This is adapted from a presentation I recently gave at a training day for work. We had to deliver a presentation on a topic we were passionate about and I chose self-care as it is so important for promoting wellbeing, something I am truly passionate about.
I’m a psychology graduate and we always start with definitions, so what is self-care?
Self-care is all about looking after yourself to promote your wellbeing through both attitudes and actions. While focusing on meeting expectations, working towards goals, and seeking to excel both professionally and personally, time for self-care can sometimes be squeezed out. In a world where technology makes us contactable pretty much 24/7, self-care is ever-important in giving us time to take a break and have some quality “you time.”
1. Have a good laugh!
My first suggestion for practising self-care is having a good laugh! Watch your favourite sitcom, watch a funny film, or go see a comedy show (there are no excuses for not doing this if you’re in Edinburgh during Fringe season! If the first show you go to doesn’t make you laugh, you can be sure that there’ll be several other comedy shows happening in the near vicinity!) Hanging-out with friends is also a good call. I can’t think of a time when my friends and I don’t end up laughing together whatever the circumstances.
Why is laughter good?
It brings people together, improves your mood, and it’s also a natural painkiller
2. Utilise mindfulness
A second idea is to do add mindfulness into each day or week. Mindfulness is a brilliant way to practice self-care.
Originating in the East linked to Buddhist meditation, it is now practised a lot in the West too. Mindfulness is all about being in the present and helps to lower stress and worrying.
Psychologists and medical doctors have created secular mindfulness courses for a number of clinical conditions, but research shows that mindfulness is really effective for everyone to practice and there are now many apps which have mindfulness sessions. If you don’t like apps, a quick search online will give you some mindfulness ideas and tips.
The body scan is a good one to start with.
The great thing with mindfulness is that it can easily be incorporated into your day, you might choose to do it first thing in the morning, or last thing at night. At my work, those of us in the office do a short mindfulness session after lunch which is great for setting us up for the afternoon.
3. Unplug from technology
Another way to give yourself some self-care is by allowing yourself to unplug for an hour
Escape the pings from social media, the ringing of the phone, and the emails by putting your phone on aeroplane mode for an hour.
This gives your mind a chance to focus on something important to you uninterrupted.
In this time, you could read a book, catch up on a podcast, or go for a walk and enjoy the peacefulness of nature. I love to go for walks along the coast or along woodland trails. Do, however, make sure you turn off aeroplane mode at some point. Recently, I put had my phone set to that mode for a period before I went to sleep but forgot to switch it off in the morning and missed an important phone call!
Overall, the best type of self-care is when you develop little habits of self-care for each day. This helps to ensure you are able to be your best self, living and working to your best capability.