Woman sitting amongst nature

How To Live Self Care For Life: Self-Care Tips for #SelfCareWeek

22nd November 2020

This week has been #SelfCareWeek across social media. It’s an NHS annual event that raises awareness of what we can do to improve our physical and mental health. 

This year’s theme is Live Self Care For Life.

NHS Self Care Week 2020 logo. Includes a man painting a heart on a tree with the motto Live Self Care for Life.

If you follow my Instagram you’ll know self-care’s something I’m currently working hard on to improve my mental health.

So many people, parents in particular, don’t often think to have time for themselves, or understand the importance of it.

I didn’t realise until recently just how important it is, and how much it negatively affects your life if you don’t practise regular self-care.

What is Self-Care?

According to the Self-Care Forum, a charity which aims to educate and encourage people to care for themselves, self-care is:

The actions that individuals take for themselves, on behalf of and with others to develop, protect, maintain & improve their health, wellbeing and wellness

Selfcareforum.org

In basic terms it’s what we do to take care of our bodies, mind and mood. It’s not selfish to take care of ourselves, because we’re just as important as everyone else.

Why is Self-Care Important?

We can’t look after others if we’re running on empty.

Looking after ourselves and finding ways to recharge enables us to be the best parents, friends and colleagues we can be.

woman's hand in heart shape on her stomach

Self-care can improve and maintain good physical and mental health.

It can also reduce mental or physical health issues, or even stop these happening in the first place.

Self-Care Ideas

Exercise

Whether it’s a jog along the beach, a gym session or a workout DVD at home, exercise is so important for our minds and bodies.

It can relieve stress, help us feel stronger and it’s a great endorphin boost. Those endorphins can give us happy brain chemicals to elevate our mood and motivate us for the rest of the day.

Nutrition

We can literally feed our bodies self-care! Fruit, vegetables and pulses (nuts/seeds) provide vitamins and minerals that help boost our immune systems. They’re also great for feeding our brains and helping those happy chemicals work.

a box of vegetables

Rest

Taking 30 minutes to just be can do wonders. This could be having a bath with scented candles, foot soak, listening to music or watching TV.

For a special treat, massages and spa days work too!

Socialise

Staying connected with others, whether it’s on video call, emails, written letter in the current climate are important. When the world’s back to normal, meeting for a coffee, going for long walks and just spending time with others helps a lot.

Learning to be open with someone you trust about your feelings can help. It’s great self-care to vent to a friend, as you’re offloading stress, negativity, worries and fears which helps recharge your mind.

Self Check-Ins & Celebrating Yourself

This one may not feel as nice as a massage or bath, but it’s important. Checking in how we’re feeling means we can keep an eye on what’s going on before it gets too much. It can reduce stress from getting too high or mental health to start deteriorating.

Sitting with our feelings can be painful, but the end result is that we have better self awareness. This ensures our emotions come out in healthier ways.

red journal with the words be brave, be bold, be beautiful, be you on the front cover

Journaling and meditation can be good for this. Journaling can take many forms, whether it’s writing whatever comes into your head for five minutes a day, or a gratitude journal.

Gratitude journaling is where you write at least three positive things from your day. This can help to reframe negative thinking into positive which I’m currently attempting.

Get a Hobby

There’s many self-care activities that are fun, calming and constructive. Slow stitching is one I tried recently, and anything artistic or creative is always a winner. You are in the moment doing the activity and focussing on your creation so it’s the ultimate mindfulness activity.

I love crystal therapy, reading fiction, nature walks and sometimes baking something tasty!

Writing, knitting, crosswords and even jigsaw puzzles are also great to try.

Take an Interest in your Physical Health

Have you avoided going to the doctors with symptoms you’re ignoring, or do you keep putting off that eye test?

Making sure we get our health check-ups may not be enjoyable, but it’s taking care of your body. We need a body MOT just like our cars!

Get the calendar out and make those dental/optical/medial appointments now before you put it off again!

Get Good Sleep

Our bodies need eight hours sleep every night ideally.

It’s rare I get this, so I’ve started setting my bed times and it’s helping a lot. My body isn’t used to going to bed earlier, but after a few days it’s adjusting.

lady asleep in her bed

Sleep helps our brains recharge.

I tell my son it’s like his online games; They refresh and update on rest mode, and our brains need this too so we can be energised and focussed.

Social media and Email Breaks

This speaks for itself. Social media can be a good distraction, but it also keeps our brains wired.

