As the nights become longer, morning’s grow colder, pumpkin spice becomes acceptable and fallen leaves turn to crunch under lined boots, we crave warmth and comfort in all aspects of our lives. Whether it’s layering up to brave the drop in temperature or jumping into comfy clothes after a long day, creating a self-care routine designed for our own needs is essential. With a potential second lockdown on the horizon, stress levels are peaking alongside feelings of uncertainty and low moods for many. Self-care has soared in demand this year as we’ve all been forced to spend more time with ourselves, and perhaps so has the pressure to follow what seems like another online trend.
Still, self-care isn’t always bubble baths and pampering sessions, although there is nothing wrong with these methods, the importance of it lies in your own benefit. Taking a long bath works for some, but for others zoning out on a computer game is the perfect act of self-care. When a suggested self-care causes you more discomfort than it relieves stress, it’s time to ditch the method. The idea of self-care after all is to develop individual preferences of taking care of one’s body, mind and soul.
- What helps you unwind after a stressful day?
When you strip away the guilt and the need to be productive 24/7, what works as a stress reliver for you? It may be an energy-using task such as doing a workout or it could be something that requires little to no concentration. So long as it isn’t harmful towards yourself or others, whatever helps you to relieve stress doesn’t necessarily have to be found on Pinterest images or TikTok feeds to be a form of self-care.
2. Prioritise and make time
It doesn’t matter how busy your schedule is, even ten minutes of self-care deserves to be pencilled into your diary. We often spend so much of our time looking after family or focusing on our careers which of course is natural, but WE as individuals are also a priority. Without making time for ourselves how can we expect to be able to provide quality of care to those around us?
Considering taking time out for you is all well and good but you must take action to ensure you go ahead with it rather than come up with an excuse. Write down on a piece of paper, a diary or notes on your phone what day and at what time you would like to carry out X activity as part of some self-care time.
3. What’s missing from your life?
Practising a hobby or scheduling in time to socialise could be a form of taking care of yourself, for example, an extrovert tends to thrive off the energy of those around them. Figure out what’s missing from your life, whether it’s exercising, spending time with family, reading or watching your favourite TV show, incorporate this into your weekly or daily routines.
4. Seek out ways of feeling better
There is of course a difference between resorting to default coping mechanisms and going out of your way to practise healthy coping mechanisms, both when life is challenging and when it is a breeze. Contradicting negative, self-destructive thoughts with positive, factual evidence about yourself is a form of caring for your mind. Drowning out negative, self-destructive thoughts with a bottle of wine may help in the short-term but it can become damaging in the long-term.
5. Focus on what works for you
It’s easy to get caught up in following what’s hot and the latest meditation your favourite celebrity is practising, but beyond keeping up with trends it’s key that you discover what works for you. Don’t be afraid to try new things or even revisit old hobbies – a fresh mindset can make a large difference.
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Ciao for now x