7 self-care survival tips to help you thrive in lockdown
- Caleb Frith
Self-care is all too often associated bubble baths, wine, countless episodes of Gilmore Girls and booking expensive holidays abroad. But it’s so much more than that! Self-care is making small changes to your everyday life that improve your immediate and long-term wellbeing. A lot of people don’t know this but, (please brace yourself for this next statement) self-care sometimes isn’t even that fun! It’s not all yoga classes and coffee dates with the gals. Okay, it is a lot of that, thank goodness, but sometimes self-care means cracking the whip on poor habits and breaking away from unhealthy patterns, which can be hard.
If you want to start practising self-care and get aboard the wellness train, then this is a great place to begin. Here are six self-care practises you can start today…
1. Learn to breathe
I mean learn to really breathe. How often do you catch yourself hunched over your computer with a scowl on your face, holding your breath whilst you tap away at today’s to-do list? Just a few rounds of diaphragmatic breathing (big, full breaths) will lower your heart rate and blood pressure, give your immune system a boost and decrease the effects of cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body. Do it wherever and whenever you can, in fact why not try it now? Take 3 big, deep breaths, then carry on reading.
2. Get a good night’s sleep
Healthy adults need at least seven hours of sleep each night and getting your recommended daily dose of Z’s has been linked to all sorts of delightful results, like improved productivity, concentration and a generally sunnier disposition. If you struggle to drift off in the evening, then here are a few things you can do to ensure you’re well on your way to La-La Land before you can say “Lights Off!”
- Turn your phone off at least two hours before bed. Scrolling on social media is the exact opposite of relaxing, so get disconnected – you can “like” Carol’s smoothie picture in the morning.
- Whilst you’re at it, turn off ALL your blue light devices including your laptop, tablet and TV. Blue light messes with your circadian rhythm (your body’s internal clock) by blocking the production of melatonin, which makes you sleepy.
- Set the scene: draw yourself a long, hot bath with some soothing essential oils (we love lavender & geranium), light a candle or nineteen and play some relaxing music. Create an environment so calming that you’re going to struggle not to drift off.
3. Get earthing
Forest bathing might sound like something that tattooed hippies do on weekends, but don’t poo-poo it just yet - the hippies are onto something! If there is one thing that naturopaths, Western doctors, Ayurvedic practitioners and Chinese medicine doctors can agree on it’s that spending time in nature has far-reaching benefits. So, get outside! If it’s warm enough, you can even leave your shoes behind and get some delightful dirt between your toes. It was fun when you were a kid, and it’s still pretty fun now.
4. Eat your greens!
Food is medicine, and not just for your physical body, but for your brain too. A significant number of studies, including those coming out of Harvard and Cambridge, show that there is an undeniable and intimate connection between the gut and the brain. These studies show that poor eating habits can compound or even create stress, anxiety and depression, but a healthy diet packed with greens can have the exact opposite effect.
5. Move your body!
Whilst we are on the topic of accessible medicine, do you know what else is medicine? Exercise! Turning off the TV and getting 30 minutes of exercise is one of the simplest ways and most effective ways you can practise self-care today. Exercise has been linked to aiding numerous physical and mental health problems including reducing the risk of stroke and cancer by up to a 50% and lowering your risk of depression and dementia by up to 30%.
“Exercise is the miracle cure we've always had, but for too long we've neglected to take our recommended dose. Our health is now suffering as a consequence.” – Livewell, NHS
Now, we know you’re short on time, you busy-bee, so why not combine points 3 and 5 by taking your recommended daily dose of exercise outside today!
6. Check your skincare routine
Do yourself a favour and start reading the labels of the products you are using on your skin. You’re likely going to find that off-the-shelf lotions, deodorants and makeup are packed with obscure-sounding chemicals that really shouldn’t be let inside us. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “well, I’m not ingesting it, so what’s the problem?” The problem is that the skin is the largest organ in your body and it absorbs literally everything it comes into contact with, so it’s well worth making sure you are only letting the best stuff in!
7. Make time for friends
This is an important one, especially in the day and age we live in where life can be pretty isolating (especially in the current world pandemic!). Creating social connections, whether that’s spending time with old friends and family or meeting new people is vital to our mental and emotional wellbeing. Cultivating friendships gives you a greater sense of belonging, happiness and boosts your confidence.
On World Mental Health Day, we want to encourage you, our Pit Putty Family, to pack your suitcase (don’t forget the candles and bath salts!) and get on board the wellness train with us. Toot toot! Keep looking after your body and your mind, as they are so closely synced. We all know that it’s not rocket science, so this World Mental Health Day, pick a point from the above, try it out for at least 7 days and we’d love to hear how you get along – you got this!