We've all been through a tough few months cooped up in lockdown, so it feels timely for a short blog on self-care to reduce stress, with a handy checklist of self-care ideas for you to try.
Self-care is going to look different for everyone. We all possess various starting points, triggers, and challenges. So, self-care shouldn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach.
Taking time for yourself is an essential element of modern life and you can significantly reduce stress with self-care methods. In this blog, we share a few self-care tips to relieve stress, and from there, you can decide what works best for you.
Get Back to Basics
When you’re feeling stressed, chances are, some of the basics have become neglected. If you feel frazzled or out of sorts, take a moment to assess the situation and establish what areas you’ve been slacking on.
Have you been getting enough sleep? How have you been eating? Are you over-scheduling yourself? Have you been exercising or getting outside lately?
Sometimes, all it takes is getting back to basics to reduce stress. After all, simple steps like prioritising proper sleep, eating nutritious foods and building time buffers within your schedule are examples of good self-care in action.
Move Your Body
You don’t need to do a sweaty session every day, pump weights in the gym, or run a 5K to get the stress-relief benefits of exercise.
Go for a walk, stretch out in the morning, or play outside with the kids. Simply moving your body can get those endorphins going for natural stress relief.
When you set boundaries, you’re clarifying to yourself and others what you’ll stand for and what you won’t. They also help you prioritise what’s essential and what can wait.
Establish boundaries in your relationships, workplace, and within yourself. Then, communicate those boundaries to those closest to you and stick to them.
Are you committing to only working on weekdays? Then you shouldn’t be checking your email on Sunday!
Wanting to treat yourself? Make sure you follow through on giving yourself rewards for a job well done.
Stress occurs when we cross our boundaries or when others cross them, even if done so unwittingly. So, set your boundaries, communicate them, and stick to them.
Do Things You Enjoy
Stress and burnout are common when we put everyone else above ourselves. So, put some “me time” on the schedule or do the things you enjoy first thing in the morning so that you won’t put it off.
Spend time in nature, another great stress-reliever or chat to a close friend to de-compress. You might draw or paint, watch a film or head to the shops. Doing those things that you genuinely enjoy means living life fully and investing in your wellbeing.
Organise Your Space
An organised space can do wonders for relieving stress. How did you feel the last time you got home from work and walked into a total mess? Probably not great.
One powerful act of self-care is setting a 10-minute timer and tying up as much of your space as possible. You’d be surprised how much you get done in that short spurt.
Or, reserve your Saturdays to deep clean your space. Put on some music or your favourite podcast and see how much more mentally organised you feel when you have an organised home.
Set Goals but Focus on Habits
Last but not least, it’s essential to focus on habits, not goals. Yes, goals are necessary to orient you in the direction you’re aiming for, but they can lead to disappointment and stress when we fall short (which we inevitably do).
So, instead, focus on building the habits that will lead toward your goals and stick to those. Your goals might change, and in reality, we’re always moving the goalpost further and further away anyway.
Instead, when you focus on building habits, you can be confident that your acts of self-care are pushing you towards a more stress-free existence.
What about you – how do you practice self-care? What self-care habits do you find to relieve the most stress?