In uncertain times like these looking after yourself should be a top priority. We want to help you minimise your stress and focus on making the best of a tricky situation. If you haven’t seen our latest response to the Covid-19 situation you can read it here.
Before we explore how you can improve your self-care, there’s something you can do right this moment to make yourself feel better. Breathe—no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Inhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds, and exhale for four seconds. Repeat until you feel calmer.
If you need help with your mental health during this time, call the Mind infoline: 0300 123 3393
Firstly, what does it mean to ‘love yourself’? It’s a message that’s thrown around a lot, and for many of us, it can feel like a vain thing to do. Worse yet, it can feel selfish when your life is filled with responsibility. Don’t you hate it when you feel guilty for not checking your phone because you were doing something for yourself? Or find yourself apologising for things that aren’t your fault to put people around you at ease? Well hopefully by the end of this you’ll want to put your phone on aeroplane mode, light a candle (maybe our divine new Rose Oud candle), and run yourself a bubble bath.
In England, women are more likely than men to have a common mental health problem and are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders. We need to deal with this head-on. We are starting with understanding what it means to love yourself and encourage you to champion the women around you to do the same.
GETTING TO THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM
Think of the people you love and how you love them. You probably care for their health, their emotional well-being, and how others are treating them, right? You’d be upset if they weren’t looking after themselves, if they were going through hard times alone, or if they were at the receiving end of toxic behaviour? We can be so quick to worry about our loved ones and not see the same issues for ourselves.
If you’re feeling anxious, it’s essential to get to the root of the issue; try journaling so you can keep track over time and spot any reoccurring patterns. If you’re sensing things are slipping away from you or aren’t in control, try healing yourself first, and the rest will come later. You might feel like you’re doing yourself and others a favour by keeping quiet, but it’s better to stay connected. Even if you can’t see people in person if you’re feeling low reach out via phone, FaceTime, or you could bring back letter writing.
SIMPLE WAYS YOU CAN LOOK AFTER YOU
Get moving to release chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that will improve your mood. You don’t need an expensive gym membership to do this either. At-home workouts are easy to do, a great way to break up the day and often completely free. But if you get tired at just the thought of high-intensity exercises, that’s ok. Walking is also a fantastic form of low-impact cardio and can help ease your mind. Even a daily stroll can boost your metabolism and is much easier on your joints than running. Researchers at New Mexico Highlands University found that it can also increase brain power, so pull on your trainers and get outside. Or if in doubt dance it out, turn the music up and shake it off, wherever you are.
Work out: Davina McCall’s fitness platform, Own Your Goals is currently offering 30 days free. So if you need some home workout inspiration you know where to find it.
Learning about your emotions can help you to understand what’s causing them and develop coping mechanisms. Ensure you schedule in ‘me-time’ and stay aware of your stress levels. Another useful way of checking your mental well-being is by tracking your daily mood by journaling. Not only is it a therapeutic exercise that will help you spot patterns, but it can also help to prioritise problems, fears, and concerns.
Sharing what you’re feeling with others is another proactive way to avoid bottling them up. As a problem shared is a problem halved. But as important as it is to stay connected don’t be afraid to say no to things that you don’t want to do. And above all else, remember sometimes it’s ok not to be ok.
Listen to: Angela Scanlon’s podcast Thanks A Million, and like Angela, try writing down three things you’re grateful for every day.
Follow: Matt Haig for excellent motivations and grounding observations.
Similarly to your body, sometimes your brain needs a good workout. Nourish and challenge your mind with books, music and art. Teach yourself something new. Pick up a new hobby. That thing you always wanted to do but never had the time for? Now is the time. It doesn’t need to be a whole new language (however, amazing if it is) it could simply be mastering a new dish or completing a puzzle. Step away from the screens and put your mind to work.
Listen to: TED Talks are a reliable source of information, and there is a talk for almost anything. Both The power of vulnerability and Why we all need to practice emotional first aid offer plenty of sound advice on how to take better care of yourself.
Follow: The Financial Diet for motivation, inspiration and great tips on how to look after your finances.
Human connection is essential and can help us to feel less alone and more understood. Also, making time to talk to your loved ones can be mutually rewarding; they might need a chat as much as you. Instead of asking the generic questions such as ‘how are you?’, try something new. Ask curveball questions like what’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done, or what advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?
Social media presents a fine line. On the one hand, it’s a fantastic place to connect with people, share stories and memories and check in on people you haven’t seen in a while. However, on the flipside of this is the perfect, filtered lifestyle it can present which can make us feel like we’re missing out. The simplest way of avoiding the downside is to hide/mute the posts from people/accounts that don’t make you feel good. It’s not mean if it’s putting yourself first.
Follow: With all the news that’s thrown at us on a daily basis make sure some of what you see is positive. Emily Coxhead shares positive news and wonderful people on The Happy News page.
To wrap it up, there are many ways you can start taking better care of yourself, starting right now. And the way we see it crazy times like these call for crazy amounts of love. Not just for others, make sure you save some for yourself. Hopefully, this season of change takes you to where you need to be. Try to enjoy the slower pace and use this time wisely, whether it’s to grow or recharge. It’s up to you. But protect your peace and avoid toxicity wherever you can. Move at your own pace, but keep moving. Over the coming weeks we’ll be sharing more uplifting and inspiring content so make sure you’re subscribed to our emails.