After a year of surviving in a global pandemic crammed with every stressful world event imaginable, it can be hard to think back to everything we once used to fit into 24 hours. Our lives, habits, and minds have altered. So now more than ever, it is paramount to focus our energies inward in order to cultivate an environment of self-care.
- Say goodbye to toxic positivity
There is no need to convince yourself that it is all sunshine and rainbows. Affirmations, manifestations and gratitude are all super important…in the right circumstances. Don’t undermine your lived experiences, taking time to process the negativity may well be more productive long term than forcing positive thinking 24/7.
This means that whilst you may be able to complete an awe-inspiring 6am morning routine one day, you don’t have to hold yourself to the same standard on a day where you may just need to stay in bed.
- Take control of your screen time
Find what works for you. Don’t beat yourself up for a few extra hours on your phone or laptop – this is all the socialising, entertainment, education and work that in times gone by would have been spread, face-to-face, throughout your day.
That being said, if the endless scrolling feels like it’s taking its toll, consider reading that book you never got around to, or using your hands for something creative like embroidery, crocheting, creative writing or baking. If you can monitor your screen time and you like to be held accountable, set time restrictions for social media, or, turn off the time notifications completely if it’s causing unwelcome guilt.
A simple skin care routine can help build your confidence
- Get your nutrients (mind, body and soul)
Food is fuel and healthy eating includes balance and treats. Honor your body and try not to let unrealistic standards control you. If your mental health is suffering, try to see if there are any herbal remedies you could try (valerian root can help you sleep!) Treat your skin with love too. A simple skincare routine can help build your confidence whilst also providing you with a few minutes of self-care each morning and night. Try to let some vitamin D shine on your face if you can too!
- Move your body and remember to breathe
Your motivation might be at an all-time low so if you can’t run a 5K or finish a 30-minute HIIT workout it’s still great to move a little every day. 10 minutes of stretching, a yoga video, even dancing around your room to your favourite song could just feel more manageable some days.
Never underestimate the power of your breath
Walking is invaluable as well, if you are alone you could use the time to listen to a podcast, call friends or family or just listen to nature. If you can’t make time for a walk, try to open your windows or have your coffee in the garden and get some fresh air. Never underestimate the power of your breath. Try breathing in for four counts, holding for four and breathing out for four to signal your parasympathetic nervous system to calm the body.
- Get organised
Sometimes all it takes to make an overwhelmed mind feel more in control is to jot down a to-do list. I like to break mine up into my most simple daily goals, my academic and personal lists and things to get done at some point.
Ticking off simple goals like making your bed or doing your laundry can help you feel productive too. You can use platforms like Notion or just write it on a post-it note. If you can, maintaining a tidy room, or even just a workspace, would be a welcome act of self-care.
Doing your best to include some simple acts of self-care each day could help you deal with the changes and challenges from the world around you. Don’t forget, if you need a little more help, speaking to your GP or referring yourself to a counselling service, such as the one offered by the University of Nottingham, may be the right next step for you. You are not alone, and help is out there; so don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for it!
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