Incorporating small self-care principles into your every day life is sooo important. Some of the self-care habits I’m talking about today are still quite new to me, whereas others I’ve been doing for years. Either way I have found each and every one of these helpful to me one way or another. So I hope this inspires some of you to go a little further for yourself and develop some healthy self-care habits to benefit your mindset and well-being.
At the beginning of this year I made a resolution to work harder to change my outlook on certain things. To maintain a more positive mindset. One of the most effective ways I’ve done this so far is by keeping a daily positivity journal, where I write something good that’s happened every day. It ensures that even if I’ve had a really low day or felt like the day has been absolutely awful, it really encourages me to find that silver lining. For anyone who worries about not having enough time for a daily journal; morning mantras are another possibility. So try taking just 10 seconds to say something positive to yourself in the mirror at the start of each day, to get your day off on the right foot.
Don’t be afraid to ask yourself the tough questions: ‘do I like how I handled that situation earlier today?’, ‘are there qualities I want to improve about myself?’ Reflective practice can be so beneficial because it almost forces you to consider things from different angles and learn from your experiences. So here are some questions to ask yourself right now, and you’ll see how easy self-reflective practice can be:
- Am I living a life that is true to myself?
- Do the people I’m giving my time to really make me happy?
- Am I taking the best possible care of myself mentally and physically?
- Do I let myself get stressed by things that aren’t in my control?
- Am I holding onto something I need to let go of?
Having an Evening Routine
Having a ‘bedtime’ might initially seem a bit childish, but I’ve found that by aiming to get into bed by a particular time every night (not necessarily sleeping, but in bed) really helps to establish some consistency for my body and my mind. You should always aim for at least eight hours sleep per night where possible, and what I usually like to do is have an early-ish dinner (to give my food more time to digest before laying down); then go and have a shower/bath and get into pyjamas and my fluffy dressing gown which I absolutely adore(!); and make a herbal tea to take up to bed with me.
I usually get into bed for about 10:00/10:15pm to watch some YouTube or Netflix. However I try not to use social media so that I can switch off properly before sleep. I personally feel so much better when I have a consistent routine, because just little things like that can make you feel a lot more like you have your sh*t together haha. When it gets to about 11:00pm, I spray calming sleep mist onto my pillow and put on my nightly meditation.
I’ve been doing meditations right before I go to sleep most nights for almost two years now. I used to lay awake for ages struggling to sleep because my mind would wander to all sorts of places. I’d often wind up stressing about things that had happened that day or what could happen the following day, etc.
When I was small my Mum had bought me some mindfulness music CDs to listen to as I fell asleep. Sadly somewhere along the line I must’ve lost the habit and completely forgot about them. But then in 2018 I started listening to guided meditations on Spotify/YouTube.
Once I had looked further into the practice of meditation it was even more motivation for me to do it. Not only does it reduce stress and help control anxiety, it lengthens your attention span, improves sleep, fights addictions and controls pain. It’s been scientifically-proven that pain we feel is largely linked to our mindset, therefore if we are less stressed, our physical pain will be reduced.
Seek Help If You Need It
If you’re going to take anything from this today, let it be this. Talking to somebody about how I was feeling took me way longer than it should have, but it was such a weight off my shoulders when I did. One thing that held me back from talking to the doctor was this warped perception of ‘what if they think I’m being stupid?’ or ‘I know that people have gone through so much worse so I don’t deserve to feel this way’. But in reality, all feelings are valid and the doctor is never going to disregard how you feel.
I was diagnosed with OCD and depression, which I’ve now been on medication for for 6 months. Personally I think I’ve come such a long way in that time. Luckily I could always pull myself from the dark places, or at least wait them out until they’d passed. Although practising these self-care habits really helped to keep me grounded during harder times, and they still do.
To finish up…
When I initially started drafting this post I had quite a few tips and suggestions on self-care habits. However I soon realised that this post would get ridiculously long if I spoke about all of them! I’m thinking I might do a part-two of this post sometime so that I can share some other habits with you. But for now thank you for reading, and take care x
If you’re feeling stressed, low or anxious, go see your doctor or call one of the many free helplines available. You owe it to yourself to feel healthy and happy. I’ve put a couple below:
Samaritans – 116 123 (available 24/7) https://www.samaritans.org/
SANEline – 0300 304 7000 (available from 4:30pm-10:30pm every day) http://www.sane.org.uk/home
Know someone needing a little self-care, click to find out how to put together a well-being hamper for them: https://www.emgoingplaces.com/2020/05/how-to-create-your-own-well-being-hamper/