Take Some Time for Your Self
Self-care is a relatively new term but the basics of self-care have been around for decades. Quite simply it means taking care of yourself and your health, both physical and mental. There are the main things that are sensible for everyone to do:
1. Get enough sleep
We all know that lack of sleep makes you tired the next day - grouchy and less able to get things done. But did you know that regular lack of sleep increases your risk of conditions including obesity, heart disease and diabetes….and shortens your life expectancy.
Most of us need about eight hours of good-quality sleep to function properly. For top tips on getting to sleep and achieving quality sleep click here.
2. Eat healthily
The aim is to make sure your body has all the fuel it needs to make sure you’re able to study, work and play, and all the nutrients required for a healthy immune system to fight off bugs. Carbohydrates like rice, pasta, bread and potatoes should make up a third of your food intake, and whole grain versions are ideal. You also need some dairy products or alternatives like soy, plenty of fruit and vegetables and some protein: meat, fish, pulses, beans, eggs, soya, Quorn. Fats should take the form of unsaturated oils and spreads eaten in small amounts. And don’t forget plenty of fluids – water is best. The best way to ensure you get the necessary vitamins and minerals is to eat a range of fruit and vegetables in various colours. If you’re not so good at this perhaps take a daily multivitamin.
Exercise is so good for your physical and mental health but if you’re not in an exercise routine, starting one can be a daunting prospect. Start small and try to get out for regular long walks. Once your mood and confidence improves you can look for a class or activity that suits you: spinning, Zumba, boxing, climbing, kayaking, swimming, circuit training, pole dancing, football, rugby, running, roller derby….it’s all out there, have a go!
4. Give up smoking
An obvious but tough one for smokers. When you’re ready there is a lot of support out there.
5. Try not to drink too much alcohol or eat too much junk food
Life can be hard and we all need our pleasures. But relying on alcohol or junk food as a way of comforting ourselves or of coping with stress, anxieties or worries can mean we have too much of these and they negatively affect our health.
Another element of self-care is making time for yourself to do the things that make you feel better. As a busy working mum I always have reasons to stop me taking time for myself but after having some time out I come back to my many duties with some renewed energy.
Everyone’s different but here are some ideas for some positive activities to help you relax, have fun and concentrate on something other than your massive to-do list or personal problems:
- A long walk in the mountains, woods or near the sea
- Getting creative – colouring, drawing, sewing, woodwork, painting
- Learning a new skill – from dabbling in French on the Duolingo app to a short course at uni
- Going to a music or comedy gig or to the theatre instead of the pub or cinema
- Treat yourself – watch a film, read a book, buy something nice, do what you want for a couple of hours not what you feel you should do.
If you are interested in health and wellbeing find out more about our relevant courses here.