Jill Palmer works as a writer and researcher for Mental Wellness Center. Here she explores the importance of self-care and shares some wellbeing top tips.
Self-care can have a major effect on a person’s life, from boosting their mood and ability to get through the day, to reducing stress, anxiety, and the symptoms of depression. It’s a way to relax and focus on your needs for a few minutes each day no matter what else is going on in your life, and learning to practice it can help you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. The best thing about self-care is that you decide how you want to work it into your life. From making an effort to be more social and avoid isolation to learning how best to take a time out during a busy and stressful day, there are many things you can do to bring the focus back to your needs.
Find Methods to Ease Your Anxiety
Many people experience anxiety every day for various reasons. The causes and the symptoms are so varied that it can be difficult to find a healthy way to ease those feelings, which can lead to stress on many aspects of your life. One of the best ways to start making positive change is by getting to the root of your feelings and understanding where they come from. Anxiety can come about due to many external factors, including:
- Work related stress
Speaking to a support helpline such as Vetlife or Samaritans can help you to identify stressors and allows you to explore a way forward. Therapy, counselling, and support groups are also wonderful ways to get in touch with your feelings and to learn more about what is causing your anxiety. If feelings of anxiety persist, speak to your GP about your potential options.
Boost Your Sleep Habits
The way we sleep is directly tied to many other things in our lives, from our moods to physical health, so it’s crucial to form good rest habits and maintain them on a regular schedule. It’s not always easy to do, especially if you’re living with anxiety or depression, but there are some things you can try that will help the process along, including:
- Creating a routine to relax before bed, which might include taking a hot shower, reading a book, putting away all screens and devices, or using lavender-scented lotion
- Changing your sleep environment to make sure it’s as relaxing as possible; temperature, bedding, and lighting are all important factors
- Changing your diet to remove or reduce caffeine for better sleep
Maintaining good sleep hygiene isn’t always easy, especially when working nights on call. However, by making manageable changes to your lifestyle and environment, you’ll be able to improve your routine.
Staying social can help prevent isolation, which is a big factor in depression and even physical health issues for people of all ages. Whether you choose to make plans with friends and family to go out to dinner or to simply set up a video chat service so you can stay in touch with everyone more easily, keeping the people you love close will allow you to have a support system that keeps you feeling appreciated and safe. Make it a point to maintain a social relationship with people you enjoy as often as you can.
Relaxing isn’t always easy; for some, anxiety or other mood disorders make it next to impossible to lighten the mental load in order to feel better. However, there are many things you can do to help the process along, such as:
- Taking a timeout
- Getting a massage or other healing touch service
- Seeing a counsellor or therapist
Relaxing is about more than just resting at the end of a long day; it’s about knowing when you need to take time for yourself in order to heal or improve your mental health. Many of us get so busy during the workday or are so preoccupied with taking care of our families that we forget to take a few moments for ourselves, and that can be detrimental to our health and wellbeing. If you have to, set a timer on your phone that will help you remember to take a break at work. You can also learn how to meditate and create an area in your home that will help you relax and focus on getting centred. A quiet room with soft lighting will work wonders for your mood after a long day. When you can have that time with yourself before moving on to the next task, it will really help you focus on what is most important so you can drown out all the negativity.
Learn to Say ‘No’
Saying “no” to someone who wants your time or energy when you simply can’t give it can be difficult. When you’ve been taught your entire life to be a “team player” and to help others when you can, it’s hard to suddenly pivot and take time for yourself, but sometimes that’s exactly what you must do. Learning how to politely decline a request when you are already overloaded with work or stress can be a huge boost to your mental health, and it can help to keep your work relationships strong at the same time.
Keep Your Finances in Order
Financial issues can be one of the biggest causes of stress, and while many of these problems come about due to forces beyond our control, some can be prevented. Staying on top of your finances by keeping your documentation well-organised will help you reduce stress and prevent any nasty surprises down the road. This includes:
- Keeping your chequebook balanced
- Filing receipts so nothing gets overlooked
- Keeping communication open with your significant other
- Creating a budget you can maintain
When you’re on top of your spending and know exactly how to balance income with expenditures, you’ll be much better able to keep your finances on track and prevent the stress that comes with money problems.
Self-care comes in a lot of forms, so it’s important to think about which kind is best for your needs. Talk to your partner, Vetlife, or doctor about how you can practice better self-care. With a little planning and a few lifestyle changes, you can find balance and achieve overall wellbeing with reduced stress.