Self-care is something we should all make part of our daily lives. It’s not only when you’re running on empty that self-care is important, it’s important every day and more so if you have a mental health condition. It can be hard to fit in time for self-care that shouldn’t eat up your day so here are 7 ways I put self-care into my day at eXPD8
1. Take 5 minutes to just breathe
Taking 5 minutes to consciously breathe in and out it can greatly reduce your stress levels. This can be done anywhere and there are several techniques which I find help. Hissing is my favourite technique as it lets out the air slowly and focuses your breathing. It doesn’t impact on your schedule as it’s just 5 minutes.
2. Take your lunch break
Your lunch break is a set amount of time for you to stop, refuel and get away from your work. It is so easy to see an urgent deadline and force yourself to work through your lunch break, but this can be counter-productive. You won’t be properly nourished and without a break your brain won’t get any downtime to help you solve that important work problem. Unless I have something that is entirely immovable I always make sure I take my break so I can do my best in my work all day.
3. Make sure you eat
You wouldn’t expect your car to run without fuel so you shouldn’t expect that of yourself. This is particularly important if you have a mental health condition which could be worsened by not eating. Eating healthily is important but the most important thing is making sure you eat. I make sure at home I have simple meals and snacks at home for when I’m unable to make full meals due to my mental health conditions.
4. Find your happy place
Everyone has a different happy place. For me, if I need to calm down I go and lay by my Guinea Pigs Katniss and Buffy or listening to music I really enjoy but others find things like running or reading are the thing that keeps them calm or comforts them when things go wrong. Work out what works for you and try to make time for that thing, especially if you’re having a bad time with your mental health.
5. Talk to someone when things get too much
This is something that I took years to learn. Sometimes you feel like you are drowning and can’t find the lifeboat to get out safely and this is where talking to someone can help. If you don’t want to talk to anyone about your problems, simply talk to them about your day, your hobbies or anything to take your mind out of the spiral it has become entrapped in.
6. Make a self-care kit
Find 5 things for your care kit, one for each sense. When you feel overwhelmed or worry that things will be getting that way having a pre-made care kit can really help. Find things that help you cope in a crisis and put them into a box. My self-care kit at home has 1 fuzzy blanket, 1 bar of chocolate, 1 DVD favourite, 1 playlist of songs to help (this is kept on my phone) and 1 room spray that smells like Parma Violets. I also keep a soft key-ring and some sweets in my bag for if I’m out and need self-care
7. Write down all the happy and positive things you experience.
Put them in a box, have them written on your computer or even have them in a notebook or diary but keep a record. It can be a compliment you received, something you achieved or even something like a picture of a puppy. These little bursts of positivity can seem impossible to think of in the moment, when you are in a dark place in your head so having them to hand can really help. There are a lot more things that you can try and not every tip will work for every person. Self-care is all about finding what works for you and what you can do to make things easier on yourself and most importantly it’s about reminding yourself that you matter and deserve to be cared for.
Having a supportive employer who understands your needs is so important. At eXPD8 they have mental health first aiders, trained to spot the signs of deteriorating mental health and eXPD8 are a disability confident leader meaning they are happy to make adjustments to your day to make work, work for you! If you would like to know more, please get in touch.
Administrator – Client Services & Retail Insight