We are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of self-care; in other words, looking after ourselves and keeping healthy and fit both mentally and physically. There are many ways that we can look after ourselves; with lots of little steps that we can take right away that can actually make a huge difference to our overall health. Despite an abundance of advice from official health organisations on how to improve and maintain our well-being, many people feel daunted by the prospect and continue to make unhealthy choices and do things that can have a significant negative impact on their lives. In times we need self-care the most – such as stressful periods – we are also more likely to neglect our well-being, which can result in our physical and mental health taking a downward turn.
You might find that you’re one of those people who gets into an effective self-care routine, but a change in your routine easily sends you off-track. For instance, for many weeks you are eating healthily during the week, limiting alcohol consumption at the weekend and relaxing every Friday evening with a bubble bath and facemask, followed by a movie or playing your favourite online slots games such as starburst or Chili Heat. However, one busy weekend – perhaps including a heavy night out for a friend’s birthday or additional work – disrupts the routine; you then feel stressed and find it hard to get back on track. This is the time it is most important to practice self-care. Disruptions to routine is a normal aspect of life that affects us all; don’t feel guilty about it and instead prioritise time to take care of yourself. When we feel negative feelings, we are more likely to feel we don’t deserve self-care and instead do the very things that make us feel worse. It’s hard, but you can get out of this vicious cycle.
How to achieve this? Practice self-care every day, even if it’s something small such as taking 5 minutes to have a coffee and read a chapter of a great book. You can start right now with our effective tips.
Drink More Water
If you don’t drink enough water to keep you optimally hydrated, you’ll be amazed at the difference it can make. Drinking between 7 and 8 glasses per day should have you feel energised, fresh and alert, as well as having benefits to your appearance such as clearer skin. If you find it difficult to drink much plain water, try a fruit-infused bottle for a juicy kick.
Tidy the House
Ok, it’s not the most appealing tip on our checklist. However, the benefits of a tidy house are great for your well-being; it can bring clarity of mind and boost your productivity and motivation. This is even more important if you work from home. Before you tackle anything else, blitz the house. Practice tidying up mindfully and it can actually be quite enjoyable!
Take a Social Media Break
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have their perks, but they can also act as an enormous distraction. Do you find yourself mindlessly picking up your phone and refreshing your newsfeed far too often, wasting time in the process? Or perhaps you feel a little inferior when you have checked your social media accounts, after being exposed to friends’, influencers’ and celebrities’ ‘perfect’ lives. Rationally, you probably realise that everyone showcases only the best aspects of their lives and that nobody is perfect, but still, it’s easier than you think to be affected subliminally by the incessant documentation of idyllic existences. Take a break; you can deactivate your accounts temporarily and focus on yourself for a while. It’s amazing how quickly you can feel better without social media taking over your day.
Write a Gratitude Diary
Here’s a great idea of how you can replace your social media time. Keep a little diary (treat yourself to a beautiful notebook) and write down something every day that you are grateful for. If you haven’t done much that day, it could be something big and obviously significant, such as your family or your good health. If you have had an active day, you could consider the smaller things such as a delicious coffee in a local café, or a successful meeting at work. You may not feel like completing your gratitude diary on a bad day, but it is all the more important for shifting your mindset and helping you return to the positivity that helps your well-being.
Read a Book
Reading is an excellent way to wind down, but many of us feel that we don’t have time for it. If you have time to check social media or watch Netflix in the evening, then you’ve got time for reading. Just 10 minutes a day can improve your mood and your sleep. There are many great books and magazines out there, and it needn’t be expensive; you don’t need a Kindle or lots of new books, instead you could join your local library and borrow books for free.
Focus on Your Skincare
This is a simple yet crucial aspect of self-care. Looking after your skin is very important for your overall mental health and self-esteem. You could make a small improvement such as ensuring that you remove all of your make up before getting into bed; waking up with fresh skin in the morning daily feels wonderful and can greatly improve the quality of your skin. You could take a few minutes out of your day to give your skin a mini-massage, improving blood-flow to the surface and keeping your skin clear as well as reducing wrinkles. Use a face mask once a week as a luxury treat for your skin too – it will thank you for it!
Take Time for Things You Enjoy
Finally, it is super important to take time out to do things that make you feel happy. Even if these are ‘unhealthy’ activities – several drinks at the pub with your friends, eating pizza or dessert or playing your favourite online games, for example. A healthy, happy life is all about balance, and looking after yourself means finding the right balance between healthy choices and doing things you enjoy. Even if your enjoyable pastime feels unproductive, you are treating yourself as though you deserve a break which reinforces the notion that you are worthy of a treat.