When was the last time you really slowed down and took care of yourself?
We often assume that good health is the default, and it’s only when something goes wrong that we realise wellbeing should be higher up the ever growing list of responsibilities.
Often, it seems that there is a list of people to take care of that come before yourself, and we can be left feeling like there is no time to prioritize our own health and maintenance. Many of us are running on empty by default. But if you aren’t choosing to invest that time in better physical and mental health, it can have serious consequences.
Without taking time out to assess your body and mind and give yourself a break, you are placing limitations on your own potential. You can never truly be successful without some degree of self care and forming healthy habits. If we ignore the warning signs, things can unravel pretty fast. We may even find ourselves turning to the wrong coping mechanisms, like processed foods or alcohol – things that can take control of our lives so much that we even end up seeking rehab to support a recovery.
So it’s clear that self-care is no small, insignificant issue, but a foundation for looking after yourself and living your best life. So, how to do you make self-care a regular habit that becomes a part of your day without adding to the never-ending to do list?
5 Self-Care Habits To Cleanse Your Soul
Understand The Value of Alone Time
Modern life is hugely focused on the value of togetherness and sharing – from the resurging popularity of crafting groups to being encouraged to share every moment on social media – and that can be quite a draining experience. Rarely do we see being alone as a positive thing, but actually, time spent in your own company is enormously important for mental wellbeing. Not only does it help you to develop a vital emotional resilience, it allows space for you to process thoughts and examine your feelings without the constant echo of the feedback loop we are encouraged to seek on our every activity. In fact, if you are an introvert, too much time spent around other people can be highly draining.
So make time to be alone with your thoughts, and create that space in your life – whether it’s a 20 minute power walk in the morning, a solitary aromatherapy bath a couple of times a week in the evening, or sitting alone with a latte and a good book on a Sunday morning. The luxury of being alone and being authentically yourself is something everyone can benefit from.
Choose a Creative Outlet
The value of a creative pursuit is that it allows for self-expression on your own terms. You may not be the type of person that feels comfortable expressing yourself verbally, so choosing another medium to process your feelings and work through them can be enormously valuable. You may need to try a few things before finding what suits you- you could search for a local art class or writers group, or if you’re musical look to develop that. Once you find the particular niche that suits you, you’ll have an outlet that functions like the best therapy to release the pressure.
Keep Track Of What You Achieve
We do a lot in an average week- so much so that sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of just how much we’ve gotten done. When you feel like you’re drowning in to-do’s, or progress on a project seems painfully slow, it can be a great idea to keep some kind of a log or use a habit forming app to track your momentum. Seeing everything you’ve done in black and white- and having the satisfaction of physically crossing it off a list – reminds us how much we’re really achieving. Sometimes that can be all you need to spur you on when the going gets tough or just to take it easy on yourself and celebrate how far you’ve come.
Consider a Digital Detox
Today’s culture is very much always on, and with the constant flow of status updates, news feeds and more even the most level headed of us are subjected to a constant, low-level pressure to keep up with streams of new information. With the designers of some of our favourite social media admitting recently that platforms are deliberately engineered to be as addictive as possible, taking the occasional break is a great idea. Even if you don’t feel as if it has that much of a grip on you, the pressure can be insidious. So a temporary detox is always a good idea to create some space in our overcrowded minds. From apps that block your social channels for a specified period of time to just putting your phone in the drawer for an evening occasionally, it’s a smart move for your wellbeing. And one thing everyone should do is ban phones and tablets from the bedroom, where the blue light they emit can disrupt production of the hormones that signal it’s time to sleep to the brain and body.
Express Your Gratitude
When we’re thankful, it changes our entire mindset, taking the focus away from petty problems and making us realise how good we really have it. Keeping a gratitude journal has become all the rage recently – and simply getting into the practice of writing down two or three things each day that we’re thankful for can have a big impact on our mental health. Anything from a compliment from a friend to spotting a bright bunch of blooms counts – it’s all about appreciating the little things and everyday pleasures in our daily lives. This simple practice can be truly transformative.
Also, remember to be kind to others and yourself. Don’t allow your inner monologue to turn to self-critical thoughts about what you could have done differently – just be honest with yourself, see any setbacks as a learning curve and take what you can from them, and support and encourage yourself as you would a friend. Save the stress for when it’s really needed!