Self Care is a big thing nowadays, everyone is telling you to practice it, and for good reason. Self care is essentially looking after yourself both physically and mentally and making sure you’re in a good place. There’s also a bit of contention around the subject, often due to people’s differing mental health. To some people self care genuinely is sticking on their favourite candle, running a bath or having a walk. Whereas for others it may be a case of removing themselves from social situations which make them feel uncomfortable or severing ties with toxic people in their life. There is no right and wrong way of doing it, everybody is different. Today I thought I’d suggest a few things to do if you’re feeling stressed, anxious, down or just a bit overwhelmed. I’m trying my very hardest at the moment to keep on top of my stress levels, with my dissertation and various other assignments looming I’m very aware that I need to take time out to unwind.
Have a Bath
I’m genuinely a believer that there are few things in life a hot bath can’t solve. Chuck in your favourite bath bomb or perhaps you prefer a muscle soak and bath salts. Whatever your preferred product just make sure to use it, whack on a candle and relax. I love baths but I sacrifice them and have showers as a way of saving time when I’m busy typing away at my work. This means that when I do have a good bath I feel like a new woman afterwards. I like to really take advantage of the time out, I usually do a hair mask and often listen to a full podcast episode, just because I can. I also tend to find it relaxes my muscles which can often get tense if you’re hunched over laptop all day, or even if you’re just carrying your stress and worry in your muscles!
Cook a Meal
I actually find cooking very relaxing, the end result of cooking is usually a healthy meal or some tasty baking which is sure to lift your mood anyway, and eating well and nourishing your body is another key aspect of self-care. The act of taking the time out to prep your food rather than whacking something in the microwave is really rewarding and it can often also be a nice time to catch up with family, friends or partners after a long day if you cook together. Now I’m not suggesting for a minute that we all have time to cook a homemade meal from scratch every single night, I’m not that unreasonable, but a few times a week really helps to keep me calm and relaxed in an evening.
Read a Good Book
I have been a bookworm since I was a small child, my Mum often jokes that she used to have to prise a book out of my hands to make me go to sleep at night. That love of reading has followed me into adulthood, it’s just a pity I don’t have as much time for it anymore. I’ve been making more of an effort to carve out a bit more time for reading, sure I read everyday for my degree but it’s not the same as reading for pleasure. There’s nothing more calming on a winter evening than getting stuck into a good book with a cup of tea. If I’m feeling really stressed out because I’ve over worked or I feel stuck in a rut on an assignment or blogging, I like to reach for a good book to attempt to alleviate that stress. You can read anything, sometimes what I really need is a good self help book, to help me feel back on track. Or other times a good bit of fiction which I can just get lost in is what I need. Let me know in the comments if you read anything in particular if you feel stressed out!
Have a Night Off
Obviously depending on the deadline of the task this might not alway be possible but if you aren’t ridiculously strapped for time or it’s not a deadline that’s causing you stress, have a night off. This could be a break from doing work, taking a step back from your emails or spending a night to yourself away from your friends or partner. Whatever it is that is causing you to lose your cool, take a deep breath and walk away. Have a film night instead of getting stuck answering your inbox until 10pm or read a book for pleasure instead of revising non-stop. You may initially feel guilty for having some down time but the reward will be great, you’ll feel calmer and the chances are you can go back to the task, event or person feeling refreshed and ready to try again. I am a very big advocate of having time off when I feel it’s right, there is no point scheduling it in because your body doesn’t work like that. Instead take a break as and when you feel the necessity, I get to the point where I can no longer produce any Uni work and I can’t be bothered to blog and that’s because I’m tired. That’s how I know when to have a rest, when my stress and worry impacts on me doing things I enjoy like blogging, I can tell I’m allowing it to have too much power over my brain. You might think it’s laziness or foolish but I’m telling you don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.
Now this is a new one for me, I’ve only been at it a couple of day but it’s actually quite nice. There are plenty of apps like Calm and Headspace which offer lots of different options. I’ve previously used Calm if I’ve struggled to sleep as they have good sleep stories which help you drift off and I’ve recently started to try out headspace. There are premium versions but the basic free versions work well enough for occasional use. The guided meditation sessions are usually under 10 minutes, meaning it’s easy to fit them into your day in a morning, when you’re sat doing nothing, on the bus etc. The idea is to focus your mind on you body and your breathing to take away from which ever situation you are in. There are specific sessions for relieving stress, distracting from pain, reducing anger and so on, so there really is something for every instance. I’ll be interested to see how well I get on with this but some people swear by it so I thought it was worth mentioning.
Write It Down
I am a list lover. I write lists of what lists I need to write. I love lists because I have a terrible memory for things that I desperately need to remember. Ask me a question about something from GCSE Geography or something about my childhood toys and I can answer. I’m a boss at playing along with the Chase because my brain is like a sponge that retains useless crap, but like I say, the important stuff just disappears. So often when I feel stressed it’s because I know I have a load of stuff to do but I can’t remember what it all is and which needs to take priority (lol- jokes that would be my dissertation). So by writing a list of my upcoming to-do’s I take that stress out of my brain and leave it on the paper. From there I can prioritise what’s important and what can wait, whilst having the peace of mind that I haven’t forgotten to do something. If you’re feeling stressed about something other than a workload, for example you are struggling with a conflict in a friendship, relationship or at work, then why not talk to a friend about it? How I would have got through Uni without imparting all of my woes onto Amy I don’t know and visa versa. Your friends are there to listen to you and offer advise and trust me, you’ll feel ten times better just by saying it out loud. The worst thing you can do is keep all your stress bottled up because you will eventually implode- instead get it written down or spoken about.
So there you have it, those are my 6 very easy tips on how to relieve day-to-day stress. They may seem pretty obvious but sometimes it’s nice to see a little reminder to prompt you to consider your own well being. I’d love to hear what things help you keep stress at bay, leave me a message in the comments down below. Thanks again for being patient with my uploading, as I’m sure you’ve twigged by now, Dissertations consume your soul and eat into your time like you would not believe.