Taking time to focus on self-care is essential to your wellbeing.
Modern living is nothing short of hectic. If we aren’t feeling overwhelmed at the sight of our never-ending to-do lists,
we feel stressed, burnt out, or worse, depressed. So what’s causing this? The answer could be a lack of self-care – the act of taking care of both your mind and body.
Making time for yourself on a daily basis can improve your self-esteem, lower your stress levels, and improve your overall wellbeing, but experts agree that we tend to overlook our personal needs for a variety of reasons. It’s important to realise that being good to yourself is an act of self-respect. By ignoring your own needs you’re more likely to become ill or make existing health concerns worse, plus there are also the emotional problems that come with neglecting yourself.
Self-love takes intention, time and daily practise!
Self-care to the rescue!
Self-care is a very personal thing – what recharges one person might feel draining for another, and there are no hard and fast rules on how to incorporate it into your life. However, mental health experts across the board agree that just 20 minutes a day spent doing something for yourself can have a huge impact on your overall wellbeing.
- Practise mindfulness. Live in the moment – be aware of your thoughts and your feelings.
- Declutter. Clear out both the physical and mental clutter that stresses you.
- Slow down. Stop rushing everywhere; leave a little bit earlier if you need to.
- Stay positive. Surround yourself with positive people and stop seeing your negative friends.
- Remember to breathe (and breathe correctly). Proper breathing should be deep, slow, rhythmic and through your nose. You should also try to breathe deeply into your abdomen, not just your chest.
Deep breaths should last three to five seconds breathing in, and three to five seconds breathing out.
- Laughter releases endorphins that improve your mood and immune system. It lowers levels of the stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine, and can also help to improve your management of physical pain.
- Unplug. Clear your mind by stepping away from your computer and turning off your phone.
- Pick up a good book. If reading is something you enjoy, set aside time each day to do so.
- Eat more fruit and veg, drink more water. Ensuring that you eat proper meals and stay hydrated is easy
to forget about when you’re feeling stressed.
- Perform random acts of kindness. A random act of kindness, no matter how small, is one of the greatest gifts you can give.
- Exercise. Regular exercise is good for the heart and soul! A 10-minute walk can be as beneficial as
a 45-minute workout.
- Connect with nature. Spending time outdoors can be incredibly soothing and is a natural antidepressant.
- Physical contact. Studies show that just 12 seconds of physical contact can help you feel more connected and may prevent you from getting sick – healthy touch can reduce blood pressure.
- Stress less. Find ways that help you to de-stress, and be sure to implement them when necessary.
- Learn to say no. Saying no (and meaning it) is a very important step in ensuring you have time for self-care.
- Compliment yourself. By learning to love yourself, you’ll be more encouraged and inclined to care for yourself.
- Daily meditation. If you can meditate, great! If not, find other, simpler ways to clear your mind, like relaxing in a bath or listening to soft music.
- Listen to music. Music causes the brain to release dopamine – the same feel-good chemical that surges
when we fall in love. Music can also help to lower anxiety and encourage relaxation, and even help insomniacs sleep.
- Get enough sleep. Go to bed an hour or two earlier each night – allow your body to recharge and
get the well-deserved rest it craves.
- Express gratitude. Find time either first thing in the morning or before you go to bed each night to count
the blessings in your life.
FEATURE: LAUREN FISCHER PHOTO: FOTOLIA.COM