Are you always busy? For many people, the daily grind of endless responsibilities and commitments, work, school and/or family lives can take over and self-care can often be the last thing we think about. But it isn’t selfish to prioritise yourself, it’s essential. Self-care promotes wellbeing, and being in a positive state of mind is vital to ensuring you have the mental capacity and energy to pursue all of the tasks in your daily routine to the best of your ability.
Whilst it can feel conflicting at first, making dedicated time in your weekly or daily schedule to focus on yourself brings fantastic benefits to your mental health. As a result, you’ll feel more energised, focused and productive.
Here are three great activities to try this week to help begin focusing on self-care.
There is a deep, magical quality to spending time nurturing a garden that offers serious, soul-healing qualities. Cultivating a garden, whether big or small, or even raising house plants if you lack outdoor space, is highly rewarding. There is something for everyone with gardening, and you have the freedom to be as creative as you want to be when designing your own little corner of peace in the world.
Being outside in nature is great for boosting our mood, slowing our minds and reducing our cortisol levels. Gardening can also be a great form of physical exercise, depending on the task, but it is versatile enough to suit all ages and ability levels. If you’re new to gardening, the satisfaction of learning a new skill is another added benefit which also helps to make us feel good about ourselves.
Mindfulness has had a lot of hype in recent years, and for good reason. The foundational principles of this practice are backed up by science, and plenty of people have already begun to reap the benefits. In essence, mindfulness is about allowing yourself to stop and observe your thoughts and feelings without judgement or the need to act, plan or try and eliminate them. By disconnecting ourselves from the pressure our constant thoughts put on us, we can help ourselves relax and feel more grounded, content and patient.
Similarly to meditation, mindfulness has roots in Buddhism but is not about any spiritual or religious faith. It’s simply focusing your mind in a specific way that can help to reduce stress and increase overall happiness. Amazingly, even short sessions can reduce blood pressure, improve sleep and help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
As a form of exercise that can be as gentle or strenuous as you want it to be, pilates is a great place to start if you’re looking for a physical way to practise self-care. Known for improving posture, reducing stress and increasing physical and mental resilience, there are many benefits to pilates.
Using bodyweight exercises, stretching movements and controlled breathing, pilates offers people of all fitness levels the chance to improve their physique whilst also improving wellbeing and mood. Whether you prefer to attend a class at your local fitness centre or follow along at home via online videos and classes, pilates is easy to start right away without the need for any special equipment.
Make time for you
Hopefully reading about these activities has motivated you to start investing in yourself and spend more time practising self-care. After all, it’s only once we look after ourselves that we can give the best care and support to those around us.