To say that times are hard is an understatement, and it may seem that life as we know it is spiraling out of control. But there are a variety of methods that you can use to center yourself and calm your mind, body and soul. And it all boils down to this: self-care.
While self-care is a popular term today, the practice dates back to the beginning of mankind. But self-care gained steam a couple of years ago to normalise taking time for oneself and infusing more health, happiness and relaxation into life. And while practicing self-care has many benefits, like reducing stress and improving quality of life, building a self-care routine into one’s day can be difficult, and many people struggle in taking time to care for themselves.
What does self-care mean to you? Some think of self-care as a day at the spa, treating yourself to take-out or devoting a portion of your night to playing your favourite video game or binge-watching your favourite show. But self-care looks different to everyone, and it can be much more or much less than either of those things. If you’re feeling the weight of the world’s worries and want your anxiety to melt away, these self-care activities can help you pour energy back into yourself and find peace during turbulent times.
Before you begin creating a self-care routine, it may be helpful to analyse where your biggest stressors are coming from? Are you having anxiety about your quarantine body? Is your work-life balance feeling thrown off? Are the people in your life getting on your nerves? By identifying these anxieties, you can piece together a routine that relieves stress in the areas of your life where you need it most.
Most of the UK is currently working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means that many people may have traded in their work attire for pyjamas. And while sweats and a t-shirt might be more comfortable, this outfit isn’t conducive to positive self-esteem, high performance or confidence, which means you may be feeling more anxious than ever. Instead of opting for a snuggie, get dressed in one of your favourite plus size boutique dresses for a confidence-boosting look that will have you feeling radiant—even if you aren’t leaving your house.
Dance it Out
If you’re feeling down or anxious, put on your favourite playlist and have a solo dance party. Studies show that dancing increases confidence and boosts our mood. Stress relief may be just one dance away! Dance like nobody is watching, because nobody is watching!
Create a Positivity Tribe
Are you having a lot of anxiety around body image issues? While social media can be a stressor—especially when it comes to comparison and body image—it also serves as a great place to get inspiration and surround yourself with people who look like you. The body positivity movement is huge on social media now, and while there is a fair share of images promoting photoshopped silhouettes, there are hundreds of men and women normalising their real bodies. Instead of following people you aspire to be like, curate your social media feed to reflect images of people who look like you and inspire you to love yourself a little more. And before you know it, anxieties around your body will sound a little less loud.
Get Some Sun
While we may be spending a lot of time inside, getting out to catch some sun rays can actually help relieve stress and boost happiness. Sunlight is proven to help your brain release neurotransmitters like serotonin that can improve your mood and make you feel calm and focused. So slide on your favourite plus size bikini, pack your favourite snacks and head out for an hour of sunlight.
Take Up a New Hobby
If you have extra time on your hands, take up a new hobby to infuse some excitement into your day-to-day. Whether it be playing video games, scrapbooking, drawing or knitting, hobbies can help to reduce anxiety. What’s something you have always wanted to take up, but haven’t had the time to? Maybe it’s time to look at how you can weave that into your life!
Whether you are a fan of working out or not, being active boosts happiness. Whether you choose to work out for 30 minutes every day or you opt for an hour three times a week, prioritizing fitness into your routine can greatly enhance your mood and health. If you don’t know where to start, try yoga. There are many free workouts that are hosted on YouTube to guide you through exercises like yoga, Pilates, cardio and other activities. If you’re not a fan of working out, having a stretching routine could also be beneficial as it has been shown to make the body feel good.
Sometimes, we all just need a good nap or an extra hour of sleep. The human body needs at least seven hours of sleep per day. And whether you are currently sleeping around that amount or you are falling short, a 10- to 30-minute nap can help you restore your energy and boost your mood.
Drink a Lot of Water
On average, people don’t drink enough water every day, but drinking water can calm anxiety. Aim to take in around 84 ounces of water per day to help stabilise your mood and anxiety. It may be a small self-care effort, but there are benefits!
Self-care looks different to everyone, but it’s critical that we all cut out time from our days to show our bodies love. Whether you’re new to self-care or you have had a wellness routine for years, implementing some of these actions could help you feel centred and present. Show yourself a little extra love today because you deserve it. Your mind and body will thank you for paying attention to your emotional, spiritual and physical needs.