In a society where self-care has become such a huge focus in the recent years and months, we’re often told that “these are the things we need to do when we’re feeling down / ill / depressed, in order to improve ourselves” and well, make ourselves feel that little bit better. And whilst that’s great; we all need these coping mechanisms for our down days – we often think only about self care in times of “need”. Boyfriend break up with you? Self care day. Rough day at work? Self care evening. Having a bad time with your mental health? Self bloody care. And again, this is brilliant and we totally should focus on our self care when we’re having a rough time but what about all the other time? You know, all the other days of the year when we’re not having a bad day, our boyfriends haven’t just broken up with us and our mental health is on a pretty good keel. What then?
Self care is for every day. Not just the bad days. We should be looking after ourselves and doing things to positively effect our well being every. single. day. I think this consistency in, “I’m going to do this because it feels good / I need to do it / it’ll make me feel even better than I already feel” will then in turn make caring for ourselves when we are in a bad place all that easier. Because we already know how to do it. Because we always do. Every day.
This is something I’ve been focusing a lot on this year and I’m going to write a separate post about subtle ways I’ve gone about improving my life over the last 5 months and a point similar to this entire post will likely be in there but today I wanted to share some teeny, tiny almost insignificant things we can do every day (or nearly every day – circumstances depending) that will improve our overall well being. Today, tomorrow and every bad day to come.
Drink enough water
Obvious. But one that gets frightfully overlooked. I have a connection to water. Water calms me and has ever since I developed my generalized anxiety disorder back in 2011. I sip on water when I’m feeling anxious, I think about water if I need to calm my racing mind and being around water is an absolute dream. But drinking enough water is so overlooked but it’s the easiest thing to do to improve your well being. If you don’t like plain water, there are plenty of alternative!
Taking 5 minutes for yourself when you get out of bed in the morning to just stretch it out can feel wonderful. Like literally, it feels amazing. Why wouldn’t you want to do it?! Basic arm, neck, shoulder and leg stretches, which take 5 minutes of your day but can have an amazing effect on the rest of it.
This doesn’t have to mean from a rooftop, with a speaker in the middle of town. You don’t even have to do anything in order to express gratitude but feeling grateful and actively thinking about things that you’re grateful for that day can have a huge psychological and mental benefit on your overall well being. I kept a gratitude journal a few years ago and wrote down one thing I was grateful for every day for a year. I completed it but it didn’t really work for me because by the end, I felt like I was scrambling for things to write. Now, I simply take a few minutes each day to think about or say out loud what I’m grateful for in that moment.
Since starting Yoga and taking Yoga seriously for the last year, I’ve learnt a great deal about the importance of breathing and the effect it has on the body. There’s so many difference types of breath we can do (I’m not qualified enough to explain them nor do I know all of them) for difference situations and just taking stock of your breathing throughout the day can be so beneficial. If my anxiety has be “over breathing” I can notice that and sort it out. If I’m exercising and feel myself slacking, I can breathe through it. Seriously… Breathe.
I know this is a difficult one because everyone’s situations are different and there may be a ton of reasons why you can’t make it outside on any given day but just for the sake of this post, let’s keep it in. I always, always, always try and get outside at least once a day. I work from home so I don’t have any need to commute and working from home certainly has a impact on this one (which I’m sure you’ll agree with if you work from home yourself). In the summer, I take my laptop outside to work (if it’s not too hot, in which case I’m in front of a fan!). In the winter, I’ll take my dog for a walk over a nice park we have near us. There’s so many options!
Ugh, one I am awful at but definitely have started noticing more. Your posture can have a huge effect on things such as muscle aches, headaches or tense shoulders. We spend so long hunched over our phones and laptops that we forget how to sit properly! In fact, right before I started typing this sentence, I realised how hunched I was and quickly sat up straighter. Again, take stock. Notice.