Self-care should be a priority, we need to ensure our mental and physical well-being is looked after, if we are in tip-top condition then looking after others becomes easier, or simply life looks a little brighter. Here are my favourite self-care goals anyone can set and start to practice today.
It’s wonderful to sit and think you want to start looking after yourself more, you deserve it after all, so you make lists, you set goals, you make some more lists, you read blog articles about self-care and watch hours of YouTube videos, but do you ever actually take the time out to look after yourself? Alice Boyes PhD noted, “if you need to make decisions constantly, you might find that you put off very small ones” (Boyes. 2019), she also noted procrastination can come from anxiety-related issues too by taking a perfectionist approach to a task it can often lead up to procrastinating away from it.
If you are finding you really want to look after yourself, decide how you want to do it, via meditation, eating healthy, starting to exercise, practising mindfulness, however, it is you want to practice self-care stop making lists and plans and just start, a plan can be actioned alongside you performing an act. For example, if you want to start a meditational practice, start meditating, see how it feels, see how you like it. Once you have settled into a practice of meditation then you can look at creating a plan. Never allow planning to stop you from doing.
Dieting can be more harmful than you may realise, according to Anna Guerdjikova PhD Director of Services at the Lindner HOPE Center and Harold Schott Research Assistant Professor at Eating Disorders Program University of Cincinnati “chronic dieters consistently report guilt and self-blame, irritability, anxiety and depression, difficulty concentrating and fatigue” (Guerdjikova Et Al. 2016) Dieters can also form feelings of low self-esteem, this concoction of negativity does very for those looking to embark on a self-care journey.
Dieters can often associate losing a certain amount of weight with happiness, we have all said it “if I just lose a stone I would be really happy, I would be able to fit into this size jeans and this would make me so happy” I know I have said that one or two times myself. Jennifer Rollin MSW, LCSW-C understands how tying our happiness to an external goal such as the ideal body can lead us discontented. Our bodies change all the time, we age, we develop wrinkles, we can lose or gain weight or muscle, with each change our bodies change, by tying happiness to an appearance-based goal we are tying our happiness to a sinking ship, we are going to age and our bodies are going to change.
Think of all the time you have spent worrying about how you look, judging your reflection in a mirror, reading diet books and watching dieting shows, all for the pursuit of this “perfect” body. Instead, feed your body with nutritionally dense foods, add in those treats you love to keep you sane and nurture your mind with positivity and self-love towards yourself.
Set A Self-Care Day
I know for some people it’s not possible to spend an entire day looking after yourself, but on one specific day try and carve out as much time as you possibly can. Then use this time to love yourself! This is a favourite of mine, honestly, I thought it was a waste of time, I had so much to do and no time to do anything, one day, fraught, frazzled and stressed out, my skin looked a mess, my hair was greasy, and my bowel movements were causing me the worst kinds of pains, I decided enough was enough, I needed to start looking after myself. I am just as important as my university degree, I was just as important as my full-time job, I was just as important as looking after my home, my husband and building my dream home. In fact, I was more important than most of this, with the exception being my husband, and we are on par.
Having understood how stressed out I was and how this was affected me I made a move to dedicate 1 day a week to me, this day was a Sunday, but it could change anytime I wanted it too or I needed it to. This felt very strange to me at first, sat there with a face mask on whilst I had a huge to-do list to be cracking on with. I struggled a lot at first, but as time passed I realised the to-do list would always be there, it just had different tasks on it. Now my Sunday is glorious, I feel little guilt, I enjoy myself and indulge in any of my whims, I read, I write, I do yoga, play with Polymer Clay, reflect, meditate, pamper myself, bake, cook, anything which is pleasurable to myself at that moment in time. I implore you to give this a try but be patient and consistent, it takes some time to get used too!
Have A Good De-Clutter
There are 2 ways you can declutter – declutter your mind and declutter your space, let’s start with decluttering your space, Alice Boyes PhD states decluttering our space has numerous beneficial effects on us as humans, it allows us to feel confident, energised and reduces anxiety. Maria Lewczyk echoes this sentiment, when stuff starts to build up around us it can have a myriad of negative effects, including depression and anxiety, clutter can quickly become overwhelming, by decluttering your space you restore balance back to your space and mind.
Another way to declutter is to declutter your mind, your mind being weighed down with clutter, mess, anxiety, problems, constant thoughts about the past, present and future can affect our mental health, decluttering the mind is one self-care goal you can easily set and start to work on Noma Nazish a writer for Forbes suggests we can do this by keeping a journal, journaling allows us to get our thoughts down on paper and get them out of our heads, we can use journaling as a tool to organise our thoughts. I love a good journaling session, I always feel a lot lighter afterwards. Noma also suggests to stop multitasking, when we multitask we are constantly splitting focus and never really giving one task our true and proper attention.
Amy Morin writing for Psychology Today makes a suggestion which I loved and has become my new personal favourite tip, challenge your self-doubt. In order to challenge this self-doubt we need to prove why we are wrong, simply suggesting, or telling ourselves in meaningless platitudes we do not believe will not allow the mind to change, we need to challenge our self-doubts and prove them wrong.
Thank you very much for reading, I would love to know what self-care goals you are working on or would love to start working?
Have a great day!
Boyes, A. (2018) 6 Benefits of an Uncluttered Space. Online at https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/in-practice/201802/6-benefits-uncluttered-space [Accessed: 4 September 2020]
Boyes, A. (2019) 6 Common Causes of Procrastination. Online at https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/in-practice/201910/6-common-causes-procrastination [Accessed: 3 September 2020]
Guerdjikova Et Al. (2016) Why Dieting Can Be Harmful. Online at https://lindnercenterofhope.org/blog/why-dieting-can-be-harmful/ [Accessed: 3 September 2020]
Lewczyk, M. (2018) How Decluttering Can Hell You Control Your Anxiety. Online at https://www.prevention.com/life/a20515773/health-benefits-of-decluttering/ [Accessed: 4 September 2020]
Morin, A. (2018) 3 Ways To Declutter Your Mind. Online at https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/what-mentally-strong-people-dont-do/201805/3-ways-declutter-your-mind#:~:text=When%20you%20declutter%20your%20mind,the%20best%20version%20of%20yourself [Accessed: 7 September 2020]
Nazish, N. (2017) How To Declutter Your Mind. Online at https://www.forbes.com/sites/nomanazish/2017/11/19/how-to-declutter-your-mind-10-practical-tips-youll-actually-want-to-try/#146fa95924f1 [Accessed: 7 September 2020]
Rollin, J. (2015) 3 Reasons You Should Never Go on a Diet. Online at https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/mindful-musings/201510/3-reasons-you-should-never-go-diet [Accessed: 3 September 2020]