As we often hear we can't pour from an empty cup and as winter bugs seem to surround us, it's the perfect time to look after ourselves.
The most important thing is to put yourself first. If you don't take care of yourself first, you won't be able to do anything well — work or otherwise. We need to take time to recharge our batteries and prepare ourselves for whatever challenges may come our way next.
Stress is a normal part of life. But, when it becomes overloaded, it can impact our physical, mental and emotional health. Stressors can be caused by many things, including relationships, family problems, financial issues or work stressors. Our bodies react to stress in different ways – some people may feel more anxious or even depressed; others will feel “on edge” and more irritable than usual. One way to combat this is to actively make time for relaxing activities that help relieve stress like meditation, time spent with friends or exercise.
Identify key stressors or areas of your life causing your mental health to suffer. Talk about your concerns and struggles, and encourage those around you to do the same. Some activities that can help are journaling, yoga, meditation, counselling and many more.
A key sign of emotional wellness is holding onto positive emotions longer and appreciating the good times. Emotional wellness is also known as emotional health or emotional wellbeing. When you are in a negative emotional state, it can result in impacted wellbeing, including impaired immunity.
To be healthy and happy, taking care of your body is essential. And as with any skill, it's best to do it consistently—even if you don’t feel like it every day. Aim to practice healthy daily habits by taking advantage of the resources around you: a yoga class, walking in nature or at the park, balancing work with play, and setting aside a few minutes for meditation each day. The more you can practice self-care, the more deeply rooted those good habits become. It can be as simple as increasing your daily steps, making time for yoga or Pilates, drinking more water and eating healthy meals—all of which can improve your mood and overall health.
Social well-being is an essential aspect of being happy and healthy. Social isolation can take a toll on your mental health, but regular social interactions and connections with friends and family can help you to feel more connected, fulfilled, and authentic.
We know it can be challenging to find spare time for self-care in our busy days as our focus is redirected to care for our family, work and keeping up with our never-ending to-do list. Here are some ideas to use when you find some quiet time.
#1 Prioritise Sleep
Sleep is vital for our bodies and minds. When we sleep well, we feel energised and refreshed when we wake up. Aim for 8 hours of sleep every night to ensure you get enough sleep, to ensure you can get as much REM sleep as possible.
#2 Quiet time
Whether reading a book or watching a movie, taking time for yourself is crucial to recharge. Sometimes all it takes is just taking some space from our phones to disconnect from the constant notifications.
Eat nourishing, warming foods to support your body through the colder months. Focusing on soups, stews, and roasts is a great way to boost vegetable intake. If you feel run down, you can add immune-boosting herbs like Echinacea to support you through the colder months.
#4 Get outside
Spending time outside in nature can be a great tool to recharge. Whether it’s a beach or bush walk, it’s a great way to get as much sunshine (vitamin D), and the movement supports your wellbeing.
#5 Quality time
Spending time with family and friends to connect and catch up or plan a night to spend time with loved ones, whether it is a movie night, games night or just a coffee date.
Exercise can often drop off in colder temperatures. Exercise helps to boost energy, get the blood pumping and support your sleep. Whether it's walking, weights or yoga or just gentle stretching can help support stiff, cold joints. Aim to do some activity for at least 30 minutes a day.
Having a hobby and prioritising time for your hobby helps to improve your mental health and can help reduce feelings of stress. Physically, it can help you feel energised and refreshed, whether it is joining a fitness group or learning a new skill in an art or cooking class, as well as an opportunity to meet new people to look after your social well-being.
#8 Healthy Daily Habits
Creating a daily routine with healthy morning and night-time habits encourages your body clock to adjust. Here are some simple things to add to your daily routine; going to and waking up at consistent times. Reflective journaling for your mental health. A skincare routine. When waking up, hydrate yourself first thing in the morning with a glass of water before your morning tea or coffee.
Each of these changes may seem like an insignificant step alone, but when you put them together, you may notice significant improvements in your mental and physical health.