Practising self care

Self-care encourages healthy behaviours which can promote a feeling of wellbeing and contentment in the long term.

Here is a list of things you might want to try:

Prioritise activities you enjoy

You might still have a long to-do list, but most things can wait and there will always be a to-do list of household chores and things spilling over from work. Reserve one evening a week for your favourite activity, such as playing a team sport, a trip to the cinema, a walk in the park, a long soak in the bath – it doesn’t matter what it is so long as it’s something done for your own pleasure.

Daily-do’s

Try and find a little time each day for little pleasures. It could be going out for fresh air at lunch time, swapping reading the news on your phone for reading a book on your commute, watching a TV show you enjoy whilst the kids are in bed. These are seemingly small and simple things that add up to make a huge impact.

Say no!

Don’t take on tasks or the demands of others in your designated ‘self-care’ time. Don’t feel guilty about declining an invite or wanting some ‘you’ time when everyone else is doing something – do what feels right for you.

Eat healthily

Evidence suggests that eating high sugar foods and lots of carbohydrates can make you feel sluggish. Despite the immediate hit you get when you eat them, this is short lived. Try to minimise sugary snacks or junk food. Try to drink more water and eat more vegetables. Eat protein (meat, fish, soya, beans, cheese, eggs) to fill you up. Carry a refillable water bottle and prepare your lunch the day before, so you aren’t relying on take-out food. It doesn’t mean to say you can’t have a treat every now and then, of course. However, trying to be healthy and then having a treat occasionally will mean you really appreciate it when you have it.

Good hygiene and paying attention to yourself

This might seem obvious but often when we are running low on energy, we might skip our morning shower for those extra few minutes in bed or we can end up wearing the same clothes a few days in a row. Taking the time for a quick shower and setting out fresh clothes the night before can help us start the day in a more positive way. Pay yourself attention – you are worth it! Do things that make you feel good about yourself, like wearing a favourite item of clothing or styling your hair.

Relaxation

We can find it hard to relax in our fast-paced modern lives, and this is even harder if we are feeling stressed or under pressure. Taking time out, focussing on a calming activity, putting our phones away and making time to quiet our minds is vitally important. Try things like reading, watching a film, taking a bath, yoga, going for a walk in the park – anything will work that allows us to escape the constant noise of life both around us and in our minds. Some people find breathing and meditation exercises also help.

Rest

This is something many of us find difficult, as often we feel lazy for not being constantly being busy or ‘doing’. In fact, our body needs rest just as it needs food and water to maintain optimum health. We mustn’t feel that taking regular breaks is selfish or lazy. We should allow ourselves to rest and recuperate when we are tired or under pressure – it is our body’s way to refuel and replenish. Even sitting or lying down for 10 minutes can help you recoup your energy.

Sleep

Getting 7-8 hours sleep is vital for most adults. If you are struggling with getting a restful night’s sleep then practising good sleep hygiene (eg: preparing yourself before going to bed, having a warm bath or shower, reading rather than looking at your phone, using lavender or something soothing on your pillow) can help. If you struggle to sleep or suffer from insomnia, consider some relaxation exercises before bed to get you in the right frame of mind. You may find it helpful to speak to your GP if this goes on for a long time.

Self care is important, but we often neglect it. It’s good to get into the habit of doing all the things above regularly to give yourself a chance to feel a sense of well-being, balance and calm. Start by try to do at least one ‘self care’ thing a day or focus on a particular area to help you get going, and build up from there. If you feel it would help to put some sort of structure in place for this, see Creating and personalised self care plan.

Finding out more about your visible difference

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What is self-care?

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