Perhaps this year more than any before has made the case for taking care of ourselves, but hopefully it has also been a reminder to be gentle with ourselves as well. As we head towards the end of the year, the traditionally indulgent festive season and frugal January with its tradition of detoxes and New Year resolution ideas, it’s a wonderful time to think about ways we can look to support our wellbeing, but also be kind to ourselves.
Hopefully the era of healthy eating being synonymous with restricted eating has ended. Eating in a healthy way doesn’t mean being hungry, it means giving your body what it needs to function in a sustainable manner. Depending on what your day involves, some people will need slightly different things to other people, but we all need to look after our guts, have plenty of healthy and hearty vegetables and fibre, and we all need enough energy to get through the day. So, be kind to your body and make a commitment to eating well.
Never underestimate the power of doing nothing – actually being quiet and emptying your thoughts. Sit for a moment, listen to to the birds outside, breathe or maybe nurse a cup of tea and try not to think. Some people call it meditating – some people take more steps to facilitate the process. However, the goal is to give your mind a moment to just stop. There’s so much information around and sometimes we just need a few minutes’ peace. So, make time for it, even if it’s literally five minutes. We often find a good aromatherapy oil, chosen to suit our mood or the mood we want to achieve, works wonders!
Spend a little time each week clearing the clutter from your desk or living space. Put the clothes on the back of the chair away, pack the laptop up for the evening and put it in the cupboard. Wash up the cups sitting on the side and store that pile of books you have been promising yourself you will read – you aren’t going to do it and you don’t need to sweat it. You would be amazed at the impact it has on your state of mind.
We have always been advocates of the power of touch – a hug, a massage – whatever it is, there is real healing power in a kind touch. Scientists have even found that hugging a good friend or loved one can help to reduce blood pressure by releasing the hormone oxytocin, which in turn helps to lower blood pressure. That’s one of the things that has made this year so incredibly cruel and challenging to our wellbeing. So, when you get the opportunity, book a massage or ask someone lovely in your ‘bubble’ to rub your shoulders. That said, if you are isolating, you can still take a moment to reconnect with your body – treat it kindly, have a bath, use a face mask and take time to be aware of how each foot, hand, limb and so forth feel. Then try to let the tension go by being conscious of the way you are holding it. It might sound strange, but you could be surprised by what you find!
This one costs nothing and works wonders as a New Year resolution! Laugh, or better yet, make someone else laugh. It gets the blood flowing and helps you de-stress, which aids your immune response. Plus, it feels so, so good.
Even if it’s via the digital realm, make a conscious effort to talk to someone, even if it’s about something completely mundane. Socialising is fundamental to our wellbeing, but talking is a big part of that. It’s a chance to connect and feel less isolated. Then again, it’s also a chance to help someone else. You never know, you could be just the tonic that person needed that day!
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