You maybe wondering, what exactly is self care and how can it help my stress levels? Well, put simply self care is the action or attitude towards taking care of your own physical, psychological and emotional wellbeing. Self care is a basic concept and is an important measure in supporting resilience, improving mood and reducing anxiety and stress. Despite this self care is often neglected, overlooked and placed bottom of priorities.
Self care can be made simple:
‣ Find something positive.
Write down several things each day that you are grateful for or appreciate. It helps to identify five things at the end of the day that went well or left you feeling gratitude.
Little things like saying thank you and expressing your appreciation to someone is a role often overlooked like your local postie, office cleaner, supermarket cashier can make a difference for both you and the other person.
‣ Learn to relax.
Rest and relaxation are critical to managing stress and minimizing anxiety. Those who find it difficult to let go and relax may find yoga, breathing or stress management classes helpful.
Regulating your breath has a calming effect on the mind and loosens tension held in the body. Sitting quietly at home for 5-10 minutes each day to simply be aware of your breathing can enhance relaxation.
‣ Move around every day.
Exercise and movement increases serotonin and dopamine levels, leading to an enhanced mood and energy. Park your car an extra block away, go for a swim or do a YouTube workout, there are so many ways that you can factor in exercise and movement into your day.
‣ Engage in good conversation.
Spending time with good friends or engaging in stimulating conversation with someone at work is good for the soul (mind and body). When we share our thoughts with others, we establish an emotional and mental connection that can be refreshing and heart warming.
‣ Get enough sleep.
Establish a good sleep hygiene. This could look like stopping caffeine after 5 PM, turning off electronics two hours before bedtime, eating your last meal two or more hours before you turn in for the night, darkening the room you sleep in and going to bed early enough to get 6-8 hours of sleep.
‣ Keep up with your medical needs.
Keeping on top of your medical needs is so important. If your invited to attend a medical screening due to age such as mammograms or pap smears, bowel cancer screening you should book in promptly.
‣ Treat yourself regularly.
See a movie, eat dinner at a restaurant, sit in the park, get a massage, buy yourself flowers – whatever you enjoy – do that for yourself without feeling guilty or selfish.