Looking after yourself has never been more important. With more of us suffering from stress and burnout than ever before, taking time out to replenish your mental wellbeing isn’t merely a luxury – it’s a necessity.
If you’re feeling run down, pulled in 10 different directions or at the whim of other people’s schedules (and really, who isn’t?), it might be time to put on the brakes and practice some self-care.
The idea is that you purposefully schedule some time to complete the activities or rituals that help to maintain your physical, mental or emotional health. This could be anything from an enjoyable exercise and relaxation techniques to simply taking an evening off to nap on the sofa in front of your favourite mindless TV.
As this week (13 – 19 November) marks Self Care Week, there’s never been a better time to start making this important practice part of your daily routine.
We spoke to two health experts to find some easy ways to self nurture at home.
Jennifer Boon, life coach and self-help author, says:
1. Put aside regular time for you.
In our busy lives, our own needs can fall to the bottom of the list of priorities. So put aside some regular time in the diary; it will give you some breathing space to do something just for yourself. If it’s hard to think up what to do with time for you’ve set aside, create a pampering list to refer to – this can be as simple as having a bubble bath, or watching your favourite film.
2. Pause before giving your answers to requests.
It’s easy to over commit and stretch yourself, which means you have less time to do what is really important to you. Next time you’re asked to do something, breathe in and pause before answering. Get into the habit of saying, ‘Let me have a think and get back to you’ before committing. This will give you some time to really decide if you can feasibly manage it without overloading yourself.
3. Bring awareness to your internal chatterbox
We all have an inner voice. Sometimes this can be supportive, but a lot of the time it can be harsh, critical or judgemental. With kindness to yourself, start bringing awareness to your internal voice.
If you’re unsure if your dialogue is critical, ask yourself if you would say it to a close friend. We all have a choice as to whether we listen to our internal chatterbox, or whether to change those negative thought patterns. Create positive statements around your home to help you to bring self compassion to your internal dialogue.
4. Create a home space worthy of you
Clearing your home space helps to create a comfortable haven, which, in turn, shows that you are worthy enough of having a safe, homely, clutter-free living space. This can be as simple as having a clear out and reorganising your space so it feels good to spend time in.
Chris Magee, head of yoga at Another_Space, says:
5. Get physical
If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, a great way to take care of yourself is by putting in a workout. Keeping fit will promote good endorphin release and cause you to feel more relaxed – so it’s a benefit to both your body and mind. It’s also a great opportunity for you to focus solely on you. It’s a chance to remove yourself from the source of stress, clear your mind and return to any problems feeling refreshed.
6. Eat well
Eating a balanced diet, which is full of healthy fats, carbs and protein, will ensure you’re fuelling your body properly. Not only does this mean you’ll have enough energy for the day, but eating healthily will help your brain to function properly.
7. Embrace a digital detox
With social media and emails in the palm of our hands, it can be hard to properly switch off from the stimulation of the day and the responsibilities of life. Embrace an hour or two every day, preferably before bed, where you can turn off your devices and enjoy your evening without any distractions. Not only will it de-stress you, but avoiding screens before bed will help you to get a better night’s sleep.