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Self-care is the practice of tending to your body’s needs. Those needs are always there, no matter how busy life might be. Self-care protects against mental and physical health problems. It also prevents those problems from worsening.
So really, self-care is a way of owning your health. It’s a way to create a happier, healthier and more balanced life. No matter what has happened previously.
The ongoing pandemic has changed the way we live our lives. There’s been hardships, traumas, stresses, anxieties and uncertainties. There still continues to be. These factors have affected our health in different ways. It’s affected our emotional, physical and mental health. So Health Assured is looking at ways we can tend to the body’s needs, nurture good mental health and find peace of mind this summer—in the midst of it all.
The tips below are broken down into physical, emotional and mental self-care. So have a think, what is it your body needs right now?
Physical activity can prevent disease, help to maintain a healthy weight, and improve bodily functions. Whatever you can manage, a walk to the shop, a gentle yoga class, or a weights session at the gym. Staying fit can be a way to relieve stress and protect you from viruses.
You are what you eat
A balanced diet is packed with vitamins and nutrients that are essential for the body to function. Eating a variety of nutritious foods can help the health of your organs, cells and hormones. Cooking a healthy summery meal can itself be just as therapeutic too.
The human body is made up of around 60% water. It helps the brain function; cells to communicate and reduces tiredness. In the summer, when we can become dehydrated quickly, this one is even more important. Aim for about 6-8 glasses a day. It's a simple change to make, but the impact on your physical health can be monumental.
Immerse yourself in an activity
Studies show that when we’re in a ‘flow state’ completely focused on the activity that we are doing, mind chatter calms. We become mentally quiet. There’s peace, in the mind. Even if for a short time. Spending time in these no-mind states can do wonders for your mental health. It could be reading, painting, doodling, playing your favourite sport or doing a jigsaw puzzle. It gives you time to unwind and tend to the moment—you’ll feel soothed for doing so.
Spend time in nature
The great outdoors can boost mental health in many positive ways. It raises vitamin D levels, reduces anxiety and provides social interactions. Even a quick ten minutes can improve your day in a whole new way. Grab the opportunity to get out in the sunshine while you still can!
A break from the screen
Phones—we can connect to others, order food in an instant and pay for things on the go. But they can be addictive. And being exposed to masses of information 24/7 can be overwhelming on the mind. The constant notifications, messages and likes can clutter thinking. Having a break from this world, even for a few hours before bed can improve clarity, focus and aid better sleep. This might be one of the harder ones to put to the test. But the benefits can be boundless.
Talk to a friend
When emotions bubble up inside, they can feel daunting and hard to handle. Talking to a friend you trust can be a great way to relieve tension, laugh it off and break a cycle of negative emotion. While the summer is in full swing, a trip to the park, a bike ride or a lunch date could be the cure. We’re all in the COVID pandemic together, it’s likely that others will feel the same too.
Feel like you’re being pulled by waves of emotion? It can be hard to centre yourself and stay focused on what’s happening in the here and now. Mindfulness can soothe ever-changing emotions. It can help you to accept your current emotional state. You can be mindful anytime, anywhere. And it's free—so that's a bonus!
Focus your attention on the present moment, rather than thinking about past memories or future plans. Focus on the things you can see, hear, taste, touch and smell instead. It's simple, but these tools can help you to feel more in control of your emotions—rather than at the mercy of them. As COVID continues, these kinds of practices can be even more beneficial to our emotional health.
Write it down
Emotions can feel heavy and confusing, particularly if you suffer from a mental health problem. One thing that can help to shift the energy from inside your body is writing it down. You don’t have to be a writer. It could be a bullet point list or even a page of pictures. But the physical act of putting pen to paper can foster feelings of freedom from your emotions.
Heath Assured can help you with self-care and COVID-19 related stress. Get in touch with one of our wellbeing experts on:
UK: 0844 891 0354
ROI: 01 886 0324
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