10 Ways to Improve Your Self-care
10 Ways to Improve Your Self-care
10th October is World Mental Health Day, so why not review your own self-care, especially during these challenging times? Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- How can I look after myself better, both physically and mentally?
- What can I do to improve my overall self-care?
- How committed am I to making improvements on a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being completley committed? If it’s less than 10, what is the reason for that? How can you make it to 10? Write down some SMART goals to make improvements.
- What would I say to my best friend if he/she were in my situation?
Then start to look at your lifestyle holistically:
1. Examine your diet: Many people ate too much during the first lockdown so now is a good time to review what you’re eating and ensure it is a healthy, balanced diet. If you are in doubt about how to eat more healthily there are a lot of resources online or invest in a virtual consultation with a good nutritionalist.
2. Get more sleep: A study by Aviva found that up to 16 million adults in the UK suffer from sleepless nights, with over 30% saying they have insomnia and almost a quarter only surviving on 5 hours sleep a night. With the increased worry caused by the impact of Covid-19 many individuals are experiencing disrupted sleep, which can result in irritability, mood changes, difficulty focusing and remembering. Chronic sleep deprivation or burnout are sometimes misdiagnosed as depression, so try to get in enough hours. If you have difficulty getting to sleep then limit your overall caffeine intake and exposure to blue light in the evenings.
3. Get more exercise: Especially if you’re working from home, you may have ended up being glued to the laptop and leading more of a sedentary lifestyle, so break up the day by going for a walk or run, doing yoga – whatever you enjoy. Exercise is proven to release endorphins and fresh air promotes better sleep.
4. Try to watch less TV by doing something more creative, like taking up a new hobby, such as learning a language or a musical instrument. You will feel like you’ve achieved something, which will boost your mood and help to banish the Winter Blues.
5. Deal with your Negative Thoughts and Inner Critic: Your attitude determines your thoughts and behaviour. According to the quote by Buddha: ‘All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think is what we become.’ So, despite all the gloom and doom try to keep optimistic by concentrating on the positives and on what you can control.
6. Avoid the Naysayers: We’re experiencing some very challenging times so try to avoid those people who are constantly moaning as they can bring down your mood. Same with the news and social media – limit your exposure to the bad news. Reach out to your supportive friends to talk through problems, don't bottle them up.
7. Take your breaks, especially if you are working from home. If you can, spend 10 minutes every day doing absolutely nothing – no phone, no radio, no TV, no talking. You should feel energized and more creative as a result.
8. Stay focused on the present: Practise being grateful for what you do have instead of thinking about what you want or can’t have, or the events that you've had to cancel this year. If you’re not used to meditating, try some short, guided mindfulness meditations to ground you.
9. Pat yourself on the back! Reward yourself for little wins, like finishing that report, or clearing out the garden shed! Forgive yourself for making mistakes and don’t keep beating yourself up and regretting things; remember you’re only human, not bionic, and so cut yourself some slack.
10. Learn to Manage Stress and develop Resilience: Have your own toolkit of coping mechanisms and trust that things will work out. A good book to improve your physical and mental health is the Four Pillars by Dr Chatterjee.
Remember 90% of what you worry about doesn’t happen. You can’t do anything about the other 10%!
Stay positive, stay safe!