Self Care: Tips, tricks and ways to look after your wellbeing
Updated: Sep 23
We're living in a really weird world right now - no one knows what day it is (other than it ends with day), we're at home aside from essential trips for food or medicine and our daily exercise outside.
Uncertainty and lack of routine are drivers for increased anxiety, which of course doesn't make us feel great. We don't have in person access to friends and family, which is often one of the things we do first. All of this stuff can be detrimental to our overall wellbeing.
This is a time where we need to look after ourselves and develop some strategies to support our wellbeing. Here's some tips and tricks I've picked up, that I wanted to share with you.
FINDING A ROUTINE
Humans thrive on a bit of routine and structure. We get up, go to work, come home, do whatever in the evening, sleep and repeat. It gives us a sense of stability and a known quantity in our lives.
So, what do we do when our regular routine goes out of the window? We make a new one!
Maybe we're still working and we've gained our commute time back, or maybe we aren't and we've got the whole day to do whatever we want for probably the first time in our lives.
Split the day into chunks. I normally split my day into morning and afternoon/evening, which I've continued with - I still have mornings off and work in the afternoon and evening. It's less daunting to fill part of a day rather than a full day.
Do activities you enjoy. Make a list of things you enjoy that you can still do at home - working out (HIIT, yoga (of course!), dancing), reading, painting, knitting, learning a new skill, watching that series you've been wanting to watch - whatever it is, drop that into your diary like you would a meeting.
Get outside! We're having amazing weather at the moment, so why not go for a walk or take your activities outside?
I've got quite a strong routine which I've more or less kept as I'm still working, just with a couple of tweaks. Here's a typical day;
Morning: Breakfast, cup of tea (or two), cuddle Layla (my dog if you're new here!), walk - usually 1-2 hours, shower, yoga practice (if I'm not teaching that day I'll do an online class, or a short self practice otherwise).
Afternoon/evening: Work - anything I would like to do or needs to be done, plus teaching my online classes and 1:1 clients.
After work: Watch a film or a series, knitting or reading, cook something nice.
MOVE YOUR BODY
Getting any kind of movement in to your day, whether its a short stroll, joining an online class, a workout on your own is such an important self care tool.
Any movement practice helps to keep us fit physically, but also mentally - this is because moving and breathing (especially in a yoga practice) activates our parasympathetic nervous system which puts us into a rest or digest state. When we are stressed or anxious our sympathetic nervous system activates creating hormones including cortisol, which is one of the hormones associated with feeling this way. This rest or digest state reduces our feelings of stress and anxiety and promotes wellbeing. Cool, eh?
FAMILY & FRIENDS FROM AFAR
Now is a great time to get in touch with family and friends via the wonders of technology - with FaceTime/Zoom/Google Hangouts/WhatsApp you can still get together and do fun stuff, which I think is great.
Chats, quizzes, remote dinner parties, whatever it is it's a great way to still be connected.
LITERAL SELF CARE
I love a good spa day. One of my goals was to have a spa day every 3 months (obviously out of the window now... but never mind). Mainly because it means I have a day to relax, slow down and actually look after my skin. I have supremely sensitive, eczema prone skin which makes me so bloody miserable when its sore, so a massage and facial really helps to keep my skin in a condition where it's not causing me problems and means I take some time out to relax.
So instead, I've been doing mini spa sessions at home. I've been using some products "I didn't have time to use", and spend a couple of hours a week painting my nails.
It could be you treat yourself to a bath with some fancy bathbombs or oil, have a facemask, use that nice body butter that you'd "saved for special" and spend a bit of time on you, for you.
IT'S NOT ALWAYS SUNSHINE AND RAINBOWS
Emotions and feelings ebb and flow. It's a bit like a rollercoaster - you're going up a hill and you get to the top, there's a drop. But then there's another hill, and you start going up again.
That's okay, it's part of being human.
The main thing is having a toolkit you can call into action on the down days and you pick things from that kit that help you feel in a little better place.
The thing about Self Care is it is 100% personal to each individual. My toolkit won't look exactly like yours - because we are individual. At the end of the day, it's about trying a few different things, picking your favourites and leaving what doesn't work to one side.