'If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete' – Jack Kornfield
It is often difficult to find the time to look after ourselves, especially when we are busy caring for others around us. For some, it may feel selfish to spend an hour doing something completely for us when friends and family are needing our support.
Spending all our time, energy and compassion on those we love and care for can leave us feeling exhausted and completely overwhelmed, having a negative effect on our ability to support those who need it. Whether you are a parent, carer, professional or friend the need to take time to relax and recharge is essential.
Dr Bill Webster recently spoke at a seminar and dedicated a large amount of time discussing the need to look after ourselves. He suggested that everyone should be aiming to set aside 'an hour per day, a day per week and a weekend per month' to do something completely for themselves.
But what is self-care? Essentially, it is taking time to look after ourselves and to do something we really love. Some find joy in baking, others may enjoy running or cycling. We have compiled a list below of ideas for simple ways to practice self-care.
- Eat well, drink plenty of water, regularly exercise and get a good night's sleep – This might seem a little simplistic but looking after our basic human needs is a good place to start in looking after the body and mind.
- Be kind to yourself – Celebrate your successes and reward yourself for doing well. Treat yourself to a bunch of flowers or a yummy lunch just because!
- Spend time with friends and family but also spend time by yourself – Surround yourself with people who make you feel loved, appreciated and that you can be yourself with. Although spending time with friends and family can be a good thing, it can also be good to spend time alone, especially if this isn't something you can do often.
- Get out into nature – It is pretty well documented that being outdoors can boost our mood. Whether you go for a peaceful walk through a nature reserve, or you pack a picnic and head to the park, being outdoors amongst wildlife can be very soothing.
- Listen to or make some music – Find music that matches your mood. Some people find that when they feel angry or frustrated, listening to some heavy rock can make them feel calmer. Equally, others find listening to something soothing has the same effect when at breaking point. Maybe even create playlists of songs specific to the needs of each mood.
- Read a book or watch a film – Put your feet up, grab a cup of tea and a snack and relax! Books and films are a great way to escape real life and lose yourself in the world of a fictional character.
These are just some ideas of things that can be done to look after yourself. We would love to know what you do to relax and unwind. What does self-care look like for you? Share your suggestions with us!