Self-Care Tips for Leaders, Moms & Caregivers - Why Wear Own Oxygen Mask?

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Self-Care Tips: In today's VUCA times (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous), the entire world seems to be in a state of emergency. The workplace is stressful. Hectic roles, leading teams physically and emotionally, driving others to deliver, addressing needs of people who approach us for guidance, performance pressures, fear of job security, travel. In addition, as a wage earner, there are increasing demands for money for oneself and for the family, whether it is for lifestyle maintenance, responsibilities or any of the varied purposes that drive us. Working from home has added new dimensions of balancing home and professional commitments, with limited fun interactions. 

On the other hand, a home maker's life is no less stressful. Dealing with inefficiencies of support staff, managing children, elder care, emotions of near and dear ones, balancing different roles and responsibilities, as a spouse, parent, child, sibling. Being taken for granted. Putting your personal or self-care needs last, because you're perceived as "not earning" or "are just at home with no major responsibilities". The list is endless.

Self-Care Tips

Self-Care is not Selfish

When you travel by air, one of the first few announcements before the flight takes off is "In the event of an emergency, remember to put your own oxygen mask on before you help others, even your own child".

Whether at the workplace or at home, there is anxiety and worry everywhere. Stress about health, virulent diseases, reduced immunity, polluted environment, safety, strained relationships, social pressures, increased responsibilities, juggling roles, financial worries. If one has to be able to work efficiently through all this, and really enjoy life, with friends, family, loved ones, or even alone, then the body and mind need to be in finely tuned with good physical and mental health.

And this becomes even more important, if one is in a leadership position at work who has to manage teams, or as a parent, especially mother, or care-giver at home. Because only if we look after ourselves, can we "calmly" take care of others. Self-care, hence, is not selfish. In fact, it is self-less, because when you look after your own health and primary needs, you will be better able to take care of others who depend on you. And who else will ensure that for us but ourselves? So focussing on self-care tips is a must, without any guilt! Self-care is neither selfish nor is it a luxury. Self-care is a necessity! 

Self-Care Tips

Self-Care is Prevention

Have you heard the saying "Prevention is better than cure"?

Ayurveda, the Indian science of health, healing and long life, lays a lot of emphasis on prevention. Daily routines, Dinacharya, are prescribed so as to ensure an efficient functioning of the mind and body, to prevent disease. The definition of disease itself is "dis-ease" or that which is not in balance. And this may happen from time to time, due to age, seasons, stress, overwork, tiredness, or special conditions like life changes, hormonal changes, pregnancy, illness. 

We hope to have established by now that you are the first person that deserves your love and care, and that practicing self-love is not being selfish. Self-care is definitely a great way to discover, understand and connect with yourself to achieve inner peace and outer glow. So self-care is the new healthcare.


Self-Care Tips

Self-care needs to be Consistent

Consistency is the most important word as far as self-care is concerned. Small steps, short routines, but daily, regularly. Till it becomes a habit and you don’t need to even think twice. Our bodies and minds are creatures of habit. They operate best when they can predict what’s in it for them. There can be some abnormal, irregular, out of the ordinary cheat days. The perfect but sporadic routine is terrible. It’s like going to a buffet and binge-eating, and then starving till the next binge. Instead routines which you can follow every single day (or at least 5-6 days a week) is the answer for self-care. So create a small routine for yourself, start following it, do it consistently everyday for 21 days till it becomes a habit, and then you can experiment and improve on it.

Self-Care Tips

So it’s more important to start slowly but surely.  And it will build like compounding.

First 5 focus areas for physical health 

1. Sleep, the panacea for most ills. If it is adequate, the body's systems function well. According to Dr Michael Twery, a sleep expert at NIH, USA, “Sleep affects almost every tissue in our bodies.It affects growth and stress hormones, our immune system, appetite, breathing, blood pressure and cardiovascular health.” Research also shows that sleep deprivation over a long period increases the risk of obesity, heart disease and infections.

