, control and mindfulness will help you get through this blessed month of Ramadan, while practicing self-care.

Wishing you and your family a blessed Ramadan.

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