Wednesday, 8 June 2022

Five tips for self care

We all know it’s important to look after yourself. Sometimes in the rush and busyness of life, we forget to take some time for our own selves. Whether that’s moving more or eating better, here are some tips to bring self-care into your daily life.

1. Check in with yourself

The first step in any kind of care routine is to recognise what you need. This requires a mindful approach to checking in with ourselves and reconnecting to see where we’re at. There are many distractions in our busy lives now and we’re often running on autopilot to juggle all our responsibilities. So, take a moment, stop everything, put the devices down and take some deep breaths. Quiet the mind and ask yourself what you really need right now. Check-in with how you’ve been feeling over the last couple of days – is there a running theme like being tired, irritable, or maybe pushing yourself too hard? If so, what could be the antidote – do you need to rest, or maybe there is an underlying emotion that is asking for your attention?

First, you must recognize, and the next step is even more important – to accept without judgement, and then to act on it.

2. Get moving!

Movement in whatever form works for you is a celebration of your body and all it is capable of – however free or limited it may be. Many people look at movement or exercise, as a chore, something they know they ‘should’ be doing, rather than something they want to do. Our bodies are capable of so much more than we think. We often just need to get out of our own way – or out of our heads – and do what our bodies are built for – movement!

What small way could you start moving? Research has shown us that even walking 30 mins a day can have massive positive impacts on both our mental and physical health. So start with 10, or 15 minutes and work your way up. Small gains are the focus.

3. What’s on your plate?

We need nutritious food to sustain us and help us thrive. In our busy lives, it’s often the one area that can be overlooked for the sake of ease and timing. However, good nutrition has such a massive impact on our long-term health – it’s worth investing a little time and attention to. Once again, a mindful approach is so helpful here. The act of eating is nurturing but can sometimes be driven by emotional factors. Take a moment to reflect on your current eating habits. Are there habits you’ve formed, like having more coffee, or sugar, or certain foods or times of the day or night that your eating is driven by some motivating or emotional factor? The key is to not judge yourself up about it but to recognise and act on it in a positive and supportive way, that is best for your wellbeing.

4. Sleep hygiene

How amazing do you feel after a good sleep? Sleep quality supports our health and wellbeing in many ways. ‘Sleep hygiene refers to our habits and behaviours and environmental factors that can be adjusted to improve your sleep. The quality of your sleep will affect many of the other self-care behaviours so it is an all-important one. Regularity in sleeping patterns helps your body adjust to a healthy sleep/wake rhythm. An uncluttered bedroom, free of electronic devices lets your subconscious mind know that the bedroom is primarily for sleeping. Calming colours, fresh air, and clean bed linen all support a good night's sleep.

5. Feed your spirit

Feed your spirit in whatever form works for you that is nurturing, restorative and impactful on your sense of wellbeing. Small amounts practiced regularly are better than none at all, so take small steps to begin any new routine. The 5% principle is so helpful here, making just a 5% change in some way will add up over time. All self-care is healthiest when it includes a focus on giving and supporting others. It’s like we must first turn inwards, to feed our own body and spirits, to give more fully to those around us – whether that be family, friends, work or social connections.

Interested in Mental Health and Wellness?

Arm yourself with practical strategies and the confidence to stay resilient, manage stress, and help others to do the same — Find out more about Mental Health: building awareness and resilience, one of our Mental Health and Wellness Short Courses.

"Overall, all resources provided, particularly links to short articles related to the topic addressed, are very interesting and useful to deepen one’s knowledge."

- Federica Conti