Ten self-care habits to get into now...
The practice of self-care has been firmly implanted in our consciousness as a route to improved well-being. But our fast-paced modern working lives often leave little room for some self-nurturing time-out.
Fact is, we’re busy! And consequently, there are more demands on us than ever. But with a few clever self-care hacks you can invest the time you need to feel restored, re-balanced and re-focused.
Here’s ten tips to get you started:-
1) Note your thoughts
There’s a lot to be said about side stepping a keyboard and putting pen to paper. It’s meditative, rewarding and personal. Moreover, it gives you a chance to slow your thought-processes down and ponder the things that make you really tick in life.
Ten minutes journaling at the end - or beginning - of your day, writing a card to a friend, crafting a meal plan for the week ahead…these are great ways to be mindfully in the moment that will deliver big returns for your self-esteem.
2) Cook a healthy meal
There’s something gloriously meditative about planning a meal, putting on your apron, chopping the ingredients and cooking a meal. The motion of the knife as you chop, the heat on the pan, the sizzle of the ingredients and the aromas that fill the kitchen – these sensory delights can bring a real sense of balance to your day.
For many, the act of creating something delicious can feel like pressing a reset button – a chance to archive the stresses of the day if you like - and focus on moving forward.
In addition to the emotional benefit, it’s also a chance to nourish our bodies with quality food that have a positive impact on our mental and physical health. Cook trusty dishes that you love or why not try something new? There’s plenty of healthy meal ideas on our recipe pages to inspire you.
3) Prioritise your sleep
Sleep is the epicentre of our health and well-being and our bodies count on it to heal and function smoothly. In fact, there are parts of the body’s immune response that ONLY happen during sleep. Getting enough shut eye has a huge impact on how we feel – keeping stress in check, firing up our brains and equipping us with the ability to make sound decisions.
So, whilst it’s tempting to resort to four hours a night to smash out that work assignment, your brain, body and emotions will likely suffer – especially if you’re turning to caffeine and sugary snacks to power you through to the early hours.
Get to bed early. Get rid of the tech in your room, read a book and allow yourself time for a good night’s sleep. Your mood and immune system are counting on it.
4) Explore your inner artist
Naturally gifted artist? Or skills more akin to a 5-year-old finger painting pro? When it comes to some self-care sketching it really doesn’t matter! Getting crafty with a paint brush can be a great way to inject some inner peace into your day and engage mind, body and spirit. Not only is it incredibly relaxing, it’s also a proven way to reduce stress and anxiety whilst giving your self-esteem a nice little turbo charge.
Pass the paints!
Yeah yeah, we know, heard it a thousand times. But there really is a reason why meditation remains up there as one of the best things you can do to practice self-care. It’s free, you can do it anywhere and with regular practice, it can transform how you feel, and respond to certain situations.
Meditation can help reduce stress, ease symptoms of depression and anxiety and quieten that pesky negative self-talk. Alas, it’s a pretty cool tool to add to your self-care master plan.
Get started with a guided meditation app or fly solo by finding yourself a cosy quiet corner to nestle into. Sometimes all we need is five minutes to breathe deeply, restoratively and with intention. That small act alone can be an incredible mood booster that filters out the noise and leaves you with a clear sense of purpose.
6) Put some tunes on
The benefits of music on the human psyche is nothing new. More than 400 years ago, William Shakespeare said that “music can raze out the written troubles of the brain”. Whilst he was more akin to the strung of a medieval lute than the beat of a great Fleetwood Mac track, it’s clear that music was deemed a great tonic for the mind – even back then.
Music has a unique and special kind of power over our thoughts and emotions. It provides us with a place to find hope, joy and rest amidst the chaos of life outside. And in that sense, it’s a great act of self-care.
Download our Feel Good with Fullgreen Playlist to get started.
7) Get some early morning movement into your day
We get it. The bed is warm and its freezing outside. But whilst it’s tempting to have another 20 mins of shut eye, getting up early and moving that bod of yours is a guaranteed way to induce the happy vibes. And when we do it first thing, it sets a positive tone for the rest of the day.
Exercises releases those wonderful feel-good endorphins that make us feel that little bit more zing. And you don’t need to be running daily 10k’s to notice the benefit. If 10 minutes on your mat at home is all you can manage, that’s GREAT. The endorphins are there for the taking.
Try our Lana Titus workouts for Full Body, Upper Body, Cardio & Core.
8) Go big on fruit & veg
The kingpins of the natural food world are loaded with antioxidants that support good gut health and protect our bodies from oxidative stress.
Our gut is rightfully positioned in the centre of our bodies, where it feeds into all elements of our wellbeing (most notably our digestive, immune and mental health) so when we feed it with foods that make our gut thrive, we invariably feel those positive effects too.
A diverse variety of colourful fruit and veg, fibre-rich foods and probiotics, combined with Omega-3 fatty acids is a great way to nurture a healthy gut. And a healthy gut means more energy, better focus and improved mental clarity.
9) Practice kindness towards others
Studies have shown that people who practice daily gratitude report better well-being, an improved sense of self and a more positive outlook on life.
Writing down what you’re thankful for is one element of gratitude. The other is being kind to others. Practiced together they create a powerful act of care (for others, and for you) that can really bolster your self-esteem.
Not sure where to start? Try these ideas: Leave a surprise note for a friend, pick up groceries for an elderly neighbour, strike up a conversation with somebody new, make your colleague a cuppa, call a friend for a catch up, bake a cake for somebody, give somebody a compliment, smile at everyone you see…the list is endless.
10) Recognise your stress signals
Racing heart, shallow breathing, sleep issues, muscle aches, tension in your jaw, digestive issues…these are all typical symptoms of stress that tend to crop up when we’re overloaded. It’s important to note that some stress responders can be a good thing for the body (like helping you stay motivated and alert if you sense danger) but if these symptoms become a regular thing, it’s time to make some changes.
Nailing stress management really comes down to how you respond to it. Try getting into nature for ten minutes a day, note down what you’ve achieved at the end of the day, say no to things you can’t commit to (or delegate them to somebody else) and connect with people that make you feel calm.
Simply understanding that you can’t control everything is a great place to start. Inevitably things will go wrong sometimes in life. But we learn, we adapt, and we move on. That’s life!