I want to focus on self-care this year; something which is vital to every aspect of life: family, work and relationships, yet it so often gets relegated to the bottom of the priority list as we put others’ needs before our own.
It’s not selfish to look after yourself, it’s necessary.
Here are 15 reminders to help you (and me) put self-care first.
- Distance yourself from negative energy. Simply-put: people who make you feel bad about yourself. I’m not referring to honest friends here who have your best interests at heart, but those who drain and deplete you purposefully. Relationships are based on energy and connection so make sure you remove yourself from toxic unions: manipulative, narcissistic and passive aggressive people who have no room in your life or heart.
- Plan fun things in your diary so you have events to look forward to. Be proactive about plans too. Don’t always wait for others to do the inviting, make calls, set up FB events and reach out to those you love so you can spend precious time together.
- Switch tech off early. That pesky blue light limits the production of hormone melatonin so you need a short digi detox before you can sleep. Hard I know, and one I have to remind myself of too but being a slave to your phone is no fun for anyone. Give yourself two hours offline before bed so you can read, do gentle stretching/yoga and are able to prepare your mind for sleep. Getting enough hours will help your mental and physical health too as you process stress, relax and recover.
- Exercise is the name of the game for me this year. I randomly met a heart surgeon in Whole Foods (as you do) who told me that exercise is in fact, more important than the food we consume. Yes, do eat well, that goes without saying, but make sure exercise is at the heart of all that you do. Nothing perks me up like exercise when I feel down and my new Fitbit motivates me to move every single day.
- Be kind to yourself. Feeling anxious or depressed? Trust that it will pass but do reach out for help if you feel you need it. CBT helped me hugely after a traumatic birth. Ask your GP for details.
- Get outdoors. Whatever the weather (just dress sensibly) get yourself outside to be by nature, and inhale that sweet, fresh air. The most fun I had in 2017 was running (and dancing) in the rain with my kids in a playground near to where we live. Childlike fun that fed the soul.
- Eat colourful, seasonal, wholesome food with some treats here and there for good measure. I live by the 80/20 rule and whilst I know wheat hates me (my fingers swell when I eat it), a little bit of what you fancy providing you’re not allergic, should be enjoyed in moderation. Life would be boring otherwise.
- Travel. Both here and abroad if you can. Save up to see the world. Nothing enriches me more than going to a new place whether that’s 10 minutes or 10 hours away.
- Find your passion. Doing what you love for a job is an act of self-care. If you’re unhappy, look at what you might be able to do as a side-hustle before making it your full time job. The digital landscape is both democratic and liberating so seize the opportunities that a blog or online business bring. My book Mumboss out in May will mobilise you!
- Laugh. Watch comedy, hang out with funny friends, and have some fun. Like exercise, laughter releases those much needed endorphins.
- Take your vitamins. The B vitamins and Vitamin D are known to support mental health and well-being so chat to your Dr/ head to the health food shop and stock up.
- Talk about your problems. Don’t bottle things up. Discuss your problems with those you trust or call the Samaritans who are open 24/7 to talk and cry about things (which scientifically soothes); share what’s bothering you, safe in the knowledge that you’re not alone.
- All work and no play is a recipe for disaster. We’re constantly juggling as parents but take control over your schedule. One of the reasons I became a blogger was so I could have more time with my kids. I always return to this motivator when I feel stressed out so I can remind myself to go to bed/ finish early/ reply to that non-urgent email tomorrow). I try to attend as many assemblies/Sports Days etc as possible, forgiving myself when I can’t be there due to work commitments, knowing that I’m doing my best.
- Curb guilt. Accept you are human and flawed and superwoman/man are fictional characters. Remind yourself of this and drop the futile guilt. Combat negative comparison, un-following those online who make you feel bad about your life, body, job.
- Say sorry. To others you hurt as well as yourself and commit to growth and being empathetic and kind, always. It’s vital you forgive those who have hurt you and move on. It’s not always easy but hanging on to bad energy will breed into every area of your life, poisoning it. Just let it go. Read my post for inspiration on this.
Go love yourself! Happy New Year.