International Self-care day
But what is Self-Care and how can we do it?
Self-care is a broad term for anything we do for ourselves solely for the purpose of looking after our body or minds. It means looking after yourself physically, emotionally and socially. There are many forms of self-care, from making sure you get enough sleep or are eating well, to taking up a hobby that helps you to relax.
Self-care is very important as it ensures we are doing all the things our body and mind need in order to function at their best. Unfortunately, self-care is often thought of as a luxury or an indulgence, rather than something essential. This means people often don’t prioritise wellbeing and as a result we end up feeling stressed, burnt out, tired and physically ill.
Self-care can fall into 3 main categories, physical, emotional and social. It’s important we have an awareness how each of these areas of our life can affect our overall feelings of health and happiness.
There is a strong connection between your body and mind, and you need to look after your body if you want it to work well. Be honest with yourself about how well you're looking after yourself. Are you getting enough sleep? Eating well? Getting enough exercise? If the answer is no to any of these things, how can you change this? Small things such as going for a lunch time walk can make a big difference. Maybe you could cook something healthy for you and your family or try having a warm bath before bed to wind down.
It’s important to have healthy ways to deal with difficult emotions like stress, anger and sadness. If we let feelings like worry or anxiety build up we can end up feeling overwhelmed. When we talk about emotional self-care, we are talking about the things you do to help manage these emotions. For some people, that might be getting physical, like going for a run or walking the dog. This helps to release some of that restless energy, use up stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, and increase dopamine levels (your happy hormone). For other people, it might be doing something you find relaxing or enjoyable, like reading a book, baking a cake or doing some artwork. Doing something you find pleasure in can help release happy hormones whilst focusing your attention elsewhere for a while giving your brain a much-needed break.
Our relationships with other people have an important impact on how we feel. If you’ve ever had an argument with your best friend or a family member, then you’ll know it can leave you feeling sick inside.
Sometimes we also need a break from all the pressures that come with trying to keep up with friends - that’s a form of self-care as well. If you find that you often feel stressed or anxious after spending time on social media channels or in group chats, then it might be a sign that you need a small break. Constantly comparing ourselves to others can be exhausting and can encourage that internal critic who makes us think we aren’t good enough. Try muting the group chat for 24 hours and unfollow any social media accounts that don’t make you feel empowered or inspired.
The important thing to remember is that we have to change the way we think about self-care. If you’re feeling tired or stressed out but keep putting off the things you enjoy to focus on the things you think you need to do, this could be a good sign you’re not putting yourself first. Try starting small and setting 10 minutes every day or 30 minutes every week that is time just for you to look after you!
If you feel this is something you would struggle with because you're not used to putting yourself first or you find it hard to say 'no' or to switch off, then perhaps Coaching could help you. Able Futures provide FREE Life Coaching for up to 9 months (for anybody in any employment in England). It’s completely confidential and can give you the time and space needed to reflect on what's important to you and help you move closer to a healthier, happier you!
Contact Able Futures directly by phone or through their website.