Look After Yourself
Self-care doesn’t need to be bubble baths and eating 5 portions of fruit and veg a day. Whatever looking after yourself means to you is a good place to start. You are worth looking after, especially if you are responsible for looking after others – you cannot pour from an empty cup after all! Self-care means something different to everybody but here are a few of our favourite examples –
It’s Okay to Say No
Creating boundaries and saying no to situations that do not serve us can be tricky. The reality is that saying no can support our self-care and can also be liberating.
It can feel uncomfortable to say no, usually because we want to be helpful, and we don’t want to let anyone down. While supporting and giving to others is good for us, it shouldn’t be at the expense of our own self-care. Your own needs matter and prioritising how you spend your precious time and energy can be key to your peace.
So don’t be too quick to say yes if you’re not sure about something. Think it through before you commit and be realistic about how much time you can afford to give to anything new.
When we say no, it’s often quickly followed by a reason why we can’t help. We don’t need to justify the reason why and most people are unlikely to ask.
Surround Yourself With Positive People
Have you ever been in a room where the people you’re with provide inspiration and view life as an opportunity? These people make you feel positive, they are warm, welcoming and you feel energised after spending time with them. These people are energisers, and their energy can often spread and help us feel more positive, too.
On the flip side, have you ever been in a room with people who make you feel tired, anxious and disengaged? These people are energy sappers. They often view life as one big problem, they are quick to judge and can be envious of others. Energy sappers can suppress the motivations of ambitious people and they can create an unhealthy atmosphere of bad feeling and negativity.
Recognise those in your life who are energy sappers, try to minimise time spent with them and prioritise spending more time with energisers. Build a network of energisers around you who will be a positive influence, because our relationships with others make a real difference to our lives. Think quality over quantity, focusing on building real connections with a couple of people you really value, rather than trying to stay in touch with lots of people – especially if life is busy.
Know Yourself and be the Change
Get to know yourself, your limitations and thresholds. Think about your values, beliefs and what drives and motivates you. Whilst it’s important to acknowledge the areas you would like to change, make sure you reflect and embrace your personal strengths, too.
Knowing yourself is fundamental, because then you can more easily be the change you wish to see.
Taking the time to get to know yourself, your values and strengths will also improve your confidence and assertiveness. It will also help you be more open minded and honest with yourself, which will enable you to receive feedback from others in a positive frame of mind.
Prioritise Rest and Sleep
Sleep is king! When we don’t get enough sleep, it can affect our mood, memory and our judgement. The quality of the sleep we are getting is just as important as the quantity!
We all have varying sleep needs, but most adults need between 7-9 hours a night. This said, it’s normal for us all to go through periods when we don’t sleep as well. If that’s the case for you, there is support you can lean on – Sleep Station is a great resource you can access for free.
We live in a world where it’s hard to detach ourselves from our devices. We’re constantly bombarded by emails, messages and notifications. We rely on our phones to organise us and most of us feel lost without one.
An unhealthy attachment to technology and the online world is not good for us. Too much time spent online can cause people to feel anxious about things they are missing out on or make them compare themselves to others. Setting boundaries around the use of your device could be key to better self-care. You probably have a setting on your phone which will tell you exactly how much screen time you are having on average each day. This can be eye opening…imagine what you could have been doing with all that TikTok scrolling time!
Evaluate Your Priorities…
…and make time for them! Make a list of the things that bring joy into your life. What do you really enjoy doing? If you find yourself thinking ‘I don’t have time to do that’, it’s probably not the case. Making a promise to yourself to make time for the things you love in life is one of the best forms of self-care. Make dedicating a realistic amount of time to these things non-negotiable.
Make Good Choices About What Goes In
Food is expensive and working in construction means that good food is not always in easy reach. Making eating well a priority can be really hard but it has the power to improve your physical health, mood, appearance, lifespan and mental health immeasurably. Taking food to work with you is a big step forward and can help you save money that you might otherwise spend at the drive-through. Making time to eat with family or friends around a table when you can is also a simple thing you can do to improve relationships.
Give Time to Yourself and Others
Giving time and energy to other people is a good way to look after your own wellbeing. Those who give to others are said to rate themselves as happier and more fulfilled so perhaps have a think about how you could give back to others. Is there anything you could get involved with in your local community or volunteer for a charity?
This said, it’s also critical to give yourself time. You need time to think, reflect and explore activities you enjoy which can refuel you and make you feel good about yourself.
Work Your Core
Improving your core stability, range of movement and muscle strength is a great way to avoid injury. A strong body helps you maintain good posture, which plays a significant role in managing musculoskeletal health and wellbeing.
Good posture can help avoid aches, pains and injuries, get you breathing more efficiently and increase your confidence.
Yoga, Pilates and classes such as Body Balance are all good ways to improve your core strength and stability.
Random Acts of Kindness
The phrase is thought to have originated from author Anne Herbert in 1982. A “random act of kindness” is exactly what the phrase means: something you do for someone else without expecting anything in return. It is said to improve one’s overall well-being and is a form of self-care.
Studies have shown that altruism triggers the release of feel-good chemicals from our brain. People who help others are said to feel stronger, calmer and more energetic.
We’ve listed some ideas below for random acts of kindness:
- Give a compliment
- Bake a cake for your neighbour
- Call a friend or family member to check in on them
- Order someone a meal from the local takeaway
- Pay for the person’s drink in the queue behind you
- Start a loose change jar and use the money to buy something for someone or donate the money to charity
- Buy local and support your local businesses
- Cook somebody their favourite meal
- Leave a bag of sweets at your friend’s house with a note
- Write a positive message on a post it note for somebody in your house or at work
- Tell somebody why you are grateful for them
- Get involved in charity fundraising