This week sees the start of self-care week, a whole week dedicated to taking time out for you and your family’s health and wellbeing.
The event takes place annually and since its beginning in 2011, it has focused on promoting the importance of practicing regular self-care for individuals, families and communities.
Last year, Self-Care Awareness saw its most successful year, with over 200 organisations promoting the cause through social media, websites, print and media – the importance of self-care was even raised in parliament by Sir Kevin Barron MP! This year is set to be just as big and raise even more awareness.
Anyone and everyone can and should be practicing self-care and it is important to remember that self-care isn’t optional, it is vital to keeping us feeling as good as we possibly can, both inside and out, and it is also imperative to getting a good night’s sleep.
We often forget that in order to look after others or to perform at our best, we must first look after ourselves; we all lead stressful lives and that makes now as important as ever to take time out for us.
It is commonly mistaken that you need to spend lots of money on expensive trips or products to be able to practice self-care, which often leads to some people seeing self-care as unachievable, when really it can be as simple as taking the time to spend an hour reading a book that you’ve always meant to pick up, play a board game or complete a puzzle.
What’s more, people often forget that our wellbeing is entirely down to how we treat and speak to ourselves, if we are constantly telling ourselves how ‘we are not good enough’ or we don’t look a certain way, we are only damaging our perceptions of ourselves, which can be detrimental to both our wellbeing and mental health.
Ultimately, self-care doesn’t have to cost the earth or follow the latest trends.
Practicing self-care can mean different things to all of us and depends on what we like to do to relax and our current circumstances. For example, just because one person enjoys going for a run, it doesn’t mean that this particular form of self-care is going to work for you – focus on what you enjoy doing.
Taking the time to regularly practice self-care can be very beneficial to getting a good night’s sleep and can also improve our overall health and wellbeing at the same time. It is recommended that you do something relaxing and avoid anything that’s likely to have a negative impact on your health, such as consuming alcohol – ask yourself, ‘Is this going to bring me real joy and is it going to have a positive effect on my body and mind?’
If you’re looking for some inspiration then we’ve listed a few achievable ways that you could start your self-care journey below:
Take a walk outside
Walking not only gives you the daily exercise you need but it can be very beneficial as a self-care practice. Taking time out of your workday, on your lunch break for example, to take some air can change our brain activity and can even improve our memory! If we’re feeling anxious or stressed, being outdoors has a way of clearing our minds and ridding us of negative thoughts.
Get free of clutter
Spend time organising your wardrobe or emptying out the cupboard under the stairs, as sometimes a simple task like getting clutter-free can be all you need to relax – the phrase ‘tidy space, tidy mind’ has never been so apt.
Create a gratitude list
As humans, we have a tendency to feel like life isn’t on our side when we’re low or feeling anxious.
Writing out a list of examples of why we’re grateful can really help to maintain a positive outlook on life. However small, we all have something to be thankful for and small self-affirmations can be very beneficial if you’re not used to regularly practicing self-care.
Spend time with loved ones
Take time out of the day and surround yourself with people who bring joy and positivity to your day – and don’t worry, if physically spending time with loved ones isn’t possible then you can always give them a call! Having someone you can rely on to talk to gives you the option to talk things through, should you need to express emotions.
Take time to pamper
Taking time to enjoy a hot bath or face mask in the evening can not only be a great self-care habit but also is the ideal addition to your bedtime routine to promote a good night’s sleep.
Take a nap
Naps are a great form of self-care, so if nothing else helps then take some time out for a small power nap. It is recommended that we take naps for somewhere between 15-30 minutes in order to feel refreshed but not too groggy. Naps have been proven to boost creativity and memory, not to mention rest is key to allowing your body the chance to recharge.
Whatever you decide is the best self-care for you, it is important to make a habit of it. If not for yourself then for your sleep.
What do you do as part of your regular self-care routine?