Self-care sunday: 13 tips for your practice

Self-care is anything you can do to help your physical, mental or emotional health. There are a variety of, and indeed combination of approaches and strategies you can carry out to help you with this. It is important as many of us are feeling pressure in life, being it due to always being connected, not knowing how to 'switch off' or stop, or from juggling multiple demands, and feeling the load of assumptions and expectations put on our self personally and professionally. It is important to remind ourselves of the act of self-care.

Tuning into what you need and asking the question ofwhat do I need right now?’ is a great starting point to explore your self-care needs.

What is a self care activity?

Mental health professionals often use the term self-care to refer to one's ability to take care of the activities of daily living. There are many areas of this to consider, for example:

  • Physical self-care, such as sleep, sleeping in, exercise, giving a hug, getting a massage, going to bed early, stretching or taking a nap.
  • Healthy eating self-care - for example having a cup of tea, eating healthy, or eating mindfully.
  • Mindful self-care- living in the present and be self-aware.
  • Being good to yourself self-care -  such as being realistic, saying “yes” to things that excite and energise you, setting boundaries and saying “no” (it is okay), feeling your feelings, reducing stress through seeking social support  or professional help, listening to your intuition, following your dreams, reducing guilt,  recognising when you need help, trying new things, and embracing creative expression. 
  • Reducing stress right now self-care - by exploring different activities such as, watching a sunset or sunrise, listening to music, dancing, getting up early, gardening, playing a sport, walking in the rain, taking a bubble bath, sitting by a fire, seeing a movie, enjoying candle light, reading, cooking, baking, entertaining, setting your priorities, journaling, taking a drive, moving, planning a holiday, setting limits and boundaries, writing a poem, seeing live music, sitting still, meditating, going to a yoga or pilates class, mindfully walking with no earphone or mobile phone and just noticing and smells and what is around you,  painting, crafting, making, writing a letter, laughing, playing with your dog, walking barefoot or going for a run or walk.

Self-care is a mentally active process that leaves the body relaxed. It is best done in an awake state. And the best part is self-care practices can be explored with openess and curiosity and are trainable so that they become more profound with practice over time.

Here are my 13 tips for tuning into your self-care needs that you can enact right now:

  1. Ask yourself what you need right now
  2. Practice gratitude
  3. Practice kindness to self
  4. Practice patience
  5. Explore mindful strategies that enable you to be present and in the moment
  6. Establish routines
  7. Listen to your positive self talk
  8. Try breathing strategies
  9. Look at your time management and prioritise
  10. Explore relaxation techniques
  11. Make or create
  12. Set mindful intentions
  13. Engage in self-care Sunday as a starting point - it's a great way to begin to set yourself up for a self-care week

Be open to exploring possibilities and find what is right for you.

And remember even 5 minutes is beneficial.