I find that looking after ourselves is very often at the bottom of our to-do lists, in fact it rarely seems to make it on to the list at all. Practicing self-care can have many benefits, boosting our sense of wellbeing, our ability to cope with change or deal with stress and generally improve the quality of our lives.
So what exactly is self-care? It is intentionally doing things to look after our emotional, physical and mental health. That sounds straight forward doesn’t it? If only putting it in to practice was that simple.
There are so many things that get in the way of us looking after ourselves. We often put the needs of others before our own without realising that if we are handling things better then often those around us will benefit. We may believe that doing things for ourselves is somehow selfish, or that we don’t deserve to feel good about ourselves. What ever may have been holding you back, showing yourself some self-care is something that can have some really positive effects.
So what things that we can do to look after ourselves? I’ve made a list of ten, although there are many more:
- Think about the things you enjoy doing or find relaxing and see if you can do any of these on a regular basis.
- Make a list of the things you don’t want to have in your life, and look at ways to remove some of them.
- Take some time out. This may require putting in place some boundaries. If you are a Mum, it could involve telling your children that you are going to take a bath and don’t want to be disturbed for an hour (obviously dependant on the age of the children). It might mean putting your phone on silent for an hour, or leaving your desk at work during your lunch break.
- Look at whether you are getting enough quality sleep, if you aren’t is there anything that you can do to improve your bed time routine?
- Take up a mindfulness practice or spend time in prayer or meditation.
- Take a nice long bubble bath using your favourite bubbles or bath oil (a calming sent like Lavender can work well ).
- Go for a walk. A walk in the countryside or a park is ideal, but just walking to the end of the road and back can give us a little bit of space, a change of scene, some fresh air and exercise.
- Take time to practice a sport or physical activity.
- Spend time with people we care about who also care about us.
- Re-read a favourite book.
I hope this list gives you ideas for things that you could try. I wish you all the best as you seek to take care of yourself.