For many, self care feels like a selfish thing. I wade in and out of feeling guilty for taking time to care for myself, but the more I do it, the more I realise that in the long run it makes me more productive, healthier, happier, and generally... a much nicer person to be around!
THink about it, if you don't look after yourself, how can you expect yourself to look after anyone else, let alone be successful in your work, or any other aspect of your life? They say that you need at least 7h of sleep a night (more if you're a teenager, and less if you're over 50), and I can guarnatee you that it's true. I notice a HUGE difference if I don't get a proper nights sleep!
"I don't have time for self care." I hear you say. Well, I'm going to prove you wrong! I don't believe that self care needs to take long. In fact, it can be as much as taking 10 minutes out of your day to do something nice. So today, I wanted to take a minute to share just a handful of things you can do every day to add a bit of self care back into your life.
1) Meditate: You've probably seen me talk about meditation a lot lately, but there's a reason for it: it really works! I've been practicing meditation most days for the past two months, and I can see a vast difference in my mental health, and my productivity. Try the app Calm and give their "Daily Calm's" a go. They post a new 10 minute meditation every day, and thats what I do!
2) Eat A Yummy Breakfast: Breakfast is by far my favourite meal of the day, so I make it a priority everyday. Most people know that I make pancakes almost every morning, and thats because they make me so happy! It takes me 10 minutes to make them, and they keep my full for hours. Taking the time to prepare a breakfast that will nourish you, that tastes really good and keeps you full will do wonders for how you feel throughout the day.
3) Take regular work breaks: I can't say I'm always the best at this, but for the past two months or so I've had terrible back ache, so I'm now being forced to move more (sitting at my desk for hours makes my back pain worse). But I've noticed that these short breaks (we're talking 5-10 minutes every hour- hour and a half) clear my head, make my focus shift and I come back to my desk with a clear mind.
4) Make exercise part of your routine, but don't over do it: If you knew me a year ago, you knew that I worked out pretty much 5-6 times a week. It was fun, but come January this year, I was totally burnt out, my whole body hurt, my back was in agony, and I felt tired all the time. I made a conscious decision to cut down, and now I practice yoga 2-3 times a week, and one higher intensity class a week, plus a lot of walking. I'm still moving, still getting those endorphins flowing, but I'm not killing my body in the process! Exercise should be fun and invigorating, not painful and exhausting. Learn from my mistake!
5) Read More: 2016 and 2017 will have become the years that I finally got into my reading groove. I've never been much of a reader until now, but lately I can't stop! It's because I've found the niche that I love, and I'm no longer embarrassed about it: self help and business books! I just love to learn, and develop myself. As a result, I'm reading more than ever, and I can't tell you how great it is. Reading for an hour every night before I go to sleep almost guarantee's that I'll sleep well.
6) Put your phone down: You hear it all the time, I know you do, but really do it. It's hard, and I can't say I'm the best at it, but I try to put my phone away by 9pm every night, and Tom and I have now have a "no phones in the bedroom" rule, which we've amazingly stuck to quite well! It means that we've both been reading more in bed, sleeping better, and not waking up in the morning checking our emails/Instagram's/Facebook's before even looking at each other.
7) Take A Bath: This seems so obvious, but I've got more and more into the habit of having a bath every other day lately, and I love it! Especially when I've had a very long shoot day and my body hurts (cause yes, carrying cameras all day can make you pretty sore!), I run a hot bath and soak for 20-30 minutes while reading. It's total bliss.
8) Listen To Your Body: I know that not everyone is fortunate enough to do this, but it's a large part of why I'm self employed: so that I can run my own show. It's no secret that I struggle with some health issues, so some days, when I'm not feeling great, I take time off. I get on the sofa, and I read. Or if I really need to, I have a nap. I used to feel AWFUL about this, but recently I've accepted the fact that I won't always be able to run 10000 miles an hour, and that sometimes you've just got to listen to your body.
9) See Your Friends: I try to have time at least once during the week where I go for a walk with a friend, or grab a coffee. Most weeks, I'll go see Anna from The Cornish Life, and we go explore a new place in Cornwall. It's productive, as we chat about work, life, the internet, how we're feeling, and I get to explore new shoot locations, while Anna get's blog content. But don't feel like you have to make your friend meetings productive: sometimes you just want to be a blob in someones living room and talk about clothes, and thats fine too! All I'm saying is, make time with your friends a priority. You'll always feel better after you've done it.
10) Keep a gratitude journal: I've only been doing this a few weeks now, but I can see a difference in my mindset already. I did an Instagram book haul a while ago, and in that I shared that I had purchased the "5 Minute Journal." Every morning and night, I take a few minutes to write down things that I'm grateful for, or what was good in my day. There have been days where I've felt down, and I've had to force myself to think of something good... but guess what? It always makes you feel better! And now, I'm noticing that whenever I'm feeling down about something, I begin to look for the good things about it, or my life in general. It's amazing how one small change can make such a positive difference to your life.
So there you go! 10 simple ways to add a little bit more self care into your life. I truly hope that this gives you a bit of inspiration on ways you can add some more "looking after yourself" time into your everyday. If nothing else, I hope it gives you permission to. You don't need my permission to, but if you're looking for it, here it is: look after yourself :)