Secrets to Self-care
We are all so used to rushing around and focusing our time on important tasks, but our health and happiness are hugely important, and being mindful of this can make each day that little bit better. So, indulge in a little self-care – the benefits might surprise you.
Make time for self-care
Self-care can be defined as any deliberate action you take in order to support your mental, physical, and emotional health. It’s a crucial part of looking after yourself, and others.
Cultivating a self-care routine is known to reduce stress and anxiety, improve concentration, increase your motivation and energy levels, produce positive feelings and boost your general happiness. So, try to do something nice for yourself every day. It could mean starting off with a yoga routine, or nipping out for coffee and a stroll in the middle of a crazy schedule, or winding down over a drink with friends after work. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, in fact it doesn’t need to cost anything at all. Just find something you enjoy doing, or that makes you feel good about yourself, and strive towards that.
Here are some ideas for how you can practise self-care, but just choose what makes you feel the most rested and refreshed.
1. Get stuck into a good book
Curling up with a good book can be a great form of self-care and a really good way to switch off and relax. It is well known that reading improves our communication skills and vocabulary. Research has shown that it can also affect empathy, social perception and emotional intelligence, all of which helps us to live longer!
2. Spend time with friends
Although this may sound cliché, it can really make a difference to your mental health, and the happiness of those around you. Reach out to someone who’s important to you and brighten their day: a great way to start the conversation is a simple “I’ve been thinking about you”. As social beings, it is important to maintain social connections and friendships that matter to you. When you feel a little down or stressed, you may not feel like socialising, but more often than not, you’ll feel much better for having a chat and a laugh with friends.
3. Get involved in a community clean
If you have some spare time, why not get involved in a community project to protect the environment and give back a little. This small act can enrich the lives of animals and plants, and reduce pollution and diseases. There are loads of ways to get involved, you can go along to a group clean or look out for campaigns on CleanUpBritain. It has never been easier to make sure we live in a clean and safe environment!
4. Learn when to say no
Although keeping busy and catching up with people can be beneficial, it’s important not to burn yourself out, especially if you are just trying to keep others happy. Whilst it can be challenging to let people down, it’s important to put your health and happiness first. Mindfulness is a great tool for helping to combat stressful thoughts and learning to say no when things are getting too much for you.
5. Get yourself an adult colouring book and pencils
Yes, a colouring book and pencils. No, this is not KS3 again! There are heaps of therapeutic benefits to colouring for adults: your brain can experience relief by entering a meditative state; it can lower stress and anxiety levels, as focusing on the present helps you achieve mindfulness. You can find a range of different colouring books, from themed to intricate images at Waterstones, so there should definitely be something that suits you.
6. Do a good deed for someone else
Whether this is for a stranger, or a loved one, acts of kindness have the potential to make the world a happier place, and improve confidence, control and optimism. As well as lifting the mood of the person you have helped, good deeds often encourage them to repeat the same deed for others, contributing to a more positive community. So, the next time you are feeling generous, rather than hoping to be paid back for what you have done, request that the individual passes on the deed to bring a smile to someone else’s day!
7. Support a local business
Buying local is a great way to foster relationships, support your community and stimulate the local economy, and be more environmentally friendly, all at the same time! There is often a higher standard of care regarding quality and service, with a more personal touch than that in commercial chains. So, pop out to a local coffee shop, and try out the different cuisines on offer. Our favourites are Kiss the Hippo and Local Hero.
8. Dress to feel good
We often feel great when we get dressed up for an outing or event, but in day-to-day life, particularly post lockdown, we might not put much effort into our appearance. There is absolutely nothing wrong with chucking on something comfortable, especially when WFH, but wearing clothes you really like can make you feel more confident, productive and more yourself.
9. Do something new each day
Whether this means experimenting with a tempting recipe, trying out a new exercise class, or simply taking a different route to work in the morning, aiming to do at least one new thing each day can be both fun and rewarding. Research has shown that being spontaneous can develop relaxed and uninhabited qualities, because no matter what happens next, you can deal with it, which is an invaluable life skill. Spontaneity keeps your mind sharp and also prevents you from staying in a mundane routine.
25 Quick self-care suggestions
1. Just slow down
2. Put your phone away, do a digital detox
3. Breathe. Stretch
4. Take a nap
5. Practise 10 minutes’ mindfulness
6. Bake a treat
7. Deliveroo your favourite meal
8. Whizz up a healthy smoothie
9. Journal about how you’re feeling
10. Read some inspirational quotes
11. Get outside in the fresh air
12. Do some exercise that you enjoy
13. Buy flowers for yourself
14. Take a long walk in nature
15. Put on your favourite music
16. Make a new playlist
17. Watch a film
18. Listen to a podcast or audiobook
19. Get creative – paint, draw, knit
20. Light a candle
21. Rearrange your space
22. Try a new face mask
23. Start a skincare routine
24. Soak in a warm bath
25. Cuddle your pet
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