A muscle-relaxing warm water bath and oil application on the body help to stimulate and relax the nerve endings and muscles  (try the Parama Naturals' Turmeric Face & Body Oil, inspired by the Ayurveda Abhyanga Dinacharya). A foot massage at night (try the Parama Naturals Zingiber Foot & Body Oil, inspired by the Ayurveda Padabhyanga Dinacharya) helps to relax the body and mind, and supports deep sleep. A digital down-time, calming music and maybe some soothing chamomile tea help to wind down the battery to get us sleep ready. For even better results,  ensure good thermal comfort and sleep in a well ventilated room.

Self-Care Tips

2. Exercise, works on the body, the mind and the skin, too. It helps in weight management, combats diseases like strokes, blood pressure and diabetes. With regular exercise, the body remains active and energised, supple and on-the-move. It helps keep chronic issues like arthritis in check, and improves the physical balance. When we exercise, the body not only starts functioning well but it also throws out the toxins from the blood through sweat, cleansing the pores,  which in turn, prevents acne break-outs and make the skin glow naturally (coupled with a little oil application). Exercise improves the sleep, and also improves the sex-life. Internally, it releases happy hormones called endorphins, which reduce depression and anxiety, and make us feel happy.

As we age, and face stiffness, we become reluctant to exercise. To ensure supple muscles and support for chronic issues like arthritis or rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and reduce body stiffness which can lead to injury during exercise, try the anti-inflammatory ginger-based Parama Naturals Zingiber Foot & Body Oil. Daily exercise for at least 30 minutes, whether a walk, jog, gym or yoga. 

An integral part of the exercise is breathing. It regulates the flow of air within our bodies. Air is the life-giving prana which is primordial to existence. Breathing right, in singh with the exercise and even otherwise, as deep as possible,  helps to improve the digestion and the metabolism through better aerobic support. Rhythmic breathing helps to bring calmness in the body and mind. Specialised breathing helps to open up the nasal passages and sinus cavities. Prana-yama, one of the key yogic practices, has special versions for different objectives. All of them help to keep the body functioning well and prevent disease.

Self-Care Tips

3. Diet, balanced food, based on the dietary system that you follow. As per modern theory, it should be balanced as per all the food categories of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins, and according to Ayurveda, a balanced diet is determined by the tastes of sour, salty, spicy, sweet, bitter and astringent. Most traditional foods and eating systems are very well-balanced. Rediscover some of them by talking to the earlier generations in your family.

As per Ayurveda, disease starts first at the stomach, due to a mismatch between the body metabolism and what you eat. the metabolic rate changes with seasons (Ritucharya), time of day, and one's body type (prakriti). So it's not just what you eat, but also when you eat. Several studies also show that bringing back traditional systems of timing is very critical to the effectiveness of the diet. For example, following the Circadian rhythm, i.e. the main meal of the day being at lunch, and before sunset, because that is when the digestion is the highest rate has been brought back as intermittent fasting (IF). Also following traditions of feasting and fasting, unlike today, when we are feasting 365 days. Daily fast of giving the digestive system rest. Weekly fasts, seasonal fasts to detox.

Self-Care Tips

4. Water, hydrate oneself well, as our cells and bodies have water as the biggest building block. Water intake is not only important to keep the metabolism working well, it is critical also for flushing out the toxins from the body through urine, stools, sweat, tears and breath. And what we take in as important as what we take out in the auto body cleansing process.

As per Ayurveda, drinking slightly luke warm water is best for the health. 2-3 litres a day of non-sweet, non-caffeinated beverages are a minimum requirement, based on age and activity levels. 

It is important to be mindful of the timing of the water intake. At the time of waking up, a little before and after meals, only a few tiny sips at best during the meal, before and after a workout, before sleep. 

5. Wellness through massage & skincare, which not only protects us from the ravages of the environment, but is also absorbs most things that are applied on it.  A good skincare routine can keep our skin healthy, to make us look good and feel great. After all, our face is the first thing that we see in the morning, and is also the first thing that others see about us.  When we see dull or sagging skin, acne, dark circles in the mirror, then we ourselves do not feel so good, as our face and skin are a reflection of what's happening inside our body. At the workplace or in our personal lives, there is an increased level of self-confidence of us in ourselves, and consequently of others in us, when the skin has a healthy radiant glow. 

