Taking care of you
What a time we have all experienced. Such an exceptional time, Covid has altered how we live our lives. Some of us are working from home, some of us are getting over homeschooling, and for some of us, our holiday plans are ever-changing.
Some of us are pleased restrictions are slowly being lifted, for some, it’s not quick enough, too slow. It is a time of uncertainty which for many increases anxiety, stress and overwhelm. It can be a time when we forget to look after our self or feel that we just do not have the time or energy.
Take a moment to think about these questions:
- Are you prioritising other people’s needs and wants?
- When was the last time you spent time on yourself?
- How has your work life changed in the last year?
- Are you finding it difficult to concentrate?
- Are you physically active during the day?
- Are you aware of what you are eating and drinking?
- Are you getting an undisturbed night’s sleep?
5 tips to help you on your way to look after yourself
All they take is ten minutes a day
1. Make an appointment with yourself
Look at your day and make an appointment with yourself to do an activity for 10 minutes. Set the alarm feature on your mobile. I can be any physical activity such as stretching, or walking quickly, skipping, dancing or hula hooping.
Chose something that you will enjoy, something that does not require you to get new equipment, or travel anywhere to start or to have a book a time slot. Take away all the things that can act as barriers to actually getting started.
2. Be aware of your breathing
Every time you switch the kettle on for a cuppa take a moment to focus on your breath; breathing in for four, then hold for four, before slowly breathing out for four.
Feel the air on your face, your nose and your lips, feel it as it fills your lungs and then as you let it out. Relax and focus on your breath. No one need ever know that you are taking time to focus on your breathing. Focusing on our breath can be calming, it is a form of mindfulness, and can release stress.
3. Write things down
Have a paper and pen with you, jot down all the things that are worrying you, the things that pop into your mind screaming for attention. Get it all out of your head and onto the page.
It does not have to be a list, it could be a doodle or scrawled anywhere on the page. This is not for others to look at. You may not even look at it once you've written it. Remember this is not your to-do list: it's simply a way of releasing the pressure in your head.
4. Practise gratitude
When we take the time to acknowledge the positives in our day and be grateful for them we feel better mentally and physically. So start a gratitude journal, make a gratitude jar, go for a gratitude walk, or take a moment to be thankful. Choose a way that you are comfortable with.
You can be grateful for anything; it could be your morning coffee, someone who made you laugh, the flowers in your garden or a song you have heard.
We can be grateful for the smallest things, it is not always the grand gestures. They can be lovely too.
5. Use hand cream
Take 10 minutes each day to focus on your hands. Our hands work hard on our behalf each and every day and now they have the added impact of anti-bacterial hand rub.
By moisturising them we are feeding ourselves as well as our hands. We are pampering ourselves and stimulating our senses of touch, sight and smell. We are helping to keep our skin softer and it can help prevent damage. If we take 10 minutes to focus on our hands we are also giving our minds a rest from worries and anxiety, slowing down our breathing and our heart rate.
All five of the above are small daily acts that when done consistently and in 10 minutes can help to shift how we feel, improving our well-being.
I hope you feel able to give at least one of these tips a go. You might try one for a week and then add another one the next week until you are doing all five. Then by magic, you will be giving yourself 50 minutes a day. When it is broken up into 10-minute bite-size periods of time during the day, it is easier to fit into a busy life.
I'd love to hear how you get on.