I was recently chatting with a friend who’d been feeling really stressed out. She was feeling overwhelmed, tired and generally unhappy. We talked through everything and one of the contributing factors was, she’d been putting everything and everyone before herself and neglecting her needs. My advice was to start to focus on her self-care, looking after herself. I think my exact words were ‘You can’t look after anyone else if you don’t look after yourself first’. What I was getting at is, if we don’t look after ourselves – mind, body and soul – we have no energy to look after those we love. In other words we need to keep our glass filled up before we can fill everyone else’s glass.
I used to be exactly the same, putting everything before myself and running on empty. I rarely took time for myself, always focussing on making everyone else happy and meeting the excessively high expectations I put on myself. The only thing I ever did for myself was go to the hairdressers every six weeks… and oh my God, did I look forward to and savour those 2 hours of me-time! Being on this journey of self improvement has made me so much more aware of how I’d been neglecting my needs and how important it is to look after myself. I now know I need to make time to do the things that make ME happy too. Things that refill my peace levels and make me a calmer, more patient person.
One thing I must stress here is that self-care is NOT selfish. Self-care is about honouring ourselves. It’s about replenishing our energy and raising our vibration. It’s about helping ourselves to feel more calm, more peaceful, more positive and more able to deal with negative emotions and stress. And when we feel all these things, we can look after others better. You will be the best you can be both to yourself and others, and project happiness to those around you when you’ve been focusing on your own self-care, both mentally and physically.
Here are 25 ways that we can bring more self-care into our lives.
1 / Breathe… I know it sounds slightly ridiculous to be reminded to breathe, but this really helps me! Sometimes when I am feeling really overwhelmed, simply stopping to take a few long deep breaths and focusing only on that helps me to feel more calm, peaceful and centred.
2 / Give up caffeine… switch to decaf and you’ll experience fewer headaches, lower blood pressure, better quality sleep and better moods. The day I realised caffeine was giving me palpitations I quit!
3 / Read a book… books are cool! It feels wonderful to look forward to picking up a book you’re really enjoing. Plus reading is really good for helping us relax, unwind and feel more peaceful.
4 / Unplug… deliberately taking a break from our mobile, tablet, laptop and TV helps us recharge and gives our brain the downtime it needs. A good way to schedule some screen-free time is to turn everything off for at least two hours or commit to switching off at 9pm.
5 / Get enough sleep… give yourself the gift of 7-8 hours of sleep every night and you’ll feel rested, awake and energised every morning.
6 / Healthy eating… eating healthily and mindfully is a great way of looking after not only our body but also our mind. It can be as simple as eating more fruit, more vegetables and less processed foods.
7 / Drink more water… 2 litres of water a day is recommended. Honour your body by drinking plenty of water to flush out toxins, boost the immune system, prevent headaches and increase energy levels.
8 / Write a journal… if we have 10-15 minutes of free time a day, then we have time to keep a journal. Dumping all our thoughts onto a piece of paper makes space for more positivity, peace and light in our lives.
9 / Take a bath… water soothes the soul. Light some candles and just lie back and relax in the bubbles.
10 / Meditate… this is my favourite tip! Meditation has been proven to help reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Meditation helps to bring a sense of peace, calm and deep relaxation. Take a look at my Beginners Guide to Meditation.
11 / Sing along to your favourite songs… singing is a vocal expression of our heart. It allows us to connect with our feelings. I love singing in the car, it makes me happy, positive and uplifted.
12 / Social media detox… we all have friends on social media that seem to spend their lives complaining about everything. Simply unfriend or unfollow those people, to free ourselves from all their negativity.
13 / Colouring… adult colouring books are a big trend and with good reason. Colouring is a great way to bring mindfulness into our lives by helping us to focus on the present moment. Just enjoy the process of colouring in and the feeling of satisfaction when you look at the beautiful colourful finished picture.
14 / Pamper yourself… treat yourself to a manicure, pedicure, facial or massage. You deserve it!
15 / Write a letter… when was the last time you received a hand written letter? I can’t even remember, but I know I’d appreciate the time it had taken to write, address and post the letter and it would feel very special to receive it. So connect with a friend by writing them a letter or simply write a letter to yourself.
16 / Hug someone… release those feel good endorphins for an instant happiness boost.
17 / Take a nap… ten to twenty minutes can reduce our sleep debt and leave us more energised ready for the rest of the day. No excuses. If you feel tired take a nap.
18 / Go for a walk… fresh air and sunshine does us the world of good. Focus on the present moment and take in the sights, sounds, smells and your feelings.
19 / Do some yoga… Yoga is an amazing form of exercise for the mind, body and spirit. It helps us feel centered and experience a sense of connection with the universe. It’s also a super way to stretch our bodies which boosts our energy and improves our overall sense of wellbeing.
20 / Affirmations… these are positive statements that describe a desired situation or goal. I love using affirmations as part of my self-care routine. Take a look at my affirmations board on Pinterest for some examplle. Pick a few that resonate with you, write them out in a notebook or journal and read them to yourself or out load every day.
21 / Dance… put on your favourite songs and move your body. Consider this your cue for impromptu dancing with wild abandonment!
22 / Cook your favourite meal… cook with love and you’ll enjoy eating the food even more.
23 / Get creative… whether it’s painting, drawing, taking photographs or baking a batch of brownies, being creative helps us to feel more mindful and productive.
24 / Take yourself on a date… treat yourself to a coffee (decaf of course!) in a nice coffee shop or go to the cinema to watch that film you really wanted to see.
25 / Listen to an uplifting playlist… have you ever noticed that certain songs can bring a smile to your face? Really listen to the music and the words. It’s been scientifically proven that music is an instant mood uplifter.