As per Ayurveda, an oil massage or Abhyanga is prescribed as part  of the daily routine for skin care and overall good health. Kaya Chikitsa, or the Ayurveda Skin Care prescribes an 8 step routine for skin care and self-care beauty routines. They broadly cover the core concept of Cleanse-Tone-Moisturize, which is the most common self-care face routine. These days there are many elaborate beauty routines for women like the 10-step Korean Skin Care Routine. Some of these beauty self-care routines can be very elaborate, take 30-45 minutes with many different products, and difficult to fit into our busy daily schedules. 


Self-Care Tips


Parama Naturals presents you the I-routine or the  “Indian” skincare and wellness routine with “I-care” at its core. Using the Parama Naturals' Moisturizing Face & Body Oil, for the entire body gives the benefit of Abhyanga, a moisturized, toned supple glowing skin. The top-to-toe I-routine, including the hair routine for Shiro-abhyanga benefits, for healthy nourished problem-free hair and scalp can be done in simple 2-minute routines, to get the benefit of elaborate traditional routines. They can be followed sustainably, whether one is rushed, travelling, whenever. A routine which caters to YOUR NEEDS in a busy hectic time schedule when you are juggling home, work, family, friends, passions and interests.


Self-Care Tips


Just be careful that the products that you apply on the skin are good for you and do not cause harm (often not apparent in the immediate term). So ensure that the skincare products are made with -

- With only the good things in, like India's ancient anti-oxidant-rich turmeric and nourishing oils, which have natural vitamins, minerals to protect, prevent and heal skin issues, with added advantages of aromatherapy (skin & nasal absorption)

- Keeping all the bad things out like harmful chemicals which can cause allergies, disrupt hormones (especially causing issues like PCOS, PCOD in teenage girls and young adults), toxic ingredients which cross over the placento-foetal barrier in pregnant women, and even lead to severe issues like cancer.

-Ideally no water, like lotions and creams. Because even though water is by itself a safe ingredient, when it is mixed with other ingredients like oil or powders and needs to have a shelf life, it will definitely have emulsifiers and preservatives, almost all of which are chemicals. So preferably use only pure oils and natural body butters, like the Parama Naturals' range of Face & Body Oils & Butters, which satisfy all the above criteria.



Self-Care Tips



Self-care is Holistic

While looking after our bodies, especially for health maintenance and beauty, the physical aspect is the most obvious and visible aspect of self-care. But holistic self-care tips  is much-much more. Self-care is essential at all levels - physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual. All these aspects are inter-connected. An imbalance in one affects the other areas too. Some are more obvious, and easier to incorporate in our daily routine like physical wellness. The other areas need a more conscious change in habits. 

Selfcare tips for holistic wellness, integrative selfcare, selfcare tips for mental health

Emotional Self-care Tips

The first and foremost in emotional well-being is a clarity in life, money, professional and personal goals. Set aside some quality 'me-time' as part of your daily routine. Start your day with positive affirmations. You can incorporate this during your morning walk or just before / after your exercise routine. Declutter your mind of all negative thoughts and embrace yourself wholeheartedly with all your strengths and weaknesses. Be kind to yourself and say no to comparisons and self-judgement. End  your day with a little journalling to empty your mind of pent up thoughts, feelings, emotions. This will help you  get clarity on your personal and  professional goals, enable you to plan better for the next day and coming periods, overcome fear and stress, and it will aid good sleep too. Being equanimous is the key. However, sometimes mood swings can be on account of hormonal changes or a medical condition. So if low moods persist, sometimes it may require stronger interventions like therapy or medications. Last but not the least, seek professional help if you need to with friends, family, counsellors, therapists, psychiatrists. 

