7 Top Tips For Practicing Self Care

mindfulness self-care wellbeing Oct 09, 2023

Here are my 7 top tips for practicing self care 

1. Sleep 

Sleeping is my number one for self-care. Really? Yes. This is so important and hence why I have put it first on the list. When we sleep our body will take the time it needs to rest, repair and recharge for the day to come.We can allow ourselves to switch off and unplug from the world, let go of the day that has been and prepare for tomorrow. But I don’t need that much sleep? Oh yes you do J You may have become accustomed to less sleep or broken sleep or think if you sleep too early you will wake up early or in the middle of the night. Well these are patterns we can have formed maybe due to necessity at a certain period in our lives but we all need around 8 hours sleep a night to be able to fully recharge. To help you switch off and give yourself the chance to get the most replenishing night’s sleep try out some of these tips:

  • No screen time an hour before bed. Yes 1 hour. Switch off the TV, Phone, iPad, laptop anything that is stimulating your eyes/brain and taking concentration. Try to remove all of these devices from your bedroom as well, watching TV in bed is probably the biggest no as you then start to associate being in your bed with remaining awake and concentrating on something. Make your bedroom your sanctuary. If you can’t do without your phone try putting it away in a drawer so it isn’t within immediate reach.
  • Instead of screen time, try talking with a loved one or if you live alone, take some time to read a book, write in a journal which is also great for downloading what has happened during the day and help your mind to slow down, a great time also to make your to do list for the next day so you’ll feel more prepared. Meditate, take a relaxing bath before going to bed or have a hot cup of (caffeine free) tea. Any of these will allow your body to start to unwind and prepare you for sleep.
  • In addition, try some breathing, the 4-7-8 breath is great for promoting sleep. Start by exhaling completely, then breathe in for the count of 4, hold your breath for the count of 7, then exhale slowly through pursed lips to the count of 8. Repeat this for a few minutes and I guarantee it will help you dose off. If you struggle to hold for 7 or exhale for 8 then play with the numbers and build up to it, for example 4-5-6.

2. Boundaries 

Knowing your boundaries and enforcing them is so important. We can have so much contact with others throughout the day that we are exchanging energy constantly and when this is out of balance where we are always giving and not receiving, we can start to feel drained. Even more so if these energy exchanges/interactions are negative and deplete your energy therefore leaving you feeling not so good. 

Know how to speak with people, work with people, support others without giving too much of yourself and being able to walk away when needed. How many times have you said yes to something when you actually wanted to say no? How did this make you feel? Have you agreed to attend an event that you have no interest in or that will be challenging for you to actually get to without causing stress for yourself? How much energy did you spend trying to get out of it, trying to find an excuse but end up going anyway after a lot of stress? How about when you have given your time to hear someone else complain consistently about the same topic and however far down the line you get, they are still repeating the same story without making any changes. Does this get boring? Draining? Make you start to feel sadness, anger or resentment? These are all valid feelings but you can still have interactions with these people without getting this feeling. How? See my tips here below:

  • Try saying NO. Yup, that simple. No is a complete sentence. Just saying no or even no thank you is enough. If you don’t want to do something and it feels wrong for you just say no. You don’t have to go to everything you’re invited to. You don’t have to do everything someone asks of you (unless it is partof your paid job of course) and you don’t have to agree with anyone else’s opinion. Your feelings, thoughts and opinions are all valid, honour them. It’s ok to put yourself and your needs first. ¨
  • Reply with a suggestion. May I suggest we do this instead? Another time would suit me better. I cannot help you with this, can I suggest you try xxxx. Now is not a good time for me. Please can you put some time in my diary for us to talk about this. Thank you for thinking of me but this is not for me. Thank you but I need some time for me right now.
  • Take a breath before you respond. Pause, and if you can close your eyes, take a deep breath, and exhale. Repeat if needed. Now ask yourself, what is it I would like to do? What outcome would I like? Take another breath if needed and just pause for some calm and clarity before you respond. This will allow you to connect with your truth and allow you to respond with kindness and love but most of all your truth.
  • Give yourself space from the situation or person/people and you will be able to gain some more perspective with a bit of distance. When we are in the middle of a situation or around it too much then our thoughts and judgement can become clouded.