Having a cut-off point every night avoids the blue light screens keeping our minds awake long after bedtime.

Having a day per week where we don’t use social media can also be great.

I’ve cut down my Instagram posts from twice a day to twice a week and seen a great difference in my wellbeing.

Decluttering Your Space

Again this is not always fun, but boy does it feel good afterwards!

I loved reading Marie Kondo’s book about decluttering, as she teaches the importance of only keeping what brings you joy.

Clothes with tags on two years later clearly don’t bring me joy, or boxes of odds and ends gathering dust.

Cluttered homes can clutter minds, so reducing this can do wonders for our stress levels.

Connect with Nature

This is my favourite and most powerful form of self-care at the moment.

Being in nature has so many benefits to our bodies and minds.

Tree-bathing’s popular in Japan, because they’ve found great benefits to mental health just by walking or sitting amongst trees.

I love visiting forests and spending time looking at the trees, their branches and the leaves swaying in the breeze.

people walking in the forest.

Similarly the beach is calming for me; Hearing the waves crashing, the smell of the salt air and even the pebbles and sand have a soothing quality.

Taking walks can do wonders. It’s time away from busy life, chores and screens. Our minds can focus on being present in the moment.

Having a dog forces me to go out daily, which has helped me get self-care moments on busier days.

How To Fit Self-Care In

Self-care needs to be planned, because life gets in the way so it rarely happens naturally.

We schedule our kids’ hobbies, cooking and appointments, so treat it like another task to plan to ensure it happens.

Stick to basics initially; Find small things to schedule, like a tea break with your feet up, or a dog walk. As you get used to fitting it in, you can add more self-care activities so it’s varied and stays interesting.

It’s important to not feel guilty about fitting time in for yourself. So many of us, particularly mums, feel bad or selfish if we do things for just us.

Self-care may feel lazy or like you’re not achieving anything, but it actually revives us so we can achieve more.

What does Self-Care Look Like to You?

I’ve asked some bloggers what self-care looks like for them and was inspired by what they came up with:

Self-care for me is clocking out of the daily chores and having alone time. I make sure that at least once per week, I take a hike in the Peak District alone. This isn’t about exercise, it’s about allowing my mind to clear and wander, reconnecting with nature, and just breathing in fresh air. I’m always refocused once I get home.

Jenny from peakdistrictkids

Self-care’s about doing what makes me happy and feel good. Usually my favourite YouTube vloggers, something cosy like Agatha Christie, yummy food & lots of chocolate, some face masking and at home curled up with my fiancé. It’s about those simple things for me and the avoidance of anything to do with stress or work. I try to have the day off my phone when it’s a self-care day too.

Laura from alifewithfrills

Self-care’s a way for me to de-stress and focus on my own wellbeing. It’s a break from work and a break from parent duties and others. It’s a special time to focus on myself. I do yoga each day, anywhere from 10 minutes to one hour each morning depending on my schedule. Even 10 minutes is a great way to start the day as calm as possible. I have a relaxing bath once a week, which involves candles, bubbles, bath pillow and a TV episode in peace with no interruptions allowed!

victoria from healthyvix

Self-care is whatever your body and mind are telling you they need at the time. It could be as simple as a relaxing bath or as complicated as self-reflection and working out how to grow as a person. I schedule in at least a couple of hours to myself per week to read, reflect, journal or create.

soph at sophhearts

Self-care to me means being able to relax on my own without interruptions. I need to take a break from all the noise and chaos to just focus on me. I use a meditation app, listen to music and also watch my favourite shows in peace. It doesn’t happen often so I take full advantage of the time I do have!

julie at mummyitsok

A heart shaped soap amongst bath sponges

Self-care is about replenishing the energy I have lost carrying out my activities, and is about having some in reserve so I don’t burn out. Burnout would be detrimental to me and my family so I need to make time to take care of myself. Every day I do some form of meditation, journaling, reading, affirmations, and exercise to look after myself. I’m practicing self-reflection and trying to be more aware of my actions and reactions to prevent broken relationships, as this could also add to stress.

ngozi at elevatedmum

Self-care’s about listening to what my body and mind needs. It’s about understanding myself, becoming self-reliant, and slowing down when I need to. After getting diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, self-care really became an absolute essential. It can be fun and creative like art therapy, but it’s also remembering to take medication, taking breaks from social media, and working on changing bad habits!

