After an incredibly bumpy year, looking after our mental health is more important than ever. From taking the time to unwind and focusing on our fitness levels, to making sure we eat the right foods and getting enough shut-eye, there are plenty of self-care tips we can engage in to improve ourselves mentally.
So what is self-care? Simply put, it’s recognized as the practice of looking after our happiness and mental wellbeing, especially if we’re stressed. Self-care is about putting ourselves first.
Although this sounds easy, simple things like sleeping, eating well, and exercising more can prove a challenge, and can require a great deal of discipline and perseverance to prioritize.
Below are seven viable ways to look after your mental wellbeing which shouldn’t take up a great deal of time or cost a fortune. Why not get started today?
1. Do something you’re great at
Ask yourself what it is that you love doing. This could be running, yoga, painting, cooking, or singing. It’s important to indulge in activities that we can lose ourselves in. Whether it’s a new activity, something we used to enjoy, or something we seldom get the chance to do, doing something we’re good at is not only a confidence booster, as it helps to combat stress too.
2. Allow yourself to unwind
From tending to other people to managing a busy work schedule, staying busy does feel good (especially if we’re trying to take our mind off of other things). However, it can also lead to burnout. Remember that now and again, it’s fine to do nothing. Whether your version of relaxation is running a bath, reading a book, going for a walk, or listening to music, it’s important to allow yourself time to unwind.
Taking a break can make the tasks we’ve been trying to attack all week seem much easier, can give you more energy and a new lease of life, and most importantly, you’ll feel rested. Think of relaxation as an investment in your long-term health!
3. Grow plants and flowers at home
Irrespective of whether you have a garden or not, there is a bloom, shrub, plant, and herb to suit all. Nurturing blooms is not only therapeutic, as our green friends also help to purify the air, add colour to our homes, and a hit of fragrance.
There are many starter kits available online, all of which will help you unleash your inner gardener, including microgreens, windowsill herbs, and bold blooms. Alternatively, there a number of hardy houseplants that require a minimum amount of care, such as snake plants and ZZ plants, which are perfect for a first-time gardener.
4. Eat well
Our bodies, just like our cars, require fuel to work. Put the wrong fuel in them (or no fuel) and they won’t function in the way they are supposed to. A lack of food and water can make us irritable, sluggish, and in the worst-case scenario, ill. Irrespective of your workload, it’s important to make time in your schedule to sit down and eat a hearty, healthy meal.
If you’re unsure what foods are good for energy levels or how many calories you’re supposed to consume in a day, turn to a nutritional app for some help.
5. Get in some shut-eye
This may sound like a simple task, especially to those lucky people who manage to pass out as soon as their head hits the pillow, but for others, sleep is a huge problem. A lack of sleep can be detrimental to our health, and just like a lack of food, can cause irrational behavior, skin breakouts, a lack of energy, and low concentration levels.
If you’re struggling to sleep, ask yourself why. Reading, switching off from tech a few hours before bedtime, drinking camomile tea, investing in a lavender diffuser, and downloading a sleep app are all great ways to improve your sleep patterns.
Just as sleeping is important, so is exercise. Scientists recommend we do this earlier on in the day, so why not get into a routine? Set your alarm half an hour earlier and practice yoga, go for a run, do a HIIT workout or enjoy a cycle. Whatever your preferred exercise, doing something active before beginning work is a great way to release those much-needed endorphins and set yourself up for the day ahead.
7. Stay connected
Catching up with friends, family, and colleagues face-to-face is something we all enjoy. However, this isn’t always possible. Whether you live further afield or your schedule doesn’t allow for it, there are other ways to stay connected. Tech allows us to reach out to people all over the globe.
From arranging virtual dinner dates and coffee catch-ups to meetings and exercise classes, there are numerous ways to engage with friends and family online. If technology isn’t your thing, pen someone a letter or send them a present, such as a beautiful bouquet of fresh blooms.
Sources: mentalhealth.org.uk, theawarenesscentre.com
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