Thursday, 27 July 2017

10 Ways To Practice Self-Care

I'm struggling to believe that we are already half way through this year and I have been so caught up in my day to day that I have regularly pushed aside my 'me time'. In the recent weeks I think the more I have spent less or no time on self-care has finally taken it's toll and in order to get back on track I thought I would share the 10 things I do to show myself a little love.

1 | Listen to music that inspires you
Nothing changes my mood instantly better than music. Simply putting on my favourite artist, album or series of songs can take my mind else where whilst somehow lifting my spirits. Music has the power to transport you and singing along is proven to release endorphins so you better start doing those vocal warm ups!

2 | Read a book that resonates
Reading for me is another way I like to escape. It is the perfect way to wind down at the end of the day or something to pass the time during your commute. I am aiming to set aside more time for this as I have found this really helps when it comes to night time and going to sleep. We can all be guilty of scrolling through our feeds or watching the latest series but I wake up exhausted after having a disrupted sleep.  Reading something you are interested in also makes this far more enjoyable, nothing beats a page turner you can't put down.

3 | Walk with nature
Being in a busy city I often feel the need to find a quiet spot with a bit of greenery as your setting can have a huge impact on your mood. The moment I feel the slightest bit tense I go outside for some fresh air. Whenever I get the chance, especially now we are in summer I often head to Hampstead Heath for a wander. I recently took my parents and we got an ice cream which turned out to be one of the most relaxing but enjoyable days we've had. Whether you make it a picnic with friends or go solo to clear your thoughts there is no doubt you'll come back in a better place. Maybe mix it with number one and two for a double whammy.

4 | Say affirmations daily
I've said it before and I will say it again, what you say to yourself has a big influence on how your day will go. Feed positive thoughts only and block out the negative ones, it is not always easy to do but 100% worth the effort. Lets try one together, repeat after me:

I am no longer going to live in fear, speak negatively about myself and others. Blame myself for past mistakes. Downplay my abilities and talents. Cheat myself. Lie to myself. Live in denial. Feel guilty for things that are not my fault. Procrastinate. Worry about things that I have no control over. Suffocate my feelings and emotions. Put roadblocks in my path. Instead I'm going to love myself unconditionally and treat myself with the utmost respect because I deserve it.

 It feels a bit silly at first but after a while of doing it I can confirm it has made such a difference to how I approach things I would once feel completely overwhelmed by.

5 | Take time out to enjoy your own company
I think finding comfort in being alone is crucial and at the heart of what it takes to be happy in life. Knowing yourself and understanding what you want/need helps you to make important decisions and choices. The more time you spend working on yourself and what you stand for the better you feel. Once you have found yourself you become more confident in what you are doing and rely less on others to support you or to provide reassurance, because you do that all on your own. Independence is something that requires constant attention, the time you get to yourself should focus on this.
6 | Meditate with your thoughts 
Dedicating time to clearing your mind is important. I realised after being so busy that once I took a break I felt overwhelmed by how much I actually hadn't fully processed. Taking 10 minutes everyday at the start or the end to just focus on your thoughts is needed to ensure everything does build up. 

7 | Stretch your limbs and exercise
I go to the gym twice a week more for what it does for me mentally than physically. Exercising is a great way to relieve stress and just get out any frustrations you have. I personally love Zumba! I use to do it back in my first year at university but stopped after a series of operations. Once I started my new job in a new city I signed up to the local gym to get back in to the swing of things. Before I knew it I made friends with the teacher and a few regulars in the class which makes shaking our bums even more fun.

8 | Rest and recuperate 
This is one I have neglected and only noticed that I was working myself to hard when I fell sick a few weeks ago. Working 9-5 Monday to Friday and then also going around the country visiting friends every weekend and making the most of life was very fulfilling however I burnt out. Everything catches up with you and if you don't rest or take a break you will make yourself ill. Trust me, I've learnt my lesson. Leave a few nights in the week free and have to odd duvet weekend to give your body time to recuperate otherwise you end up being stuck inside cancelling your plans because you're exhausted.

9 | Unleash your creative side 
For me doing something creative is such a big part of who I am. One of the most freeing things to do is to express yourself in a form you find enjoyable. I am lucky enough that I am able to do this for my job writing product descriptions, editing images and doing a little bit of digital merchandising. However my blog is another way I can do this on a more personal level sharing parts of my world with you my readers. There is something for everyone, I know colouring books have had a real boost in sales for adults after talks about the benefits of the therapeutic side to this activity.

10 | Cook a delicious meal for yourself
If I'm feeling sluggish it can be difficult not to automatically reach for the comfort food. Admittedly I am the first person to get all the sweet treats but afterwards I don't feel any better and usually feel guilty as I know it is a short term fix. Cooking a healthy, balanced meal will have more of the energy kick you are looking for. They don't have the saying 'you are what you eat' for no reason. When I'm feeling uninspired I make something that requires a bit more effort than heating something up in the microwave, normally from a cookbook or my 'Food' pinterest board (view that here). It tastes better when more thought goes in to it, doesn't mean it still can't be quick or satisfy your cravings.
I hope this post inspires you to add a little more self-care in to your lifestyle with my ten suggestions of easy ways to incorporate it in to your everyday.

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Thanks for reading, as always.

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