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24.09.2019- Self Care Hacks

With winter just peeking over the horizon, and a flurry of back to school-esque activity punctuating this time of the year, it can be easy to be left feeling a little bit adrift, especially as the journey towards the end of the year stretches out in front of us. For some inexplicable reason, work always tends to amp up at this time of the year too, something which when combined with darker evenings, chillier mornings and the perennial classic cold and flu season, can leave often leave you feeling rundown. Since recovering from my operation back in April, I’ve been really mindful of pacing myself, and being forced to take things slowly has been really helpful in terms of making me rethink just how to better balance things, and prioritising looking after myself. So, with that in mind, I’ve penned some self care hacks as rules for living over the coming months: 

Sleep well 
This seems like a slightly obvious thing to say, but there are few things better that a good, full night of sleep. With a busy week Monday to Friday, I usually find that by the weekend I'm desperate for some quality time with my duvet, and whilst it can be easy to do nothing with Saturday and Sunday but laze about, in the long run it's much easier to keep to a regular sleep routine, maximising the rest you get during the week and sticking to regular bedtimes and alarm calls at the weekend too. Alongside this, I've found that reading (even if it's only just a page or two) before my head hits the pillow is a brilliant way to park the stress of the day and give my brain something else to focus on, which in turn tends to mean that I don't get woken up at 3am by a racing mind. 

Breath deep
Again, another obvious one, but something which tends to go ignored during the business of day to day life. In the lead up to and after my surgery, I made a concerted effort to be more mindful of my breathing- particularly in terms of helping with pain management and building my stamina up again. Similarly, making sure that there's enough oxygen in your blood is really helpful for alleviating sensations of anxiety, especially as a tactic for taking your mind off of the immediate source- the Calm app has been fantastic in helping me with this. Additionally, making sure that you get enough fresh air- even if it's only popping out of the office for ten minutes at lunch- is key. 

Say no to this
How many times have you made plans after work and been slightly relieved when they've fallen through?! Me too. More so during the winter months than at any other time, I'm always mindful of avoiding burnout by not doing to much, so try and space out my evenings out as much as I can, and if possible arrange things towards the end of the working week. There's nothing wrong with saying no to things if you're really washed out- and, in the long run, a cosy evening in and early night are often all the more beneficial than carrying on until you're so shattered that you get your shampoo and shower gel mixed up (I've been there!)

Switch off
Digital detoxing is a subject which warrants a post all of its own, but there really is a lot to be said for switching off literally as well as figuratively. Whether it's keeping your phone in your bag from the time you get home to the time you head out to work the next morning, setting it to flight mode or limiting the apps you can use after a certain time of day, there's a lot to be said for being regularly disconnected, and even creating dedicated windows of time during the week where you're without your phone completely- for me, it's when I go out running, and I value the time all the more for it. 

Put yourself first
This is a tricky one, particularly for a people-pleasing Sagittarius like me, but over recent years I've come to realise that looking after number one is no bad thing at all- especially when it comes to issues of physical or mental health. Prioritising your own wellbeing is never anything which you feel you should have to say sorry for, and whether it's something simple like treating yourself to a massage, facial or manicure or something larger scale like looking towards more flexible working, there's a lot to be said for making life work for you, not vice-versa. 

What are your top self care hints?

(Image credit: Sarah Farrell, please do not reproduce without permission.)


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