Practicing Self-Care-an essential not a luxury

Anxiety is a normal response to some life events like doing exams or a job interview. Learning some positive coping skills and practicing self-care in positive ways on a daily and weekly basis will keep anxiety in a manageable way. It is easy when we are busy to lose track of self-care but this is not a luxury to squeeze in when we have nothing else to do. It is a physical and psychological necessity. We can’t give to others unless we learn to give to ourselves. In the words of Lucille Ball, ‘Taking good care of yourself means the people in your life receive the best of you, not what’s left of you’.

☐  Notice when your thinking is negative/distorted thoughts. These thoughts create our world. They directly affect our feelings and our actions and self-confidence.

☐  Keep a confidence diary; make a note of the things that you do well. Surround yourself with people who see the best in you. Let go the negative. Practice self-compassion; acknowledge when you have done your best.

☐  Time spent in nature is proven to be great for our moods. Make a date regularly to get outdoors; focus on your senses; what you see, smell, hear, touch when in the natural world.

☐  Nurture your body with healthy, fresh foods from all the food groups. This will give you the energy you need to get through the day. There’s no such thing as a ‘bad’ food, only bad quantities!

☐  Practice mindful breathing morning & evening. Place one hand on your abdomen and one hand on your heart. Inhale deep and exhale slowly through your nose. Repeat 10 times with your eyes closed. This reduces the ‘fight-or-flight response.’

☐  Make a date with your bath. Have a soak that focuses on relaxation with essential oils or a nice bathfoam. Turn off your phone. Cover your limbs with a nice moisturizer. By slowing down and moving with awareness, you can make it a meditative practice, not a chore.

☐  If you find your racing mind is preventing you from sleeping, try writing a journal of your thoughts, feelings, and stuff that is bothering you. This can help you to clear your mind and sleep better.

Have a gratitude practice; reflect on 3 things at the end of every day that you are grateful for. It may be as simple as a chat with a neighbor.

☐  If you have trouble sleeping, try a few drops of a relaxing essential oil on your pillow or rub a few drops of lavender oil and vetivert onto the soles of your feet. These are two oils that can be applied to the body directly in small amounts. Take advice if pregnant.

Notice when you are taking on too much; recognize your limitations, try to delegate and practice the power of a positive no.