Self-Care: Getting the Basics Right
The term ‘self-care’ is bandied about a lot at the moment, encouraging people to live more spiritually in some cases.
However, there is a basic level of self-care that every person needs to ensure they have just to function adequately in life. Imagine the bottom few sections of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
Getting the basics right when it comes to self-care is essential, which is why we have created a printable PDF checklist for you along with writing this article.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep allows our bodies to recharge. Without it, we can find ourselves irritable, irrational and somewhat irresponsible at times. While sleep can be something we have to chase, with insomnia affecting a considerable proportion of people, it is essential for good physical and mental health. Try to head to bed at the same time each night, and avoid screen time while in bed, and set your alarm for the same time, too. Getting your body into a good routine can make a dramatic difference to your life.
Take a Shower
There will always be days when you feel as though you do not want to function like society expects you to, and it is ok to feel that way. However, not getting out of bed and showering will not be beneficial to your wellbeing. Taking a warm shower can reduce levels of anxiety and depression and is a natural way to boost your mood.
Brush Your Teeth and Floss
Not doing the basics, like brushing your teeth and flossing, can compound feelings of low self-worth and self-esteem. Even if you are not heading out of the house, it is recommended that you brush and floss, making you feel better about yourself as well as ensuring good oral hygiene.
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Skipping breakfast is common amongst adults, with around 14% of adults aged between 45 and 54 doing so on a regular basis in the UK (Lakeland Furniture survey, 2021). While many avoid eating breakfast as a way of reducing overall calorie and fat intake, people who do this are actually more susceptible to weight gain. In fact, not eating breakfast puts you in an at-risk category for many ailments. It also helps with your mood.
Limit your Caffeine
In some situations, a boost from caffeine is absolutely what is needed. However, consuming too much, or for some, any at all, after 3pm can have unwanted effects and prevent sleep. It is also highly addictive and can impact on your physical and mental health more than most people realise. Try to minimise the amount of caffeine you have in your diet. Instead, try to swap your coffee and tea for decaff versions.
Spending a day without talking to anyone else, other than in a work capacity, can equate to a miserable one. Of course, many of us enjoy our own company, too, but try to engage with others. Having a social life, even if that is simply a ten-minute chat with a friend on the phone, can decrease feelings of loneliness, increase happiness levels and generally makes you feel better about yourself. In-person socialising is best, but we have all become much better at using tech to connect, and if that is all you can manage, that will do.
Move Your Body
We all know that moving your body more is good for both your physical and mental health. Sometimes, the thought of fitting a workout into your day can be overwhelming. However, you do not need to spend 60 minutes doing exercise. Instead, try a brisk twenty-minute walk or dance around the kitchen with your music on full blast while you are cooking a meal. The important thing is that you raise your pulse and do so for a sustained period, thus creating endorphins to make you feel good.
Setting aside a minimum of ten minutes each day to meditate can significantly improve your life. It might sound too hippy-like for some, but honestly, meditation is an aspect of modern living for many. Practising meditation, even for a brief period of time each day, can help improve concentration, lower stress levels and improve self-esteem.
Humour is different for every person. For some, it might be a particular comedian that makes them laugh; for others, it might be reminiscing about funny events from the past. Laughing is fantastic for mental health, even being attributed to lower levels of depression and anxiety.
The above nine points are the foundations of a good self-care regime. Download our simple reminder sheet to check that you have accomplished the basics each day.