How to practise self-care
What is self-care?
It’s a broad term but essentially self-care is about prioritising your wellbeing through healthy behaviours.
Self-care can involve any action taken to improve your physical, mental, or emotional health. However, it’s important to choose wisely. For example, having an extra slice of cake can give you a short-term mood boost, but it might end up harming your wellbeing in the long run.
So here are some ideas to make yourself feel better that won’t break the bank.
Get enough sleep
Most adults need seven to eight hours of good quality sleep on a regular schedule each night. Without it, we may feel irritable, fatigued, and unable to work at our best. If you’re struggling to get enough sleep, we have an article here which has lots of tips for staying well rested.
As with the cake example above, sometimes we use food as a quick way to feel better. It’s absolutely fine to treat yourself from time to time, but be wary of relying on unhealthy foods to bolster your mood. In the long run, a healthy balanced diet will make a big difference to how well you feel.
Regular exercise doesn't have to be very strenuous or sporty to be effective – to start with you could try gentle exercise like going for a short walk, yoga or swimming. The important thing is to pick something you enjoy doing, so you're more likely to stick with it.
This can be as simple as spending ten minutes alone with your thoughts. It’s important for your emotional health to check in on how you are feeling, even if you’re experiencing negative feelings like anxiety or sadness.
We have an article here on mindfulness which is a good starting point.
Choose something that works for you. Often people find it calming to do something practical, like gardening, knitting, or cooking. Getting out into a green environment, such as a park or the countryside, is especially good for you.
A digital detox can be a surprisingly effective way to improve your mood. Taking a break from the news cycle, reducing your social media use, or reading a book instead of watching TV will allow you to let go of the stress that stems from constant connectivity.
Catching up with friends and family
Spending time with those we love is a great way to feel better. So much of our emotional wellbeing depends on meaningful connections with other people, so staying in touch is essential to maintain these relationships.
You don’t need loads of time or money to practise self-care – the aim is simply to find ways in daily life to look after yourself. It’s a complement to, not a substitute for medical intervention, but it can be an effective path to improve your overall wellbeing.