Prioritising Self Care
It’s human nature to care for others, to want to do the best we can for those around us. But often, in our drive to help others we forget to look after ourselves. Trust me – I’m a therapist, it’s a hazard of the trade!
That’s one of the brilliant things about being part of the Inspired to Change team of therapists across the country – having others looking out for you and making sure that you are taking care of yourself is essential. But it’s the same for all of us – if we put all of our energies and efforts in to looking after other people, and don’t reserve any of that care for ourselves we will, inevitably suffer, and then we won’t be able to care for others.
Self Care Isn’t Selfish!
One thing my clients will be used to me saying is that it isn’t selfish to put ourselves first, it’s vital. In order to be able to look after others we need to be at our best and the only way we can do that is to take care of ourselves first. Remember what you’re told in the safety talk on an aeroplane – always put your own oxygen mask on first!
I recently saw a lovely Audrey Hepburn quote that really resonated with me, “As you grow older you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself and one for helping others”
So, here at Inspired to Change we have pulled together our favourite go-to tips for looking after ourselves, the ones that are guaranteed to restore us and help us to be the best for everyone around us. If you feel yourself struggling pick one that resonates for you and take time out for yourself, guilt free, knowing that your actions to look after yourself will be benefitting everyone else around you!
Tip 1 – Book Some You Time
Reserve time in your diary for you, just for you and no one else! Make it a set appointment each month or week if you have to, one you’re not allowed to cancel. Ask someone to make sure you do it, to check in with you to find out what you did – that way you won’t be tempted to bunk off!
Tip 2 – Treat Yourself
It’s always nice to treat others but when was the last time you treated yourself? Treats are fun, they don’t have to be expensive or take lots of time, they just have to make you feel special. So take yourself out to your favourite café and treat yourself to a posh coffee and cake; book yourself in for a manicure or a massage; take the time to have a relaxing bath with candles and all the trimmings; buy yourself that gift that you’ve always wanted – go on, you deserve it!
Tip 3 – Stay in Touch
Interacting in a positive way with others is essential to boosting our wellbeing – we are a social species after all! But many of our day to day interactions aren’t filled with a lot of love. Think of all those work emails or meetings you have to attend – that isn’t the kind of interaction that is going to nourish you! Make sure you find some time to spend with your tribe – those people that lift you, make you laugh, genuinely care. Book mates dates, drop in on your way home, pick up the phone or send that message – even a chat on social media with the right person can restore us!
Tip 4 – Laugh!
Laughing releases a huge wave of feel good hormones into our system making us feel great! Small children are so quick to turn a smile into a giggle and a full on laugh but as adults we seem to loose that ability to laugh so freely. One study showed that pre-school children laugh about 300 times a day whilst us poor old adults only laugh about 17 times a day. Try actively seeking out opportunities to laugh – watch your favourite comedy or silly You Tube video’s of cats doing daft thing; call a friend who always makes you laugh, or try hanging out with the masters of laughing and offer to baby sit for your friends (and they’ll love you for it too!)
Tip 5 – Switch Off
We are busy, busy people, on the go all the time and even when we’re sat down having a break we are busy browsing the internet or thinking about what we’ve got to do at work tomorrow. Why not experiment and discover what really helps you switch off, I mean completely, you know, like that feeling when you come out of the cinema and you’ve got no idea how long you’ve been in there because you’ve been so immersed in the experience. That’s what you’re looking for – something that truly switches off all those thoughts and worries and takes every bit of your attention – it might be reading a book or watching a box set, or it might be painting or playing music or gardening. Find your go to off switch and use it as often as you can!
Tip 6 – Connect with Nature
There are endless studies that show how good being outside in nature is for our wellbeing. Being around nature can reduce our blood pressure and reduce respiratory and heart conditions; it improves our mental wellbeing reducing anxiety and stress and boosting vitality and mood; it restores our ability to concentrate and reduces mental fatigue. It’s even been shown to reduce symptoms of ADHD through it’s calming influence and help with focus. So get out there for a walk! Take your shoes off and feel the grass beneath your feet. Challenge yourself to notice the tiny changes that happen each day as we move through the seasons. You don’t need to pack the car up and take a big trip – just a trip out in to the garden or a local park is all you need!
Tip 7 – Have a Cuddle
A good proper hug always makes us feel better doesn’t it? That’s because when we hug our brain releases our bonding hormone oxytocin, another one of our feel good hormones (and also the one responsible for some of the odder animal adoption stories we see! When a mother cat, for example, gives birth her system is flooded with oxytocin which means she will love and mother anything that comes into her line of sight, even animals they would normally consider dinner!). Oxytocin also reduces our stress response so a simple hug can have us back on track before we know it.
Tip 8 – Declutter
Tidy something! Chuck out some clutter, move things around, make your space feel nice. When we love our surroundings we are more likely to feel good about ourselves. All that stuff, even if it is hidden away in a cupboard, nags at our mind. So bag it up and take it to the charity shop (or the dump if it really is no use at all) and get it out from under your feet. Your space, and you, will thank you for it!
Tip 9 – Nourish Your Body
Cook a lovely meal for yourself that is designed specifically to nourish you and allow yourself to take time over creating and eating it. No rushing allowed! And whilst you’re at it why not batch cook some super nourishing food for those days when you know you won’t have the time? Better food = better mood and eating it is a reminder of how good you felt when you made it!
Tip 10 – Be Kind To Yourself
Allow yourself to sit compassionately with the not so comfy feelings. It’s OK not to be OK all the time, we just don’t want to get stuck there. This is best done with some unchallenging TV, sofa and tea. Remind yourself that whatever the feeling is it will pass. And once you’ve allowed yourself that time take a look back at Tips 1 – 9 to get you feeling more like you again!
If you’d like to find out how hypnotherapy can help you cope with pressure and get the results you want get in touch to book your FREE initial consultation with your local Inspired to Change hypnotherapist. Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are based across the UK in Bristol, Cambridgeshire, County Durham, Devon, Essex, Fife, Kent, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Norfolk and Somerset.
Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are all recognised by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s leading not-for-profit hypnotherapy professional association.
To find out how you can train as a solution focused hypnotherapist click here for our hypnotherapy school information