Feeling stressed? Self-Care is critical to being able to care well for others. Here are some top tips for self-care.
Tip one: Be more physically active!
When people hear this, they often thing "Ah! I've got to be a gym junkie." What it means is doing whatever makes you feel good and doing lots of it! Whether that's running, dancing, walking on the beach, taking the dog out, playing with the children -- doing lots of physical activity, and putting as much as you can into your life. Sometimes you don't feel like it, but it’s important to remember what it feels like afterwards, and then try to just do it anyway.
Tip two: Food and Nutrition!
Food is for nutrition and wellbeing and energy – not for comfort. Think about your green vegetables, and how you might add more of these to your diet. If you're not sure about what you should eat, you need to talk to a dietitian.
Want to learn more about nutrition and food for healthy living? Read more here
Alongside food, alcohol consumption should be thought about. We need to drink less alcohol then we'd all perhaps like to. While alcohol might make you feel good at the time, it doesn't make you feel good the next day, it will interfere with your sleep, and ultimately contributes to both anxiety and depressive symptoms. Aim for at least five alcohol free days each week.
Tip three: Sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential. Make sure you go to bed early enough so your body and your brain get all the sleep it needs before you have to get up again in the morning and start the day. Things that support a good night's sleep are restful rituals, and bedtime routines. Now, they might include regularly cleaning and flossing your teeth. It might also include planning to turn your devices off, perhaps slowing down, perhaps doing a meditation. If your stresses intrude, either slowing your getting to sleep or resulting in you waking and having difficulty going back to sleep, try progressive muscle relaxation -- slowing your breath down and counting, tensioning, and then relaxing different parts of the body, which will ultimately drift you back to sleep.
Consider doing a brain dump. Before you go to bed, think about: What are the things that I think about in the middle of the night that might keep me awake, if I wake up? Write them down, get them out of my brain, get them out of your brain, so that if you do wake in the night, you don't have to worry about them because they're on your list. You can just go back to sleep.
Tip four: Have fun!
Laughter is good for us, whether you do it in company or even by yourself. Take time to laugh and find joy.
And if you're doing all of these things in your life, eating well, being physically active, sleeping well and seeking joy, and are still feeling very stressed, you should consider seeking professional help. A professional, like a psychologist, can help you identify and address perhaps deeper issues that are contributing to your stress.
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