12 self-care tips and ideas to maximise your health, sanity and well being.
If life wasn’t already challenging enough there are now the additional consequences of living in a global pandemic. Many people are now feeling the effects of repetitive lockdowns, the gloom of the Winter months and more than ever we are missing hugging, loving and being with our friends and loved ones. Now, more than ever before it’s vital that you look after your mental health and doing every single thing you can to keep yourself as well as possible in mind, body and spirit.
So here are our favourite tools and techniques for you to try. In no particular order:
1. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself
Many of us not only put ourselves last and ignore our own needs. So maybe the simplest start is to actually give yourself permission to care for yourself and recognise that you deserve and need care and attention. Notice if you struggle with the concept of self care – where is this coming from? What is this revealing to you? What do you need to do to overcome it?
2. Get Inspired – maybe try something new
Expand your mind and enjoy some inspiration by listening to some spiritual Podcasts, reading a spiritual book (The Alchemist, Tuesdays With Morrie, A New Earth). There are lots of YouTube and Facebook pages dedicated to spirituality. There are also an abundance of wonderful spiritual teachers from Jack Kornfield, Deepak Chopra and Dr Joe Dispense to Byron Katie. Maybe even considering signing up to an online course in something that interests you. I have just signed up to Udemy to learn EFT for £10! One of the positives of Covid is that everyone has had to put their work online so with some research you can easily find groups, classes, workshops, courses and teachers that are online which you can try out.
Dedicate five minutes every day to meditation. If you are new try a guided meditation using an app (Insight Timer or Calm) or YouTube video that can talk you through what you need to do. Establish it in your routine and do it at the same time very day (first thing in the morning is the most popular time!). Meditation will anchor and ground you enabling you to weather the storms with greater resilience. It is also the starting point of connecting with your higher self and the wonder of the universe.
4. Get outside whatever the weather
It’s easy to stay inside but daylight, sunlight and fresh air is essential. When we get flat and low we often get lethargic and our energy dips, it creates a vicious cycle where we don’t have the energy or motivation to get moving and yet this is the best thing you can do for yourself. Movement is key. Build a time in your schedule that works for you and go out 3, 5 or even 7 days a week for a walk, a jog, or a cycle. It doesn’t need to be long – 15 minutes will make a dramatic improvement to your mental health. It will help your body but it will also help you mental health.
5. Stay social
Make the time to connect with your friends and loved ones especially those that make you laugh and lift your spirits. It is easy when we are self isolating to feel really alone. Do what you can to keep your communications channels open and to chat to the people that you value. Don’t just text, pick up the phone and talk.
Stretch and move your body. Whether it’s yoga or a brisk stomp the benefits of exercise are well document and will definitely boost your spirits when done on a regular basis. Dancing to your favourite music always lifts your spirits and pulls you out of the blues.
7. Declutter and organise
Take a cupboard, a drawer or the corner of a room. Strip it, clean it, dust it and organise it. Not only does it give you a sense of achievement when we clear our clutter we also clear our minds – the two are integrally linked. Spring cleaning at any time in the year is also a great way to enjoy a sense of achievement and satisfaction.
8. Connect with nature
Many of us might have ended up living our lives relatively removed from nature but every cell and fibre of our being belongs to the natural world. It is a great restorer of spirits and healer of the mind, body and spirit. If you can get to a park, beach, woods for a regular walk then build that into your schedule but even small moments with nature matter the simplest of which can be putting the kettle on and watching the clouds pass by or listening to the birds chirping. Research has shown that even watching a TV programme on the natural world it has a profoundly calming effect on your mind! We all love listening to David Attenborough but who knew it was good for your well being.
9. Nourish your body
With so many of us stuck at home it’s easier than ever to visit the fridge and kitchen cupboards and snack on unhealthy treats. Try to avoid junk food – in the long run it makes our bodies feel lousy and we get even more miserable with ourselves when we gain weight. So healthy, nutritious whole foods are important. As is drinking plenty of water to keep the body hydrated.
Writing a journal is a wonderful way for you to express your thoughts and feelings. If you can pick a regular time to do it and you will find that it becomes a very cathartic habit. Writing allows us to release much of what we are holding as well as seeing things from new perspectives. Journaling is also a great way to go within and explore ourselves in a deeper and more revealing way.
11. Alone or Overwhelmed
Covid has divided us into two distinct groups. Those that are totally alone and see no one and those who are cooped up in a busy households with no peace and quiet whatsoever. If you are living alone it is more important than ever to stay connected in whatever way you can with the outside world whether that’s on zoom, facetime or the good old telephone. If you’re indoors with the whole brood make sure you find the time every single day – even half an hour – where you can be still and quiet and recoup. Whichever you need make sure you schedule this into your daily activities.
12. Detox from technology and work
It’s very easy to have poor boundaries when it comes to technology. However you have to have downtime when you are not scrolling through emails, social media platforms, online news and texts. Limit your screen time or have set periods when you don’t use it. Try to get in the habit of putting your phone down two hours before bed so your brain can totally unwind and be ready for sleep. Try to have mindful times at the weekend when you put your devices down.
So there you go 12 ideas for you to try to help you to invest in your mental health and your spiritual well being. Remember there are no rights and wrongs just what works for you. As Fiona’s spiritual teacher used to say, “take the bits that work for you and let the rest go guilt free.”
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Until next time stay safe and as positive as possible.
Fiona and Gavin