Self-care and wellness are two of the biggest lifestyle trends of the moment, and with October being Mental Health Awareness month, I decided it was time to put a bit of focus on it here on the blog.
Luckily, and touch wood, my mental health has always been OK. But I’ve watched friends and family suffer, and have at various points of my life perhaps not introduced self-care and wellbeing to my life as much as I should. I’m still guilty of it now. I’m self-employed and my work/life balance is crazy. For others, I know that too many of us are working longer hours outside of our 9-5 jobs, as well as trying to squeeze in socialising, parenting, hobbies or working out. It’s literally crazy.
Some of us may be nearly there when it comes to having a more balanced life, with self-care playing a strong part. Others could be much further away, with more deeper issues and situations that need more work. Remember there is so much help out there, including online counselling. One of the best ones I’ve found is BetterHelp, which is all ran online, matching you to a counsellor that is right for you.
Sit back and ask yourself it you truly understand what relaxing feels like? Many of us don’t as we become overly consumed with our hectic lives, juggling tasks and neglecting our own well-being. Not to mention social media. Throw that into the mix and those times we could be reading an empowering book, having a meaningful chat or cooking something nutritious can be spent mindlessly scrolling and absorbing negative ‘news’.
Luckily, there is more focus on morning and evening routines now which can help start and end our days more meaningfully. There’s more help around, and slowly, mental health is becoming a topic that can be openly talked about.
Self-care and well-being can now be carried through to our everyday working lives, right through to our personal at-home life. Here are 5 ways that you can work to introduce it to yours, if you haven’t started to already…
1. Embrace a daily ritual
You don’t have to get up ridiculously early, but by rising a little earlier each day to take some time out to plan your day, enjoy some silence, and do something enjoyable (like reading, gaining inspiration from Pinterest or sipping a hot lemon), you’ll kickstart your day much more positively.
There is nothing nicer in life than having something small to make you smile every day. We often focus on the negative, and overlook the little details which can bring instant joy. Perhaps a nice stretching or yoga session first thing could be something you would look forward to?
Think about something you get a little bit excited about. It could be as small as blending up a tasty smoothie or consuming your favourite breakfast item, which you bring with you for your work commute. Or perhaps it is something more social, like having that 15 minute catch up with your favourite colleague, or treating yourself to a large latte on your lunch break.
Everyone has different trigger points that deliver happiness, so make sure you think about you and what personally lifts you. When you realise what these trigger points are, however mundane they might be to others, make sure it is incorporated into your daily life. Life is all about treating yourself every now and again, especially if you’re a hard worker!
2. Adapt your home to reflect wellbeing and self-care
When you come home from work, or whether you’re constantly at home due to COVID and restrictions, you should feel like you can enjoy the space, relax where you like, and have certain ‘spaces’ for working, cooking, and switching off. However, there are certain factors which will work against this if you don’t bring elements of wellness into your home.
For example, the main one is if you’re guilty of having an unorganised and busy looking home. This will only contribute to a busy and unorganised mind, which if you already have a cluttered mind, could be a disaster for your mental health. Look to avoid any room styling that gives a more closed in space feel. Cramped spaces can make us feel pressured, and it’s incredible how much colour plays a part on our moods too.
Remember that to have a home that lends itself to wellbeing, it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice home and design trends. You can have a super slick, modern looking home which reflects minimalism yet still injects your personality. You’ll find so much inspiration over on Pinterest for this. Also, if you haven’t discovered Marie Kondo yet, her website and books are great for having a tidy and practical home that becomes a great space for self-care.
It’s all about understanding the effects of having a clean, minimal open space in the home, and what it can do for your mind, and how organising can change your life. Obviously if you have small children, this may be a struggle. Don’t force something that may be impossible. Instead, look at little steps and small changes, Perhaps it’s a beanbag area set up with incense that you can escape to when the kids have gone to bed. Or even your most used cupboards in the kitchen all neatley organised and labelled. Have a think!
3. Have an inspiring work space
The areas in your home that you sit in everyday will have such a large effect on your everyday mood and mind – more than you could ever possibly think. In order to feel more content and happier on a daily basis, this space should give off as many positive feelings and contribute to your mood. Anything negative, messy or stress related needs to be removed from eyesight!
It goes without saying that the cleaner and tidier a working space is, the more clearer and tidier your mind should will be. You’ll find new creativity and clarity towards life. Have a think about what would make you happy: beautiful stationary, affirmations framed on the desk, an encouraging quote print, an ensemble of happy photographs, or even a blank, clutter-free desk space.
Also, always bear in mind the power of plants! Plants bring an element of nature to your day, and are known to life spirits with their greenery situated around the home. Why not look at having a small desk plant perched onto your work space? This will not only look attractive but work towards bringing a calming atmosphere.
4. Focus on diet
They say you are what you eat, and although this can be a little ‘OTT’, there is a lot of truth in it too! It’s more about understanding the importance of eating a balanced diet, consuming nutrient rich foods and drinking lots of water. Of course, treat foods are fine in moderation, it’s more about in general being much healthier than you may currently be.
I for one am useless at keeping my water bottle topped up, especially now I’m working from home and easily just spend hours at my desk or on my sofa, forgetting to get up as I’m too comfy! It’s surprising how having a stylish water bottle can help, or by keeping a jug or cucumber or lemon water in the fridge can help!
Start to be more aware of the foods you eat, and how they can affect your mood too. It’s easy to fall into that 3pm slump where we reach for high sugar snacks or heavy carbohydrates. Carbs and sugars are seen as comforting foods, and it’s fine to reach for them occasionally, but try preparing other foods like fruit, nuts, yoghurt or healthy bakes that can satisfy those bad cravings instead. If you enjoy baking, you could even prepare a healthy home-baked flapjack bar that you make at the start of the week and bring into work, or have at home, as that snack that goes with a cup of tea!
Remember that self-care and wellbeing isn’t an add on to your life, it should be a necessity that gets incorporated each day so that you have a happy mind and body. Once you’re happy within yourself, better days and happier experiences will happen – you just got to trust me on this one!