Self-care Tips  for the Mind through Mental and Intellectual Challenges

One of the biggest challenges for most people is money. The constant thoughts are - how can I earn it, how much do I have to save, will I have enough to meet my needs and wants? Monthly cashflows, liquidity, money to meet critical needs of self and family, planning for emergencies, retirement funds, and of course for fun, wants and desires. With money worries being one of the most stressful for most people, it is very important to sort yourself out on the earnings and savings front. So an intellectual challenge for mental peace should include financial management. To plan savings, investments, addressing critical money requirements for life milestones, and finally retirement planning.

Another aspect is planning your work day. When you can accomplish your work better, get appreciated for improved performance, make us feel accomplished and better emotionally. The scientific reason behind this is the release of dopamine, another happy hormone. 

Learn something new regularly to keep yourself challenged and in flow always. According to Dr Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a Hungarian American Psychologist, a highly focussed mental state, totally absorbed is conducive to productivity, and leads to happiness.   

Self-care Tips through Mindfulness & Spirituality

Meditate, chant, listen to soothing music, spend time on a hobby that you love, curl up with your favourite book and a cup of coffee or take a power nap like Yoga Nidra. It's not one prescribed route. There are many paths to finding the right calming meditation to find your inner self. Just do what makes you happy! 

Self-care Tips through Social Engagements

Spend quality time with family, friends, those "other people" who you really enjoy talking to or being with. Those who help you find your meaning and purpose in life. Those who love you for who you are. Those who make you feel good from inside. Those who bring a smile to your face and brighten your day. Those whom you help and bring joy to, too! Smiling and laughter also helps release the happy hormones endorphins. And don't forget to hug them to get your dose of oxytocin. You can enjoy a walk, hike or an exercise routine with them. And kill 2 birds with one stone.

Choose some activity where you can help someone in need. An unplanned or planned "good act". For someone, or a social cause, or even the environment. Because what goes around, comes around, whether its a bad penny or good karma!! At a very selfish level, these small acts of kindness or going beyond oneself, help us feel good because of the happy hormone serotonin that gets released in our brains. 


Self-Care Tips

In conclusion...

Self-Care and Self-Love Daily are no longer an option. They are a must-do.  If the list seems too much to start with, here are a few tips to ensure a good start that can sustain.

There's no perfect universal mantra, except that you should get adequate work-life balance with "Me-time" and "You-time" to look good, feel great, naturally. 

1. Make small, incremental, sustainable, consistent changes, short routines that you can fit into your daily life in terms of time, and one that you can do regularly whether you travel or have a hectic schedule or have a significant life change. If you were eating out all 3 meals, try eating at least 1 balanced meal. Start with a 15 minute post dinner walk, instead of sitting in front of the television or on your tablet immediately. And to get the maximum benefits, do them like a routine, without a break. More than the size or the perfection of the routine, it is the consistency and regularity that matters more.

2. Try activities or changes that combine 2 or more benefits, because we have finite time. For example, if you eat alone, now make a point to eat with your family or a friend. You can combine a walk with chanting (for meditation), or listening to an e-book or podcast for intellectual growth or with a group of friends (to combine social engagements). Or join a dance class for exercise with social benefits. Or try yoga which combines exercise, mindfulness and meditation. Or post-shower body oiling with the Parama Naturals' Body Oil, which moisturizes, clarifies the skin, protects with anti-oxidant turmeric, stimulates the nerve endings and improves circulation (cosmetic and therapeutic with the benefit of Ayurveda Abhyanga) for happy skin and happier you.

3. There are many options that one can try. Select the one that you really enjoy doing. Of course, give it at least 21-40 days of non-stop daily trial before you decide whether you enjoy it or not. And do all of it happily, with a BIG SMILE, so that each cell in your body reverberates with the positive energy that the 100W smile generates!

Here's looking forward to your starting a self-care journey, for a healthier, happier you!


Self-Care Tips

(Also read blog on the 3 step self-care routine Practical tips for Self-care at the physical, mental, emotional & spiritual level)

Note: Note based on research, experiential learnings and practical tips tried and tested by the author, Geeta Prakash, (Founder, Parama Naturals), during her journey into holistic living over the last couple of decades. Feel free to write to us at for more tips

1 comment

  • Posted on by Arvinder Kaur

    I have found the challenge is getting started, so the tips in the conclusion are very helpful.

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