I’m going to start this post with a bit of an understatement: the last year has been a tough one. Next week will see us meet the one year mark of when our lives all changed dramatically, and what a year it has been. Despite many of us spending more time at home, very few of us have been prioritising taking care of ourselves despite this playing a huge role in our general wellbeing. With parents having to take on the new role of a full-time teacher, key workers under extreme pressure and people struggling to gain a work/life balance now their homes have become offices…where is the time? Sometimes just making it through the day is a success story in itself but these additional stresses that have fallen into our lives only further prove the point that self-care is vital to a healthy mind.
There is still very much a culture where taking time to look after yourself can be seen as an unnecessary luxury but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In order to be the best version of yourself in work, life or relationships you need to feel like the best version of yourself.
Often when you see the term ‘Self Care’ you think of face masks and massages but actually, the practices are endless and, since we’re not going to be able to get to a spa any time soon, it’s important to find other ways to bring you that same level of peace. Often, the kindest things you can do for yourself have nothing to do with pamper sessions (although I wouldn’t say no!) and everything to do with removing negativity from your life where you can. I’ve listed some of my favourites below.
My Favourite Self Care Methods
- Take 30 minutes a day to do something you love – Read that book, listen to a podcast in the bath, be creative…it doesn’t matter what it is, just make sure it’s something that makes you happy.
- Social Media detox – Take a day away from your Social Media apps, the constant stream of news and other peoples polished lives is a lot and you often don’t realise the damage it’s doing until you take a break.
- Review who you follow – Make sure the people you follow on social media are accounts and/or individuals that bring you joy or valuable information. Anyone else can and should be removed (or muted at the very least).
- Move your body – I’m a huge advocate for exercise for your mind rather than your body but this doesn’t always have to be an intense workout. I love basic Yoga videos on YouTube, stretching with some relaxing music is really calming even if for 10 minutes.
- Get some fresh air every day – This one is so important, especially for those that are working from home every day at the moment. Sometimes getting yourself outdoors if you don’t “need to” is harder than you think, but it’s a wonderful way of taking a moment to breathe.
- Journal – Keeping emotions or stresses bottled up inside can only last so long. Talking to other people about these things is so important but if you don’t feel ready or able, writing in a journal is an excellent way to let some of those stresses or worries free.
And the most important and compulsory form of self-care is to be kind to yourself. Life isn’t easy even at the best of times and it’s made ten times harder if you let that negative voice in your head make its way to the front. We’re all just doing our best so make sure you are acknowledging your achievements no matter how small. I’ve said it before but sometimes just making it through the day is a win, so take a minute to say you smashed it!
Benefits of Self Care
- Increased positive thinking
- A reduction in anxiety
- Finding outlets to relieve stress throughout the day can result in an improved sleep pattern
- Taking time for yourself will give renewed focus, increasing productivity levels
- Improved relationships
- Learning how to recognise your real emotions/feelings.
Sometimes it feels easier said than done but you need to prioritise yourself. No matter the job, situation or environment you find yourself in, you can’t pour from an empty cup so eventually, something is going to have to give. Please don’t let it be your health.