We are taught that we must always hit the ground running. We’re told we need to learn to prioritise our never-ending to-do lists. Being busy is something to strive for. We believe there’s no time to take a minute to breathe because we worry if we do we’ll end up being behind on the workload or we’ll be perceived as ‘selfish’. Deep down, we know this way of living is unsustainable. You can’t pour from an empty cup and we all intuitively know we need to slow down and take time to refill. And did you know that taking a little ‘you time’ each day, or even once a week, to pick yourself up and revitalise can serve to reset your system and help you be even more efficient day to day?
Self-care has recently become a huge trend on social media and within the wellness world. This is great because it opens up the conversation about becoming burnt out from life’s stressors, eradicating any stigma. But it’s easy to view the trending self-care rituals as unrealistic, unaffordable and unattainable for the masses. In reality, what ‘self- care’ looks like for each of us is likely to be different, because we are all so different as humans; from our individual personalities, to the lifestyles we lead and what we deem important in our lives.
So now we all know we’re better off when we spend more time on ourselves, here are five ways that self-care can be achievable no matter your budget, or schedule:
1. Breathing techniques
This is my first recommendation because it’s highly effective, and best of all- FREE! I live in the outskirts of London, and my commute into work each day takes me just over an hour and I can easily slip into ‘day ruined’ mode before I’ve even reached my desk in the mornings. The best decision I made was to download Headspace; a meditation app (free version available), I plug in my headphones on the train journey, and tune into myself for 10-15 minutes each morning. I find I feel reassured that whatever is troubling my mind is something that I can deal with. You can do hard things!
2. Taking a long, relaxing bath/shower
Dependent on your work pattern and lifestyle, I’d recommend this self-care step at the end of your day. Imagine washing away any negativity as you’re taking the time to relax and wind down for the evening. This doesn’t have to be with any luxurious toiletries if you do not have access to them and this is besides the point. Bath/showers are relaxing because they are a chance to shut away the rest of the world and have a few well-deserved minutes to yourself. And of course there are the added blue health benefits of spending time in water as research has shown baths and showers reduce anxiety and stress.
“There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.” – Sylvia Plath
If you can, move your body. I’ve really battled with this; I get into really great routines with exercise and always feel better for it, then a couple months later shut myself off and fall off the wagon. I’ve discovered the key is to find a type of movement that you love. You do not have to follow any exercise trends, this is about you and your mental wellbeing so do what feels good for your mind and body. My current favourite is outdoor running. I enjoy going on long runs to clear my head. It’s also a great way to explore your surroundings and discover new places. You don’t need to be strict with yourself, you don’t need to plan out your workouts if you don’t think it’s something you’ll stick to, but if you have the time for a walk, jog, a yoga session or something else, do it! You’ll thank yourself after.
4. Reading a book
More specifically, read a different genre of book than what you’re used to. I am a creature of habit, and a massive advocate for self-help books (see my favourites here). I love discovering new ways to improve how I deal with anxiousness and finding reassurance that I’m not alone in my struggles. However, sometimes it’s nice to switch off that part of me, and get lost in a good novel that I cannot relate to in the slightest. A holiday from my own thoughts!
5. Doing that thing that you’ve been wanting to try
We all have that one thing we’ve been wanting to try but keep putting it off; whether it be a potential new hobby or just a one-off activity. We all have interests and can often feel that the idea of attending something new is too daunting, but you’ll never know if you don’t try! If you’ve been thinking about it for some time, the chances are the thought won’t go away, so satisfy your mind and stop battling with the thought of finding something that actually makes you happy. Push the boundaries of your comfort zone, you may surprise yourself!
All of the above are simple, yet effective ways to show yourself the love and respect you deserve by committing a little more time to ‘you’. Life is not an emergency, and after you take 10-15 minutes to do any of the aforementioned points, you can go back to work -it’ll still be there! So have a go at making one of these recommendations part of your routine each day for a week and let us know how much better you feel for it! Enjoy 🙂
Hannah has battled with anxiety from a young age but never spoke about it due to stigma and fear of being judged. Since seeking help through therapy, Hannah is open about her experiences and passionate about helping others who are struggling. Hannah is a huge advocate for self help books and self care rituals. Waiting times on the NHS can be lengthy for Therapy/counselling as they are not always seen as urgent or necessary by some GPs, self help can be a great way of learning to understand and deal with your struggles.