Updated: Nov 3, 2022
The second week of November each year is National Self-care week. Whether you are reading this blog in November or at another time of year it is important to focus on some top tips as to how you can improve your self-care.
First, let’s get the reasons why you can’t out of the way!
Yes, it is important
Yes, everyone will benefit
Yes, you can find some time
You cannot pour from an empty cup. You have a duty of care to look after yourself.
Step 1 - Identify the behaviours that do not have a positive influence on your physical or mental wellbeing
Step 2 - Identify what behaviours you would like to replace them with
Step 3 - Identify the first small changes that you can take that will take you from the old behaviours to the new behaviours. Keep them small, keep them simple.
Changing behaviours requires a conscious and consistent effort.
Do something every day that empties the stress bucket. If you don’t already do this start with 10 minutes and build to an hour. Don’t worry what everyone else is doing, find what works for you.
Give yourself a break! If you wouldn’t say it to someone else like that then don’t say it to yourself. Be kinder to yourself.
Diarise your To-Do List – be realistic about how much time you have and what needs to be done when. Don’t add unnecessary pressure and overwhelm with how much you think you can achieve. Putting it in the calendar (including the stress bucket activities) can help you see what needs to be done and when rather than a never-ending list.
Increase your activity. Nothing extreme, just do more than you did last week. Anything that gets you more active counts. If it increases your heart rate and has you moving, then it ticks the box! – Yes, I do mean that as well!
Think about the nutrition that your body needs. Are you eating the best foods to fuel you throughout the day? Are you drinking enough water to stay hydrated?
Sometimes being active is the last thing we want to do, often this is the best thing we could do! When your head says no remind yourself that you won’t regret it later!
Your character is not an emotional state. You may display the behaviours but that does not define your character. You may occasionally behave in an aggressive way that does not mean that you are an ‘aggressive person’. You may sometimes respond in an anxious way, this does not make you an ‘anxious person’. Labelling your character with behaviours is very rarely helpful.
Switch state – If your emotional response is not helpful to the state that you are in then work to switch to the state you do want. Walk, talk, music, exercise – whatever works for you.
Be honest about why you respond to certain situations or people with certain emotions. What is it that is out of alignment with your values or is it a part of you that you see in their behaviour. Identifying why you are responding in a certain way can help you understand, when you understand you can make the changes that you need to make for a more positive outcome.
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First published November 2018
Revised and republished Feb 2020