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Self-Care


Self care is a phrase that is used a lot in recent times but what does self-care actually involve and how can it help?


Self Care may conjour up an image of relaxing in a bubble bath surrounded by candles or sitting on a mountain top in a yoga pose and whereas that may work for some people it may not for others! In fact self-care means something different to everyone and it might be something you do without even being aware of it.


Essentially self -care means making sure that all of your needs are being met physically and emotionally. There are considered to be 7 pillars of self care : mental, emotional, physical, environmental, spiritual, recreational, and social. A good self care routine would involve all of these elements not just one or two.


 

Eating a balanced diet, getting enough, good quality sleep and exercising your body are 3 great ways to practice self care.


Try to eat a healthy, balanced diet to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need for your body to function and repair, Follow this link to the Eatwell Guide to learn more. Eating a healthy diet doesn't mean you can't have the occasional tasty treat.


Getting good quality sleep is a huge part of self care. During sleep your body repairs tissue, muscle and bones. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night is essential to support your immune system and your mental wellbeing. Continual lack of sleep can be very detrimental to your health. The Sleep Charity has loads of support and guidance on all matters relating to getting a good night's sleep.


Exercising your body is a great way to show self care. Helping you to remain well, improving your heart and lung function and releasing those feel good hormones to give your spirits a boost. You don't have to be running marathons just getting out for a daily walk bike ride or swimming will do the trick.


 


Environmental - You may have heard of the phrase "tidy house, tidy mind" and although we aren't suggesting that you go minimalist and throw everything away it can really help your mental wellbeing to have some areas of your home which are clutter free. Perhaps think about de-cluttering your bedroom or the area where you relax. Having a place to put things can also mean less time spent searching for items which in turn can reduce your stress. This could also apply to your desk or workspace.


 

Social connection - Not everyone enjoys going to social events, dinner parties or family barbeques for example. However, human's are essentially social creatures and we all need social interacction in some form. Studies have shown that as we age maintaining meaningful social connections with friends and family supports your brain health. Please have a read of this article from Age UK to find out more.


It is worth also being aware of relationships which do not serve you. Friends or even family members who may be mean spirited, bring negativity or who try to discourage you from practicing self care are best avoided, this may lead to some difficult conversations but may be worth it for your own self preservation.


Coping with life's problems and difficulties - Develop healthy coping strategies to deal with uncomfotable emotions such as anger, anxiety and sadness. Even though it's tempting to open a bottle of wine to drown your sorrows or light a cigarette to calm your nerves these are not only unhealthy but will only temporariliy make you feel better if at all.


Although it is easier said than done learning to sit with difficult feelings, facing problems head on and talking things through with a close friend or relative is always the better option which will in turn build your resilience and make you stronger.

 

Another way to build resilience and demonstrate self care is to put heathy boundaries in place. If you are a people pleaser you may find that you are taking on lots of extra jobs just because you don't want to offend or upset people.



Volunteering for additional tasks at work, babysitting for a friend, agreeing to join the PTA when you are already on several other committees are all great things to do but if you continunally take on more and more responsibilities you will eventually become overwhelmed, suffer burnout or stop being able to give the best of yourself to the things you are currently doing. Don't tie yourself up in knots giving a reason, or making up an excuse just a simple, thank you for asking me but I can't right now is fine.


Try to keep your thoughts in the present. Ruminating about things in the past that didn't go well or going over what went wrong isn't helpful and won't get you anywhere.


 

Doing fun things just for yourself. This is where you spend a little time doing an activity which you enjoy just purely for that reason. It might be that you like playing 5 aside football on a Sunday morning or something less energetic such as reading crime novels or doing a jigsaw puzzle or airfix models. It could be something you do as part of a team or club like amateur dramatics or chess club or on your own maybe painting, cooking or gardening. It is important that whatever you choose to do in your spare time doesn't cause you stress and that you should never feel guilty about indulging in this time for yourself.

 

Positive self talk - We all have that inner critic, the one who tells us we can't do anything right or that we don't deserve to be happy or get the job. When we continually do this over time we start to believe it. Talk to yourself as you would talk to a loved one, allow yourself to make mistakes, talk kindly to yourself. You may feel silly to start with but once you begin to recognise and stop these thoughts your feelings of self worth will start to improve. Follow this link to find out more and how you can control that inner critic.



Hear what some young people have to say onthe subject of self care.


If your organisation subscribes to our service Talk to a People at Work first responder and find out how we can be part of your wellbeing support. 020 3286 1545 Support@peopleatwork.co.uk

If you are not a subscriber but would like to learn more about how we can support your Team get in touch now.

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