There’s a bit of a buzz around self-care at the moment but it doesn’t have to be all bubble baths and good quality dark chocolate. Self care can be as simple as eating properly and getting enough sleep. It’s not glamorous but it is essential.
Now, I’m not naturally a lazy person but left to my own devices, I’ll usually just sit , on my phone, swapping between the same three apps and occasionally pausing to overthink, ruminate, scan for problems and try to mentally fix everything in the world that’s broken. It’s taken me thirty-eight years to realise that this may not be the best use of my time, when I’ve got a period of non-work on my hands.
I’m currently two weeks in to a six week non-working period and initially I was glad of the rest and I’d managed to put aside a bit of money to tide me over but this time last week, I realised that I was slipping back in to my old habit of doing absolutely nothing. To help combat this, I’ve decided to formulate a bit of a schedule, with, what I hope, is a good mix of activities.
I’ve started a great book ‘Maybe it’s You – cut the crap, face your fears and love your life” by Lauren Handel Zander which has assignments to complete. These mostly involve looking at parts of
your life, how you’d like to improve those parts, what’s standing in your way and then breaking through those barriers. It’s very practical an d actually seems to be helping, unlike a tonne of other self-help books I could mention, but won’t, because these things are subjective and what works for one person, doesn’t necessarily work for another person.
I’ve started running again, with a bit structure. This has meant going back and re-visiting the NHS Couch to 5K running program, something which I completed over three years ago but since running the Great Manchester 10K, two years ago, I’ve struggled to stick to regular sessions. I’ve jumped in at week 6 ( running 25 mins) and I’m hoping it will keep me on track (sorry) with regular runs.
Aside from the running, I’m also sticking to three regular yoga sessions, a week. This are based on a video I used to follow, when I started yoga. My slightly abridged version only takes thirty minutes but I definitely feel the befits of it and I’m glad that it’s a part of my schedule.
I couple of moths ago, I discovered a track that was written by Marconi Union ( a Mancunian band, incidentally ) in response to a body of research about the physical effects that music and sounds can have on your body. It was discovered that certain sounds, pitches, beats etc can actual reduce blood pressure, heart rate and feelings of stress and anxiety. After reading about this research and the track, in the New York Times, I promptly downloaded the track ‘Weightless’ by Marconi Union and have been listening to it when I feel the need. Of course the trick with these kid of things to also utilise them when you don’t feel the need, in a ‘prevention’s better than cure’ kind of way. To this end, I’ve scheduled in three weekly sessions to listen to the eight-minute long track, three times, totalling 24 minutes of blissed out music.
I’m also taking this bit of down time to address the ‘I don’t have time to eat well’, ‘I spend all my meal times at work’ and ‘I’m sick of eating microwave meals’ cries, that regularly leave my mouth. I can’t believe I’m about to say this but I’ve been managing to eat five portions of fruit and veg a day, for about three weeks, now. I usually have an apple, a banana and something else ( random stuff that’s left over) with some almonds and yogurt, for breakfast and then either a good sized portion of salad or two types of veg with my evening meal. Easy! I have no idea how sustainable this is once I’m back at work but it’s a start.
So that’s it. the few simple (sort of) things that will hopefully keep me a little more sane, healthier and generally feeling good in the well-being department. I’ll check in, in a few weeks, and let you know how I’m getting on.
I’m sure we all have little things that we know keep us feeling well, physically and mentally. I’d love to know what things do you make sure you schedule in, to look after yourself?