Top 5 Self-Care Tips
In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it is very easy to get caught up in everything that is going on and forget to take care of yourself. When we are stressed and constantly busy, we do tend to lose sight of what our priority should be, and that is of course… ourselves! Many people feel that there are not enough hours in the day to finish off their work, household chores, and keep up with their over-planned schedules. But what we should be doing, is prioritising some time every day to winding down, de-stressing and having some well deserved ‘me time’. We are all way too hard on ourselves and trying to manage multiple responsibilities can rapidly lead to burnout.
Millions of us are affected by mental illness every year, and data shows that last year, one in three work sickness notes were for mental health reasons, and in this year’s Mental Health Survey, 74% of people have felt so stressed that they have been overwhelmed or unable to cope. As the population for those affected grows, awareness of mental health has also risen in recent years. Many celebrities have been sharing their stories, more awareness days have been created, and people are coming together to say it is okay, not to be okay!
Read on to learn the top 5 self-care tips that you may not have known you needed to help you to feel great again.
Make your physical health a priority
It might sound like a no-brainer, as everyone knows that regular exercise is good for the body, but exercising is also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health and wellbeing. When you exercise, it helps to switch your mind off and your body starts to release endorphins which will trigger a positive feeling, helping to relieve your stress. Not only will physical exercise improve your physical fitness, but it is also known for helping you to sleep better, boosting your overall mood and improving your memory. You do not need to be an exercise enthusiast to reap the benefits! Regardless of whether you played netball for England or if you’ve never run a mile in your life, getting into a routine of exercising can be a great way to improve your wellbeing.
The key to staying motivated is to do activities that you enjoy and participating in a physical activity doesn’t mean that you have to attend intense boot camp classes and flip tyres! Find something that will boost your mood; this could mean walking around going shopping, doing yoga, cycling up to the shops instead of driving, or even playing a few games of fetch with your dog (as long as they can bring the ball back).
Talk to people
Evidence shows that having strong relationships with friends and family is important to our mental health and wellbeing. Building and growing connections with the people around you will make you feel happier and also more secure! There is a significant stigma around mental health, but being open and talking about your problems can help break down that stigma. You don’t have to be an expert to listen to someone’s problems or to share your own but speaking out to someone close to you is the first step which will help you to get better! Talking about your feelings shows your own strengths, and it will help you to take control of your life. It can be difficult, but there is a lot of help out there that will get you on the road to recovery! You might find it easier to talk to someone while doing something that you enjoy, e.g. walking or cooking a meal together. If talking to someone you know is too daunting, speak to a professional, they are trained to be welcoming and help you in the best possible way, and they can cater their sessions to your personal needs.
Get a good night’s sleep
The benefits of sleeping are massively underestimated, and many people think it isn’t important to get your 7-9 hours of sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to our physical and emotional health, which is why catching some extra Zzz’s at night is a crucial factor in our self-care guide. If your body doesn’t get enough sleep, it can heighten your stress hormones and have a negative impact on your fast-paced life. Rest has been found to improve your memory. When you are sleeping, even though you are busy dreaming, your brain is consistently storing memories and helping you to process and remember things better. Do you ever feel like you’re always the first one to get a cold in winter? Sleep will help your body to fight back as it encourages the production of protein molecules which provides your body with an extra chance at fighting an upcoming infection. Have you ever had a night with disturbed sleep and felt like you haven’t slept a wink? Everyone knows that on those days the world is your enemy and you can really struggle to engage with the real world. Getting your recommended 7-9 hours sleep will not only do you a world of good but it will help you to feel calmer, happier and more reasonable the next day. If you struggle to get to sleep make sure you go to bed at a reasonable time, ensure your bedroom is a relaxing environment, and take time to wind down and relax before going to bed. If you still find yourself struggling, try using an app such as Headspace to help you to drift off.
Take a look at what you eat
Nutrition helps all of the systems in our body to function properly. Having a good diet has so many benefits and not only physical health benefits but also mental health benefits. If you have a balanced diet, it will help you to maintain a happy and healthy weight. It will also provide your body with energy for the day ahead, promote good sleep and help you to feel better. A healthy, balanced diet should try to include a variety of fruit and vegetables, base meals on starchy foods such as potatoes, rice, or pasta, drink dairy alternatives such as almond or soya milk, eat foods with lots of protein like fish, eggs, meat or beans, and make sure you drink plenty of fluids. Now we are not saying ban all chocolate, takeaways, and crisps from your life, but make sure you are eating them in moderation and not binging.
Make it a snack to look forward to as a reward or treat!
Sometimes when life gets too busy, we forget to laugh and enjoy ourselves. Being positive will help you, but also have a knock-on effect upon the people around you! It doesn’t matter what makes you happy; it could be chilling out with your loved ones, watching a film, going rock climbing, or going shopping, whatever it is you need to make time to do the things you enjoy. Even if it is a 10-minute read of your favourite book or a 5-minute catch up with a friend, make time in your schedule for things that will have a positive impact on your life. If you are bored with the same 9-5 routine, try something new. You could even join a group on social media to explore other options or activities that you haven’t considered before. You could end up finding an activity that you want to pursue or even a new career path. It’s easy to fall into routines and habits of doing the things that we know that we like, but there is no better way to grow as an individual than to try something new!
If you are looking for ways to improve your happiness or need some additional support to help you to overcome depression, get in touch today and learn more about what counselling could do for you.