Who’s Looking After You?

We are well and truly back in the swing of things here, school is back, and work is ramping up. Now, hands up if the summer break didn’t go quite as planned? You know how it goes, grand plans to switch off and take time out, but you felt busier than ever and as a result are already feel burnt out! I am hearing the same from so many friends and colleagues, January was a blur of getting all the ‘things’ done with very little or no time out.

I get it, life is busy. We play the role of parent, partner, friend, employee, boss, the list goes on, how on earth are we really meant to take time out when we are juggling all of this? Well the reality is if we don’t take time out to look after ourselves, the  chances are that no one else will, and then what?

This is where self-care comes into play. Self-care sets you up to be mentally, physically, and emotionally equipped to handle the demands of life. Before you argue that you have no time or money for self-care, let me stop you: the cost of not taking care of yourself is much greater in the long run.

So, what exactly is self-care? Simply put it is self-initiated actions to stay healthy (mentally, physically and emotionally). It is listening to your mind and body and meeting its needs. Self-care will look different for everyone, but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Headspace have put together these 10 simple self-care tips to maximise well being. These are so easy for anyone to include in their everyday life – give it a go! 

1. Regularly engage in an activity that you find relaxing. Put aside a little time every day to do something that you really enjoy, such as going for a walk, gardening, listening to music or reading. Schedule it into your daily routine so that it becomes a natural part of your life. 

2. Practice regular relaxation. Try to squeeze in some yoga or meditation before starting your day. It can be helpful to visualise a safe, peaceful space e.g. a comforting room, a beautiful beach or lovely bush setting, and spend 5-10 minutes imagining this in your mind. 

3. Maintain your friendships. Connect regularly with friends and family and undertake activities you enjoy together. 

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are experiencing stress or worry it can help to talk to someone about it. You may like to speak to a friend, family member, you GP or a counsellor. Ask for help when you need it and accept help when it is offered – realise that you cannot do everything. 

5. Get regular exercise. This will help to reduce stress levels and improve your health. Try to find an activity you enjoy. Exercising with others can help you to stay motivated. Aim for at least 20 minutes a day; even a 10 minute walk will benefit you. 

6. Eat a nutritious, balanced diet. This can help with energy levels and stress management. Avoid consuming too much caffeine or sugar. It may help you to feel more energised in the short term, but can have negative effects in the long term. 

7. Be kind to yourself. A positive and compassionate attitude can help you manage difficult times. Encouraging and rewarding yourself for getting through a difficult period or achieving a goal, however small, will reinforce your self-confidence. 

8. Take some quiet time out for yourself, away from your usual demands, even if this is only for 15 minutes a day. For example, going for a walk, having a bath, having a cuppa or reading the newspaper. 

9. Plan something to look forward to, a holiday, day trip or an outing with friends. 

10. Get good quality sleep. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Switch off all electronics at least an hour before going to bed so that you can wind down. If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, try a relaxation technique or quiet activity until you feel sleepy again. 

When we focus on looking after ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally, we are ensuring that we are equipped to get the best out of ourselves. 

As the old saying goes – you can’t pour from an empty cup, so, are you looking after yourself? 

Developing a self care plan is vital to ensuring that you are continually looking after yourself. Click here for more information on how to develop a self care plan and start looking after yourself.

Looking for something else?

Emma also has a podcast.