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10 Self-care tips
It’s important to look after yourself, especially during times of stress. However this is often easier said than done! We’ve created some bite sized tips to help you create some time and space for you. You are your most important project after all!
Taking time to pause and reflect on the things you are a grateful for is scientifically proven to boost your mood and a great way to look after yourself. This can be keeping a journal and jotting down a few things at the end of the day, or even making notes on your phone on your way home. You may even like to create or join an online group. Gratitude can keep you focused on the things that are going well in life, instead of wasting energy on the things that aren’t going so well.
Bring a little bit of care and effort to your night time routine. Sleep is one of our most valuable self-care assets and our quality of sleep can greatly affect our wellbeing. If you can, take a few moments before bed, to unwind; put on some calming music, reflect on the good things that happened during the day and get ready for a peaceful nights’ sleep. We all have a different sleeping pattern, but 6-8 hours is highly recommended.
Grab a few minutes to learn something new. This could be as simple as swapping a Facebook session for an article on a topic you’re interested in. Maybe you might start reading a new book, or even sign up to a course! You never know, you may discover a new source of joy that could be life-changing!
Taking care of our body is a great way to nourish our soul. A few minutes of exercise can make you feel really good afterwards, even if it's hard to find the motivation beforehand! For the go-getters amongst us, maybe it’s some highly intensive anaerobic activity, but for others it might be taking the stairs instead of the lift, or going for a walk instead of catching the bus. Maybe just doing some simple stretching and breathing. Whatever you manage, remember you’re doing the best you can, and that’s enough.
You might wish to have a little look at your diet and put in some extra fruits and vegetables or protein for energy. This can be as simple as making a quick smoothie on your way to work. Buy some fruits and chop them up and put them in the freezer - then all you have to do is grab a handful with some greens, add some water and you’re in fibre heaven!
Spending time in connecting to nature is scientifically proven to boost your wellbeing. This is especially beneficial during winter when you're getting less exposure to sunlight. If planning a day in the country feels a bit much, see if you could go for a walk in your local park at lunchtime or try to spend some time reflecting by a local river or pond. Its guaranteed to make you feel good!
Treat yourself! What’s your guilty pleasure? Maybe you like snuggling up with the fire on and a cheesy movie? Maybe you love a nice hot chocolate or piece of cake. Maybe it’s a night out dancing. We can often spend time beating ourselves up for not being healthy enough or spending too much, but sometimes a small treat is just what you need. So go for it - you deserve it!
Relaxation releases happy chemicals in the brain and reduces stress-causing cortisol. Deep breathing, meditation, yoga or having a bath can help you to feel relaxed. The most important thing is to remember that no matter how much you have on, everyone deserves a minute to rest, relax and recharge so that you’re able to deal with the stress. When you take a break to stop and clear your thoughts, you can often make better decisions and have a more positive outlook towards life.
If you want to do something for you and you feel that you have space in your life, why not take up a new hobby or interest. Have you been wanting to learn the salsa for a while now, or fancy going to a golf tournament? Why not go for it? You could even ask someone to gift you it for Christmas. When we do the things we enjoy, we find it easier to deal with the things that we don’t.
Relationships are integral to our day-to-day lives, and taking time to talk to others can often help to lift your mood. Connecting with a friend, family member, loved one or stranger is a great way to boost oxytocin and soothe the mind and body. Taking time to laugh with friends about whatever stress you’re going through is also super helpful. Your problems come and go, but your friends are there to stay!
The most important relationship of all is the one we have with ourselves, so it’s important to take the time to check in with yourself. Try to be your own best friend and remember whatever happens you’re doing the best you can, and that’s all you can do. In the words of the celebrated philosopher Bruno Mars ‘you’re amazing - just the way you are!’ :)
Kindness advent calendar
The holiday season is a lot of fun, but can be really stressful - especially if we have a lot of responsibilities. The holiday season is a time of giving, which is great - but if we’re not giving to ourselves, we don’t always have the energy to give to others.
Make self-care a priority this December so that you’re recharged and ready to give to others.
Guided meditation audio
Meditation is a great way to overcome negative thoughts and emotions and achieve a calmer, more focused state of mind. Find somewhere calm and comfortable and take a few minutes to observe your breathing and body and notice what thoughts arise. You can use a guide to help you if you like. You can download a free guided meditation audio below:
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