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Taking better care of yourself, or self-care, isn’t just a trend, it’s essential. Unfortunately, many of us overlook it until it’s too late.
Sometimes life just gets in the way and it’s just easier to just stay as you are rather than change. Others view self-care as selfish, and so they don’t take a step back from their everyday lives and loved ones to do something that will improve their own wellbeing. It makes sense, but that doesn’t make it right. Especially if you consider some of the physical and mental health side effects that can result from neglecting self-care.
Because you’re here, it’s safe to assume that self-care has made its way on to your agenda. Here are some simple things you can do to take better care of yourself.
They don’t say “laughter is the best medicine” for no reason!
When you laugh out loud – and I have a particular fondness for a loud belly laugh – it helps to cheer you (and others) up. It can also decrease stress levels and improve your mental health. So there really is no better excuse for watching an old episode of Friends… or seven. You could also try hanging out with some of your funniest friends, watching a comedy movie, or hitting a stand-up comedy gig.
Turn Up The Tunes
Music can be super therapeutic. So think about the music that lifts you up. Is there a particular song or type of music that gives you a boost? Next time you’re feeling a bit low, pop on your fave tunes and let the music take control. You could even let your hair down and dance – you know, dance like no ones watching! This will help to get your blood pumping and endorphins flowing!
Hit The Shops
While I won’t encourage shopping as a frequent coping mechanism, it certainly can be a helpful mood-booster now and then!
Purchasing new clothes, in particular, can help you to feel more confident and improve your self-esteem, so why not hit the town and buy that pair of shoes you’ve had your eye on?
Pain can be distressing. Your first step in this instance is clearly going to be your doctor, who might then recommend physio. A good physiotherapist can help to pinpoint the source of your pain, give you some treatment, and show you some simple exercises to minimise pain and injury in the future.
If you’re a homebody like me, getting outside can be a challenge – but I assure you it isn’t doing your physical or your mental health any good. Try to get outside for at least 15 minutes every day, and allow the sun and the fresh air to work its magic. If you’ve been cooped up for a while, start with five minutes in your garden – without technology – and go from there.
Om It Out
The positive effects of meditation and yoga on a persons mental and physical health have been proven time and time again. They can help to reduce stress and anxiety levels, ease depression, ease pain and boost energy levels.
With so many health benefits, why not check out a class, or pick up a cheap yoga mat and take up a home yoga practice. Yoga channels like Yoga by Adriene, are a great way to get started and to keep it up!
Sleep It Off
There are many things that can disturb our sleep, with stress being one of the biggest. Unfortunately, lack of sleep can lead to increased stress levels. To improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep, find ways to relax before going to bed. A nice warm shower or bath can do the trick, as can reading a few pages in a book, meditating, or doing some light stretches. You should also aim to switch off from tech two hours before going to bed to give your brain time to wind down!
We all know that exercise is a great way to support physical and mental health, however if you are anything like me, the thought of spending hours alone in the gym isn’t very appealing (those days are done and dusted).
Instead of slogging it out at the gym, why not join a class, get outdoors for a walk with a friend, or start exercising at home. There’s some fabulous You Tube channels perfect for in-home exercise! And if you’re lacking in motivation, enlisting the help of a personal trainer is a great idea – there’s even local PT’s who can meet you and your friends with equipment at a local park (thus by-passing the gym altogether). Why not look into it?
Ditch Social Media
Social media is great for staying connected with each other. It’s no surprise, then, that so many people are glued to their phones, laptops and tablets. Unfortunately, because of trolls, bad news, and photoshopped celebrities, social media can also be a nightmare. Luckily, unlike an actual nightmare, you can do something to stop social media affecting you; you can just tune out! Why not temporarily close down or permanently close your social media accounts for a while, and go back to them (or not) when you are feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world.
Cluttered homes can lead to you feeling stressed and anxious, which is the exact opposite of how your home should make you feel. To combat this, go on a decluttering mission. Work your way through each room, tidying as you go. Make a pile of things to give or throw away. It might take a while, but once you’re finished you’ll feel calmer and have as sense of accomplishment.
Note: Just make sure you actually get rid of what you have set aside! I’ll confess that I’ve had a couple of bags sitting here for a few months – whoops!
Taking care of others is a great thing to do, but to be able to do that you first need to take care of yourself. It isn’t selfish, it is essential, and it’s something that you can do fairly easily, so there’s no excuse not to.
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