emily at emilyunderworld

Self-care is making sure you look after yourself as well as others – it’s almost like putting fuel in your car, if you don’t practice self-care then eventually the tank will run dry and you won’t be able to function properly. I think once you become a parent, you definitely need to plan time for yourself in advance, otherwise it just doesn’t happen! But it really can be everything from just taking a few minutes to make a cup of tea, to finding the time for a nice hot bath after the baby’s in bed.

mairead at sicklymama

Self-care to me means taking time out to recharge my batteries. My time comes when the oldest is at school and the youngest is napping, I jump back into bed for an hour and I don’t feel guilty about it at all!

trini at trinimamabebe

A key thing when it comes to self-care is getting the kids on board! Since they were very young I’ve been firm with the kids when it comes to me having some time out. I explain to them that for me to have lots of energy to play fun games with them, cook their meals and take them places, I have to have half an hour to myself for a bath or to read a book. All three of my kids totally accept it because I’ve been honest about how shattered I feel if I don’t get a little window of time just for me!

sarah at thegoodthingisthough

Self-Care Resources

Self care written in scrabble tiles

Mind Charity

Mind have a list of online self help resources to help with mental wellbeing.

This includes links to free online courses covering low mood and stress, as well as mood trackers and help with anxiety and depression.

The NHS SelfCare Toolkit

A toolkit created by the NHS to help people with persistent health conditions to find ways to maintain good self-care.

It includes tips, supportive activities and a list of resources for various health conditions.

Start2

Start2 is a site that encourages people to live life more creatively to aid positive self-care.

It shows you how to use your natural creative skills to maintain and improve your wellbeing. There’s a range of activities designed by experts in art and health.

No payment was received for this post. All opinions are honest and my own.

18 Comments

  • Playdays and Runways

    23rd November 2020 at 6:58 pm

    I said that I would practice more self care during lockdown and didn’t but I am definitely looking after myself in 2021

  • Claire

    23rd November 2020 at 6:59 pm

    This is a brilliant post! Self care is hugely important but I am so guilty at making NO time for it at all.

    I feel really inspired now, so thank you x

  • LaaLaa

    23rd November 2020 at 7:44 pm

    I’m a self-care queen! LOL – absolutely love it, so much can fall under self-care but I do like to just treat and relax myself and make myself feel good – surround myself by all things I love and listen too x

  • Jenny

    23rd November 2020 at 7:53 pm

    I make sure to take time for myself. Between work and kids it can be hard to carve out some time but it’s so important.

  • MELANIE EDJOURIAN

    23rd November 2020 at 9:28 pm

    I didn’t realise it was self care week. Loads of great self care ideas. Socialising are exercise are great for all of us.

  • Sim @ Sim’s Life

    23rd November 2020 at 9:33 pm

    Some fabulous tips! I only wish I had the time to practice some self care! I always seem to be busy doing something or sorting something out, never a dull moment! 😉 Sim x

  • Rebecca Smith

    23rd November 2020 at 11:23 pm

    Some great self care tips here. I really struggle with self care – I never think to make time for myself when I really should.

  • Mellissa Williams

    23rd November 2020 at 11:25 pm

    Self care is so important. It is so important to get enough sleep but I am so bad for doing so!

  • Helen

    24th November 2020 at 5:10 am

    This is definitely something I’m guilty of not prioritising enough since becoming a parent. My needs come last, but I know that really they should be higher in so that I’m at my best to look after our children 🙂

  • Yeah Lifestyle

    24th November 2020 at 10:26 am

    Some fabulous ideas here! I do agree sometimes we get into a rat race and forget to practice self care and these ideas have reminded me to slow down and remind me that it is okay to take some time off

  • Rhian Westbury

    24th November 2020 at 11:47 am

    Exercise and good sleep are very important for me. But also just relaxing and doing what makes me happy is nice. Sometimes that’s reading a book or maybe watching a movie x

  • Melanie williams

    24th November 2020 at 12:45 pm

    There are some really good ideas here for sure. Now more than ever self care is so so important and is a must to keep mind and body in check x

  • Natasha Mairs

    24th November 2020 at 2:43 pm

    I love practising self-care. I always say you can’t give from an empty cup, so you need to always keep your cup full.

  • Kira Hut

    28th November 2020 at 4:05 pm

    I absolutely love this and have saved it for future reference:) such a great post and completely agree with it all , self care isn’t just a pamper evening in the bath

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