3. Be Mindful of What You Consume

Yes of course I will say be mindful of what you are putting in your body. Eat a balanced and healthy diet paying attention to what your body needs. Stay hydrated and avoid an excess of anything, caffeine, sugar, fat, alcohol etc, you know what your body needs. But what about everything else you are consuming? Have you ever thought about the things you are absorbing through your eyes? Or hearing? What impact does it have on you to watch a horror film? Or read about horrendous crimes committed? Or listen to an argument playing out? All of these will impact you on a deeper level, often without realising it.

Ever read or watched something scary before going to bed? What did you dream about that night? I’m guessing not a relaxing beach holiday or your favourite crush ;) Try to filter as much of what you are consuming, ways to do this:

  • Try to avoid any negative conversations / arguments / drama that surrounds you. Just walk away, especially if it’s not to do with you. Do you know those people who are full of negative chatter? Always complaining about a person, a place, a situation? Yup, well you don’t need to hear it all the time. Just kindly excuse yourself and walk away because without even trying once you start to take in their negative chatter it will lower your own vibration.
  • Change the channel! If you’re watching something on the TV that is making you feel uncomfortable, sad, scared, change the channel. Take a deep breath and let it go. You don’t need to make yourself watch the entire program if it’s giving you a bad reaction. Change the channel.
  • Stick to the headlines. I haven’t watched the news for about 4 years, this is a personal choice and I am not asking you to do this if you don’t wish to but maybe stick to the headlines. This way you still have an idea of what is happening and if you wish to know more about something you can choose to listen/read about it. Personally, I haven’t missed out on anything news wise as I still get my information from actual conversations with people, random social media updates, the radio when I am in my car or news updates from TV’s in public places. I prefer this as I am more in control of what I am consuming and not getting caught up in any media hype or influence. I can always look up anything I wish to know more about.

4. Mindfulness

Practice mindfulness as much as you can. This means being present with everything you are doing. We can easily get caught thinking about what is going to happen, or stuck on repeat analysing something that has already happened. This means we are living in either the past or the future. What about the present, this moment we are in right now? Try to practice this as much as you can and the more you do it the easier it will become, just like strengthening any muscle, practice consistently. Try a few of these tips to help your mindful practice:

  • When you are brushing your teeth, try using your non-dominant hand, this will really make you focus on actually brushing your teeth and get you out of your head for a moment.
  • Enjoy and savour every sip of your coffee/tea. Take the cup, hold it with both hands, smell it, sip it, savour it and notice how it tastes, how it feels. Notice it warming your hands then your lips, mouth, all the way down to your stomach. Be present with every sip of your drink. For me a hot cup of tea is like a hug for my insides and I am always grateful for the feeling.
  • Breathe! You can’t get more present with yourself in this moment than to focus on your breath. Sit comfortably with your back supported, feet firmly on the ground. Close your eyes if it feels comfortable to do so and then breathe. Just take some long, slow inhales deep into your belly and then let it go. As you do this, follow your breath all the way in from your nose down to your toes and out again. This will really help bring you out of your head and into your body and into a state of calm as well as grounding you in the present moment.

5. Stay in Your Lane - Just Do You! 

I have talked about this a lot in my videos and social media posts but I can’t say it enough. Let go of comparisons and just focus on you! We can easily get distracted by what those around us are doing. What are others in our industry doing? Our peers? So and so has just achieved this, or just posted this, look where they are, look at what they are doing? And it goes on and on, can you relate? So how about we just stop that and focus on what is happening in our own world? Put all your energy into where you are and what you want to achieve. Comparing yourself to others will only give you a distorted perspective of your own reality because you will never know anyone else’s true story, only what they are willing to share. Just like no one will know yours if you don’t get on with what you’re doing!

Stop comparing because we are all completely unique anyway! No two of us are the same, no one else can know what it’s like to be you, how you see the world, what you have experienced in your life. So just focus on that and creating your life how you want it to be.

