I’ve always been a pretty sensitive person but it’s taken me a long time to realise that this means I need to take extra care to ensure I don’t burn out. I’m all too guilty of saying yes to too much and not saving enough time for myself. It’s all very well for a while, but eventually, after one too many late nights and early mornings, something’s gotta give and that something is usually my mental wellbeing. When I’m not taking care of myself, I become more forgetful, I get stressed over tiny things, and I feel overwhelmed by everything.
We’re taught to feel guilty for taking time out or time for ourselves, but it’s one of the most important and healing things we can do. So, here are some ways to practice self-care for those times where you just need a little down time.
This is one of the most important things for me, I basically can’t function without a good night’s sleep. Try going to bed before midnight when you can, or using a sleep timer to help you wake up more easily (I use sleepyti.me and the Sleep Cycle app). Take a nap if you need it and learn to listen to your body when it’s saying ‘stop’. Read more about how to get a good night’s sleep.
2. Get out (and exercise)
Hating exercise and sport is engrained into my personality, but they’re not lying when they say it’s good for you. Do some stretches or yoga if you’re not up for something more active or do your usual fitness routine if you have one. Just getting outside helps too, take a stroll round the block or sit in a park for a while. Fresh air and natural light are particularly important if you spend most of your day inside, so try to get it where you can.
When you’re busy working, having a social life and keeping everything on track, anything longer than your 5 minute morning shower can seem like a chore. But sometimes it’s nice to just treat yourself to a mini-spa session. Take a long bath, do a face mask or paint your nails. If that doesn’t work for you, find your equivalent. Do whatever makes you feel good about yourself and don’t rush it. For added pampering, give yourself compliments too.
4. Spend time with the people you love
If you’re anything like me, being social when you’re feeling low can be the last thing you want to do. But spending time with people you love and people who love you can help lift you out of the funk. Whether it’s a quick phone call or hours spent chatting over a bottle of wine, I find it really helps to share what your feeling with others. Chances are once you’ve voiced the worry circling around in your brain, it will feel more manageable. And you know what they say about a problem shared.
5. Bake, cook, eat comfort food and drink tea
A few years ago I was going through a very stressful time and I baked a lot. Like all the time. It’s a great stress buster (knead that anger into the dough) and you get a tasty treat at the end, what’s not to love? Plus, your housemates will love you. I nearly always hate cooking but these days I’m getting into more as a form of taking care myself. I’m enjoying taking my time to make healthy filling meals, rather than quick and easy, but totally nutrition-less, dinners. But, even quicker than both these options, is to buy your favourite comfort food, get really cosy and have a cup of tea. You can go back to taking on the world after that.
These are just a few small ways to incorporate some self-care into your life. Remember, what works for one person might not work for someone else, so it’s really all about finding what helps you.
Take care x
If you liked reading this note, why not take a look through my Notes to Self series, a (mostly) weekly series of posts helping remind you, me, us to take better care of ourselves.
Image my own @mooreofthis