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Oleo Bodycare founder, Olivia.

Embracing Self-Care: A Journey to Wellbeing

The English language is awash with hyphenated words revolving around "self". There's "self-consciousness", "self-control", and "self-confidence", to name but a few. These all have fairly straightforward meanings. Then we have "self-care" - a term that is definitely broader and seemingly everywhere you look, especially if you're looking on social media.

Our day-to-day lives are often fuelled by negativity. It's often hard to find solitude in today's world. Many of us are feeling the stresses of having to take care of children at home on top of a full-time job, and the seemingly constant cycle of negative news doesn't make matters any easier.

What is Self-Care?

This concept includes all the things you do to take care of your well-being in four key areas - your emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual health.

Choosing to gift yourself with people, places, things, events, and opportunities that recharge our personal battery and promote whole health - body, mind, and spirit, is a deliberate choice.

Self-care is an important tool to help you live a more positive lifestyle.

Finally, I think self-care is more than a buzzword. Bragging about how busy you are isn't as admirable as it used to be. More people are starting to understand that it is vital to your emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual health.

Right now, self-care is more important than ever. Never feel guilty if you need to take some time for yourself.

Oleo Bodycare founder writing on a whiteboard keeping on top the latest vegan skincare products she needs to make
"It is not about adding another thing to your to-do list."

What Self-Care is Not

It is not about adding another thing to your to-do list. Self-care is meant to help and not make you feel even more overwhelmed.

Self-care is not about an emergency response plan; it is more about creating behaviours or health habits that you can do to make sure that you do not get to that point.

It is not selfish! Self-care is about looking after yourself so that you can give your best and be the best you that you can be for your friends, family, and the world.

I don't usually write about my personal experiences, but this topic is something that strongly resonates with me. The best thing about self-care is that you decide how you want to work it into your life. It's important to remember that the care you need on Tuesday may be different from what you need on Saturday. The following are strategies that have helped me.

Seven years ago I was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (MS). It's a lifelong condition that affects the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). It produces numerous symptoms which range from extremely annoying to excruciatingly painful. There is no cure, but medicines and other treatments can help ease some of the symptoms.

I have been prescribed a cocktail of heavy-duty drugs. These have horrible side effects which I find are actually worse than the symptoms they are designed to treat. Consequently, I have explored alternative coping strategies.

lady meditating as part of a self-care routine
"Meditation has now become a regular feature in my life."

Managing Stress Through Self-Care

Stress is an inevitable part of modern life. Because of my MS, I have an additional incentive to manage stress as studies have shown a definite correlation between stress and worsening MS symptoms. I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival.

Achieving Quality Sleep

Good quality sleep is vital to reduce stress because a good night's sleep helps to better manage what life might throw at you. If I'm having a bath before going to bed, then a few glugs of my Before Bed Bath or Soothing Bath Soak will fragrantly send me into the land of nod. In addition, to ensure I get some refreshing shut-eye, I massage either my Oleo Sleep Well Body Oil or Stress Less Body Oil into my skin before going to bed. These beautifully fragranced oils also act as a wonderful vegan body moisturiser. As extra insurance, I spray my pillow with the super relaxing Tranquillity Pillow Mist.

Oleo Bodycare Before Bed Bath Foam
Oleo Bodycare Before Bed Bath Foam
Oleo Bodycare Stress Less Body Oil
Oleo Bodycare Stress Less Body Oil

Incorporating Meditation

Meditation has now become a regular feature in my life. I have to admit that this took some getting used to and initially I found the practice frustrating and boring. Frankincense essential oil works particularly well on the nervous system, where it imparts a calming and uplifting effect. Its ability to assist concentration indicates its long history of use as an aid to meditation. I now add a few drops of frankincense essential oil to a burner which helps cultivate a sense of calm and presence. In addition, as I sit quietly, I can smell the Frankincense Supreme moisturiser which I have previously applied to my face. I observe my thoughts in the knowledge that my skin is being treated with the finest vegan skincare.

The Role of Diet in Well-Being

Diet is an important factor in managing my MS and self-care. I am mindful about what I eat and follow a diet specifically targeted at reducing MS symptoms. Initially, I found this difficult, but it has now become a way of life. It's basically a vegan diet (that sits perfectly with my vegan skincare) and includes lots of healthy fruits and vegetables.

Exercise as a Source of Relief

Exercise is brilliant at releasing feel-good endorphins. I find it improves my overall sense of well-being. It's important to find an activity that you enjoy. For me, this includes yoga and walking. Getting out into the open air, surrounded by nature immediately lifts the spirits. Occasionally I get carried away and overdo my yoga or end up walking further than my body is happy with. On these occasions, relaxing in an Oleo Muscle Ease Bath Soak, followed by a massage with my Black Pepper & Rosemary Massage Balm soon puts paid to any aches and pains. Black pepper is another warming essential oil which benefits aching muscles.

Oleo Bodycare Tranquillity Pillow Mist
Oleo Bodycare Tranquillity Pillow Mist

Finding Balance with a Digital Detox

Although a large part of my working day, I make a point of taking breaks from screens (phone and computer) to reduce digital-related stress. Disconnecting allows time to engage in real-world experiences and recharge. Almost everything will work better if you unplug it for a few minutes, including yourself.

Learning to Say 'No'

Saying "no" to someone who wants your time or energy when you simply can't give it can be difficult. When you've spent your entire life helping others when you can, it can be hard to change and take time for yourself, but sometimes that's exactly what you must do. Learning to politely decline a request when you are already overloaded can be a huge boost to your well-being. Establishing boundaries also gives you a huge sense of empowerment.

These are a few of my practices. For a long time, I viewed them as a 'nice to have' and something that I didn't think I needed. Don't allow yourself to slip into the mindset that you don't need to be taken care of, that you're not worth it, or that others need to be taken care of more than you do. Because the reality is, everyone needs to be taken care of and you are worth it. And let me tell you, sometimes these habits aren't easy. Sometimes they're the last thing you want to do. So if you're realising that you're not taking care of yourself like you should, try some of my habits, or find some of your own to practice every day to show yourself some well-deserved care.

If the products I've mentioned have sparked your interest, I warmly invite you to explore my vegan skincare range, lovingly infused with essential oils. Discover how they can support your self-care journey.

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Posted on March 1st 2024

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