What exactly is self-care and why is it so important?
Self-care in a nutshell means keeping on top of looking after yourself. You can do this by being aware of your physical and mental well-being and taking active steps to cultivate all-round wellness.
Self-care is more than just a trendy buzzword in mental health circes online – it’s a very powerful tool to take care of ourselves, our bodies and our minds in a long-term way. The term “self-care” may also refer to day-to-day management of certain conditions alongside a pharmacist and GP, among other healthcare professionals – in a nutshell it’s looking after your health the best you can.
Getting enough sleep
Getting enough sleep every night can be a powerful factor in our overall well-being. A consistent lack of sleep can lead to many diverse health problems – not only heart and kidney disease but also depression. Prioritise being well-rested. Set an alarm for when you need to head to bed each evening and switch off by taking a book to bed rather than your phone.
While sleep is very important to overall well-being, so is moving around enough during the daytime. Making exercise a habit in your lifestyle will pay dividends in both physical and mental health terms, even if at first it’s just a brisk walk for a few minutes in the evening. Choose an activity you genuinely enjoy so that exercise becomes fun for you, such as dance or yoga or running.
Avoiding overdoing alcohol consumption and cutting out other harmful habits like smoking are important ways of looking after ourselves. Sometimes we can get caught up in negative spirals, where we reward ourselves with junk food or alcohol when times are good or tough. Breaking these unhealthy patterns by being nice to yourself in more healthy ways will be a positive long-term change.
Be kind to yourself
Give yourself a break every now and again. Being kind to yourself and having little treats can improve day-to-day life and improve our resilience in dealing with life’s adversity. What exactly this kindness is will take different forms for different people. It could be taking a bath and listening to music to unwind, or taking five minutes to meditate every day away from the kids. Pick something that makes you feel good and build it into your routine.
Keep on top of your health admin
Self-care also means taking charge of health in proactive manner. That can be anything from ensuring we take medicines as prescribed, diligently attending healthcare appointments and contacting a GP promptly if health concerns arise. Health is a lifelong commitment!
Don’t forget – keeping on top of your well-being will pay dividends in terms of your contentment but also long-term health. And of course you’re worth it!
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