There is a lot written about self-care on social media and often involves people pampering or ‘treating’ themselves to a beauty treatment or day out.
And while there is nothing wrong with this and pampering is a form of self-care, it’s not the only way to look after yourself. In fact, there are lots of ways you can practice self-care that cost absolutely nothing!
Here are a few of them:
1. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’
It’s natural to want to please people, to fit in with your friends and to keep everyone happy. However, if something doesn’t feel right to you or you’re not sure about something, it’s absolutely right for you to say ‘no’.
Self-care starts with being true to yourself and being swayed to do or try things that you’re not comfortable with will make you miserable. A simple, ‘No thanks’ or ‘Thanks, but that’s not for me right now’ is all you have to say. If they’re real friends, they’ll respect your opinion.
2. Take time for yourself
If you find the walls are closing in on you or everything your parents/siblings/friends say is irritating you, take some time alone.
It could be going for a walk, going to your room and listening to music, doing some exercise or talking to your pet. Whatever it is, find the method of stress release that works for you and use it whenever you start to feel overwhelmed.
3. Get fresh air every day
Nothing says self-care like looking after your physical and mental wellbeing in one activity – exercising outdoors.
Moving your body will give a boost to your system, create endorphins which make you feel happier, you’ll get vitamin D which is vital for keeping anxiety and depression at bay and getting more oxygen to your brain increases focus and creativity so you’ll be even smarter by the time you get home! It’s a win-win-win-win-win situation.
4. Have a consistent bedtime routine
Good quality sleep is the greatest gift you can give your physical and mental wellbeing. If a ‘good night’s sleep’ could be manufactured and packaged it would be a no.1 best-seller around the globe!
The key to quality sleep is a routine – getting at least eight hours every night, staying away from screens (blue light) at least an hour before bed, keeping the room cool, using blackout blinds or an eye mask if necessary and getting up around the same time every day. Doing this will create a balanced circadian rhythm (the natural internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle) which helps keep your weight, mood and blood pressure on an even keel.
5. Keep a journal
When you write out a problem, an emotion or even something you’re not sure how you feel about, it immediately makes things clearer. Journaling is a fantastic practice and it doesn’t have to be in diary form.
You can write out three things you want to accomplish on any given day, week or month. You can write out your goals or you can use it as a gratitude journal where you write out three things you’re grateful for at the end of each day.