  • Practice gratitude. This is a key daily practice for me that I encourage everyone to do. I like to start and finish my day with listing 5 things I am grateful for. It could be anything, from my car, the opportunities I have in my life, to my health and the meal I just ate. Take some time to do this in the morning or before bed (or both if you wish too!) Be grateful for what you have, where you are, who you are, what you have achieved and anything you can think of that you are grateful for in that moment. Focussing on this will allow you to appreciate more of what you have and less on those around you. 
  • Celebrate your achievements! Are you ever a little hard on yourself? Have you achieved your goals and maybe thought, oh that could have been better, I wish this had happened, it took longer than expected….. STOP THAT! Focus on the positives and celebrate them! Celebrate every win, no matter how big or small and this positive energy will fuel you forward and keep your focus on you and not those around you.
  • If you don’t do you, no one will. Remember that, there is no one else out there like you and you need to embrace every quality you possess and own it. Just be you, whatever that looks like. No one else can.

6. Do Something For Yourself Every Day!

This is super important in my eyes. We can often direct so much focus and attention externally we forget to focus on us and go within. You also need to feed your soul. What makes you happy? What do you need in this moment? Connect to yourself, your inner child, your inner desires, tap in to that creative energy and do whatever you need to do for yourself for 1 hour each day.

If you don’t think you have a full hour then start with whatever time you do have 15 mins maybe and build up from there. Reignite a passion or rediscover a lost skill. Take a nap if you want to! Whatever you need to do for yourself, dedicate some time to you each day. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Practice a hobby. What do you like to do when you have free time? Play an instrument? Sing? Cook? Write? Choose something and spend a little time each day on that to feed your creative side and tap in to your inner child. Food for the soul.
  • Self-love. This could look like so many things, give yourself a mani/pedi, book a massage, soak in the bath, or soak your feet in warm water with a few drops of your favourite essential oil. Use a face mask/ hair mask, massage your body in coconut oil to nourish your skin.
  • Take yourself out. Go to a museum, walk in the park, buy yourself a meal out at a place you love to eat. Or go for a coffee and sit there in the coffee shop to enjoy it and your own company. Don’t wait for someone else to be free to join you, do it for you just because you can.
  • Attend a class you love or something new you want to try. Yoga, breathwork, pottery, cooking? There is so much out there you can do, what are you interested in? By trying something new you are expanding your knowledge and experience of the weird and wonderful world we live in. What else are we here for but to live this life?

7. Breath and Meditate

This is another crucial daily practice I cannot talk enough about. It took me a long time to be able to mediate but breathwork helped me and now I notice if I go a few days without either, I feel myself a little out of alignment and those around me might say ‘grumpy’! There are so many ways to mediate, it doesn’t mean you need to sit cross legged and Om several times, you can mediate to music, do walking mediations, moving meditations. A good friend of mine would always say when he gets home from work he loves cooking so the whole process of preparing and cooking dinner was his daily meditation and chance to unwind, slow down & reconnect.

I invite you to play with it and have fun. It doesn’t need to be serious and quiet, you may not be able to slow down your mind and eliminate all of your thoughts to gain insights and clarity all in one go. It takes practice, it takes commitment, it takes time. Go easy on yourself and just try whatever feels best for you. There are so many guided meditation apps and YouTube videos that you can just find one that you like. Some of you may prefer to follow a guided recording, others may prefer music to follow, or others just silence and focussing on your breathing.

I have some recordings on my website and Instagram page you can access and there will be more coming but I encourage you just to try. We all need to start somewhere and then build on that. If you can sit or lie for 5 minutes a day, just focus on your breathing, notice the thoughts in your head and allow them to be there without getting distracted, then that is a form of meditation. If you stick with it, you will not notice the thoughts eventually, and 5 minutes will turn in to 10, then 20 and before you know it you will be able to practice for 30 mins a day.

I hope you find these tips helpful and can try to implement a few (or all J ) of them. As always if you have any questions or want some support just reach out to me by text, email or social media at any time.

Have a fabulous day!