Image of Dr Tara Swart

Simple practices that will improve our quality of life

Self-care is not an indulgence; it is a necessity. It is not reserved for the rich and privileged; it is for everyone. There is no single right way to #treatyo’self; (self-care looks different for everyone. When it comes to taking care of our bodies and minds, there are a plethora of suggestions to go around; it is easy to get overwhelmed.)

An excellent place to start is with neuroscientist, researcher, author and Instagram wellness guru Dr. Tara Swart. She is the author of the bestselling novel The Source: Open Your Mind, Change Your Life. Dr. Deepak Chopra says about The Source, “[The Novel] marries universal truths with scientific rigour for a persuasive, important exploration of The Law of Attraction.”

We first met Dr. Swart while scrolling through Instagram. Throughout 2020 she has been posting uplifting and activating content to make our days just a little bit brighter. We had the pleasure of speaking with Dr. Swart and asking her about her self-care essentials

There are so many definitions of self-care; for some people, it comes in a jar; for others, it can only be achieved in the gym. What does self-care mean to you?

Self-care means listening to your body and providing it with what it requires to thrive physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

We love how you’ve used your platform and unique perspective as a neuroscientist to inspire your following. Why did you decide to start your Instagram account? Who are you looking to reach with your posts?

I started using my IG account with purpose around the time that my book, The Source, was due to be published. I focus on sending out positivity and knowledge based on rigorous science but placed in bite-sized practical pieces. I’m looking to reach anyone who wants to make the best out of their lives by using their own brainpower’s untapped potential.

This year has been challenging and, for some of us, life-altering. Has the way we view wellness changed since the start of the pandemic?

Quite rightly, there has been more focus on mental health, spiritual well-being, connectedness and being in nature. In a way, the pandemic has re-connected us with what is truly important to our thriving.

What are five self-care practices that our readers can engage in to improve their mental and physical health?

Get enough sleep

Regular sleep and wake times are as important to brain health as sufficient length of good quality sleep.

Hydrate well

Hydration is vital to all our bodily processes, including digestion, skin health and mental agility. Dehydration contributes to brain fog.

Eat properly

Our brain is the hungriest organ in the body, using up 20-30% of what we eat. Including oily fish, nuts, seeds, berries, olive oil, and avocado in the diet promotes brain performance.

Get up and move

Not being sedentary is very effective. Walking around, getting outdoors, doing some formal exercise and practising deep breathing all oxygenate the brain and body.

Practice Mindfulness

Some forms of mindfulness, such as meditation or yoga, reduce stress hormone cortisol levels, helping us regulate our emotions and boost our immunity.

Are there any self-care myths that you would like to debunk?

One myth that I would like to debunk is that you’re selfish when you put your self-care high on your priority list. The truth is that if you don’t look after yourself, you can’t do much for others.