Healthy Habits: Self-care

Today's healthy habit focus is on the topic of self-care.

It is completely normal to feel stressed and overwhelmed during these uncertain times. Common emotions people tend to feel in response to uncertainty can include anxiety, fear, anger and sadness.

Self-care is about being good to yourself and to your mental health. It involves our ability to switch off and do something we enjoy or something that makes us feel good.

Aiysha Malik, a psychologist with the World Health Organization explains that we can feel mentally better if we are as physically well as possible.

Some tips for physical self-care include:

  • Fuelling your body – eat a healthy, nutritious diet and make sure to drink lots of water
  • Sleep – aim to get 7-8 hours every night. It makes the other 16 hours of the day easier
  • Exercise – try to get your body moving for 30 minutes every day. If you’re feeling unmotivated, try to go for a brisk 30 minute walk outside
  • Breathe deeply and stretch often
  • Keep unhelpful coping strategies like smoking and drinking to a minimum

Some tips for mental/emotional self-care include:

  • Create and maintain a routine in your daily life while at home
  • Keep in touch with friends and family by phone or video call – this will help keep your spirits up and increase the feeling of social interaction
  • Write down three things you are grateful for each day – no matter how small
  • Listen to some upbeat music/playlist and tidy your surroundings. You will be surprised how good it makes you feel when it’s done
  • Read books – the sense of escapism is so therapeutic
  • Avoid over-consumption of COVID-19 news content. Ensure any content you do consume comes from a reliable source
  • You know what makes you feel good – practice hobbies or activities that have brought you joy in the past
  • Do not beat yourself up for sleeping in or napping – fatigue is a common side effect of the anxiety and tension this pandemic brings with it
  • This time is not a productivity contest. If all you feel like doing is reading a good book or watching Netflix, that’s okay too

Practicing self-care is giving ourselves the permission to take care of our needs, and this is essential.