Essential Self Care Guide
It can be easy to let go of a healthy self care routine. Life can get in the way. So, when you are feeling overwhelmed it’s not a bad idea to check in with yourself. The foundations of good physical and mental health are based on our ability to look after ourselves. Take a look at our guide below and see if you have balance in you life. Bringing these tips into your life should help you feel better. What have you got to lose?
Fresh Air & Exercise
There is no cost to looking after yourself by taking a walk in the fresh air. When outdoors, moving, walking or jogging encourages increased diaphragmatic breathing. This means that you breathe more deeply, drawing more air deep into the bottom of your lungs. This not only brings more oxygen into your cells but helps the lungs to expel more airborne toxins from the body.
Change your body chemistry for a better mood.
Breathing fresh air can raise levels of oxygen in your brain, which in turn boosts the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that alters your mood. In addition, exercising outdoors – such as walking, running and biking – has been proven to increase the production of endorphins, also know as feel good chemistry.
Problems with sleep can affect how you feel physically and mentally, and how you feel can also affect how you sleep. Sleep can affect your emotional regulation. If you’re experiencing a period of bad sleep for weeks, months or years, this will affect your day-to-day life. Presenting issues might include –
- Poor focus, memory and concentration
- More likely to consume caffeine and sugary drinks
- More likely to take part in risky and anti-social behaviour
- More likely to suffer from colds and infections
- Less able to manage stress
Poor sleep can affect your physical and mental health. It can also negatively impact your relationships, immune system, work, and social life. There is now evidence that shows treating sleep problems may help reduce anxiety disorders and symptoms of depression. To help yourself, try to create a regular sleeping pattern. Create a restful sleeping environment, make sure your bedroom or sleeping area feels good. Exercise regularly. Watch what you’re eating and drinking, caffeine is a sleep killer.
A healthy, well-balanced diet can help us think clearly and feel more alert. It can also improve concentration and attention span. Conversely, an inadequate diet can lead to fatigue, impaired decision-making, and can slow down reaction time.
Eat regularly. This can stop your blood sugar level from dropping, which can make you feel tired and bad-tempered. Stay hydrated. Even mild dehydration can affect your mood, energy level and ability to concentrate.
The Mental Health Foundation also suggests eating meals with other people. Evidence suggests this has many psychological, social and biological benefits. They give us a chance to reflect on the day and feel connected to others. Make the most of mealtimes by setting aside at least one day a week to eat with family and friends. Choose a meal that’s easy to prepare, so it doesn’t become a chore. Share responsibility, so everyone has a different task: doing the shopping, setting the table, cooking or washing up, for example. Keep the television off so you can all talk and share.
Water is involved in so many different bodily functions – from helping our body get rid of waste to protecting our joints – yet in the busy lives we lead, many of us forget to drink enough. It’s not just about your physical health either, with water playing a part in your mental health, too. A study found that drinking the lowest levels of water doubled the risk of depression and anxiety.
Studies have found that people who regularly drink less water have an increased risk of developing depression and anxiety. The combination of dehydration, zapping the brain’s energy and cutting down serotonin production can increase depression symptoms. The same is true for anxiety. As simple as it sounds its easy to forget to drink enough during the day. Set reminders, get yourself a waterbottle that stands out – so when you see it you remember. Flavour it with berries or mint. Do whatever you need to do to make it part of your daily routine.
If you feel you are doing all of the above but life still seems a challenge, give us a call on 01904 9948565 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We offer a free 20 minute telephone consultation to talk through how we can help. Counselling sessions start at £25 each with our Advanced Trainee Counsellors. Qualified counsellors are also available throughout the week.
Appointments are usually available within a week. You are not alone.