When I sat down to set myself some goals at the start of the year, one thing I wanted to improve on was making more time for myself. More time for me, more time spent doing the things I love and more time spent away from my phone, laptop – just anything with a screen.
This is something I’ve not been doing too well at and i’m SO guilty of never switching off. If i’m not working the 9-5, i’m working on my blog, then if i’m not working on my blog i’m definitely thinking about the next post I need to write, constantly planning and organising, as well as keeping up with the standard everyday chores of running a house and trying to catch up with friends and family more than once every 6 months – so I never leave enough time to wind down, mentally shut down, relax and think about me.
I’m more conscious of the need for self-care, now more than ever, especially when I think about how much we balance as human beings and how much stress we can sometimes be under day to day. I think that’s part of the reason that the general idea of self-care has really grown recently. People are realising more and more, the importance of taking time out, slowing down and making time for things they love.
Self-care is all about keeping the mind and body healthy, it’s all about doing this in a way that makes you happy. No majorly big changes or gestures, just stripping it back to the simple things and enjoying the smaller things in life. So here’s a few ways i’m bringing the art of self-care into my life.
What you get out of your body in terms of energy, mood etc is a direct reflection of what you put in, so food and diet for me is key. When you’re busy and rushing around, diet can become less of a priority and takeaways and easy to grab food make their way into our every day lives.
Last year, I decided to give up eating meat so i’ve been pescatarian for 12 months. It’s mainly for health benefits and to try to prevent the longer term effects eating animal products can have on your body and I feel so much better for it. I actually went vegan for 2 weeks, however my main aim was removing red and white meats from my diet, as well as the fact i’m SUCH a foodie and have loved eating both meat and fish for the last 28 years, so I decided against staying completely vegan.
For the most part, it’s definitely made me experiment more with different foods and cooking but I also find i’m less lethargic and have so much more energy. Being more conscious about what I eat, but also planning meals is a big part of self-care for me.
For my whole life, i’ve wished I could be one of those people that can survive on 4 hours sleep a night but still look and feel like they’ve had a full 12 hours, sadly i’m not and if I have any less than 7-8 hours I really struggle to get up, not to mention the amount of coffee I need to get me through the day.
Sleep has the biggest effect on my mood and my mental state, which it does many others. For this reason, I have to really try and keep to a good sleeping pattern, making sure I get enough hours, go to bed at a good time and make sure the environment I sleep in is a calm, relaxing, sleep inducing haven.
It sounds simple but we all have so many things to constantly be doing, i’ve lost count of the amount of times I hear people say ‘there’s not enough hours in the day’. Lack of sleep can have a detrimental effect on your skin, mind and health on a longer term scale so get those zzzz’s in while you can – you’re body will thank you for it, I know mine does.
Whether it be within our work lives or our personal lives, I think there’s often times where we all feel under pressure to commit or to say yes to an opportunity, a situation, so that we live up to someone else’s high expectations or to not let someone down. It may even be that we have set some high expectations of ourselves and feel the need to push ourselves over the limit to achieve them.
I’ve found i’ve often said yes to things that I absolutely did not want to do, or had no time to do purely not to let someone else down – when in reality I would have to really ‘break my back’ to get it done and it would potentially cause me way more stress than what it was worth.
Now don’t get me wrong, i’m definitely not saying to stop helping people out and only live for yourselves but what I am personally going to work on, is giving some time back to myself by saying no to things and also by not feeling guilty for doing so. Saying no to taking on extra responsibility at work because you have other things going on in life is fine – there will be another time and another place, saying no to that night out with the girls because actually your week has been the busiest ever and all you need to do is have a bubble bath and get in bed is also fine.
I’m so guilty of filling my diary to the brim so that I never stop, so saying no to others as well as myself is going to be big for me moving forward.
MAKING TIME FOR ME
Following on from saying no, I want to make more time for myself and more time to do the things that make me happy.
I love reading, but rarely make any time for it other than when i’m on holiday and can’t do anything else! So recently, i’ve been putting more of an effort into making time for it and have been reading before work in the morning with a good cup of tea, and again when I get in bed. It really helps clear my mind and stop me scrolling up and down Instagram for half an hour so i’m so glad i’m managing to put it into practice.
I used to love a bubble bath and pamper afternoon, but that’s something that again has been taken over by other things simply because I have a busier lifestyle than I previously did – BUT that’s no reason to give up on caring for myself, again it’s just something that I need to make an effort to make more time for. I know that it will make me feel great on both the inside and outside so I am 100%, going to make more time for this.
Let me know how you guys practice Self-Care and if you have any tips to help me stay focussed and consistent…