How to kickstart your self care routine

We live in such a busy world where smart-phones and social media make it difficult to disconnect from the busyness. Taking time every day to reconnect with yourself through self-care, is an important part of adopting an overall mindful approach and a good way to make some important lifestyle changes.

EXERCISE YOUR MIND.

Exercise features at the top of the to do list when thinking about improving our health.   But what about exercising your mind?  After all, 1 in 4 adults are likely to have a mental health problem in any year (1). Why not prioritise your emotional and mental wellbeing this year by adopting a mindful approach to your life? I’d recommend the book “Mindfullness – a practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world” as a great place to start your mindfulness journey.

ESTABLISH A BEDTIME ROUTINE.

Sleeping problems are common, affecting up to a third of people in the UK (2). Poor sleep can impair concentration, impact on memory and cause mood disorders. Carve out time at the end of each day for a pre-bedtime routine. It’s important to relax, tune out of the stresses of the day and prepare your body for sleep. This could include meditation, gentle stretching or reading a book.  For quality sleep be sure to avoid eating too late or drinking alcohol or caffeine within 6 hours of going to bed.

KEEP A GRATITUDE DIARY.

Taking time to be grateful is important and can help shift your mindset towards a more positive one. It only takes a few minutes so towards the end of each day why not try jotting down 3 things you are grateful for. It’s a great way to reflect on positive moments or interactions that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Research has found that those who kept a gratitude journal spent more time exercising and had fewer physical complaints (3).

My self-care includes a guided meditation each morning, a bed-time routine which includes some mindful stretching and spending a few minutes reflecting on the day by writing in my gratitude journal. Today I’m grateful that you have taken the time to read this blog post and I hope it helps motivate you to prioritise self-care. I find that when I prioritise self-care I can give more to my friends, family and patients.

Please share your self-care routine below for others to learn from.

References:

  1. The Health & Social Care Information Centre, 2009.  Adult psychiatric morbidity in England., Results of household survey.
  2. Morphy H, Dunn KM, Lewis M, et al; Epidemiology of insomnia: a longitudinal study in a UK population. Sleep. 2007 Mar30(3):274-80.
  3. Emmons, R. A., & McCullough , M. E. (2003). Counting blessings versus burdens: An experimental investigation of gratitude and subjective well-being in daily life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 377-389. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.84.2.377

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Hello and welcome! I’m Dr Helen Lawal. You’re in the right place if you’re curious about health, nutrition, exercise, well-being and lifestyle medicine….

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