I believe with all my being that whole-hearted living starts with finding peace within yourself. This past month I have found myself thanking myself, deeply, for having had the courage and the will to slow down each and every day, just a little more so that I could gain even more living from my life. To be able to experience more moments that I was actually in, rather than far away in my cluttered, distracted mind.

About 5 years ago, on the 31st of December 2015 to be exact, I decided I’d had enough and I made a conscious decision to invest in self-care and to take active steps to reset and revitalise my mind, body and spirit, and I have not once looked back. The truth of the matter is that I have truly and utterly fallen in love with taking care of myself. We become besotted with those things or people on our paths that make us feel good, and let me assure you that no one thing or person can truly bring you as much joy as feeling the toe tingling presence and joy be just being in your body, and in your heart liking what you see and feel.

There was a time in my life, because of the stress that I carried, that it did not matter how many beach walks I took or which parts of our amazing planet I tried to retreat to, that gnawing feeling of not being able to be truly in the moment went with me everywhere. I was stressed about being stressed. Stressed about trying to relax… Yes it’s a thing, and I know there are many out there that will understand: one can be so desperate to find peace that you even put pressure on yourself to relax when you carve time out for yourself, because you are so desperate to feel free of worry, that you only add to your frustration. Yes, I was there…

But now I’m here. In a place where I watch myself reacting less and less to the drama around me. Where I have so much clarity and focus because the voice inside my head that distracts me with negative ego is being fed less and less. In a place where I need less stuff and control because my internal bank account is satisfied, which means so much more abundance can be gained from the external world, from the deep love and connection I feel to my family and from the beauty I drink in – because when I am in the moment, I am in it.

It makes me think; on our tombstones we should not measure how many years our body was actually alive for, but rather how many moments we were actually present for. Because, this is the thing about prioritising all else above your state of mind and spirit: in this very precious life, on this incredibly special planet, are you here or are you not? And if not, why is it not your greatest priority to find your way back into your heart and body?

I feel like I have been intimately bonded to stress and fear and I can say, with confidence, that it is possible to break those bonds and claim back your joy. To realign yourself with what you are doing, right here, right now. Every bit of energy we invest in our inner peace returns infinitely more than we can imagine. How can we possibly know how close we are to the breakthrough until we take that next step towards ourselves?

So what does it look like to make self-care a priority? How exactly, does one fall in love with taking care of themselves?

Firstly, take a recon of your life and find a way to balance your priorities so that you are treating mind, body and spirit equally. How well balanced is your time and your money in this regard?

Secondly, clear your schedule and make an active decision to JUST SLOW DOWN. You need to rest, all of you: your mind, body and spirit. And I don’t mean numb. As delicious as that wine and Netflix are, use them as acts of joy, celebration and reward, rather than a daily survival tactics That is not living. We all need some time alone where we are mindful and present but resting.

Thirdly (and this is actually one of the most important keys to initiating change in your lives), find a way to raise your vibration. As Albert Einstein said, “We cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness as which it was created”. Our own joy and development is no different. It is very difficult to just decide to change. But if you can support yourself with activities that you know will bring higher vibrations into your mind, body and spirit, you will find it so much easier to gain a new perspective on what is really important to direct your energy towards. We can raise our vibration with good quality food, water and sleep. We raise our vibration when we feel joy and laugh. We raise our vibration by being in Nature. By getting off our phones and computers. By stretching and meditating. By doing workshops and getting treatments like energetic healing or bodywork. We raise our vibrations through worship. By reading books that uplift and inspire us. By journalling and creating. By listening to music that makes us feel lighter. We raise our vibrations by spending time with people who have higher, rather than lower, vibrations than we do.

Next, find support with your healing. We all have healing to do, only because we are all very sensitive souls living in an incredibly exciting, but also challenging and furiously fast world.

Lastly, gratitude is a total humdinger in being present. Gratitude fosters curiosity rather than drama. It has the immediate potential to shift our perspective to see all that we have, and in doing so we become so much better equipped to solve problems and make decisions for our highest.

Self-care is not a luxury. It’s the difference between ‘trying hard’ and ‘working smart’. If we want to live life to the fullest and reach our true potential, we need to care enough about making ourselves as strong and beautiful as we do to everything around us.