Self-care doesn’t have to be self-indulgent, and it’s not just for women. It’s a vital element of being a functioning person in society. How can we accomplish the things we want to if we’re not operating at 100%? How can we feel settled and at ease without giving our mind and body the rest they need? How can we expect to be the sort of friend, sibling, partner, or child we want to be without giving ourselves what we need first?
So use these three no-frills, largely low-effort tips to take care of yourself and, in doing so, improve the quality of your life.
- Deep breathing
When we’re stressed, our body changes on a physiological level; your heart beats faster and you might even feel a bit dizzy. Your body has activated ‘fight or flight’ mode, to an extent.
This stress response doesn’t have to be a single event, either. For many of us, who feel like we’re juggling priorities or struggling to balance work and life, our flight or fight response might actually be turned ‘on’ all the time to a lesser degree.
Dr. Esther Sternberg, research director at the Arizona Centre for Integrative Medicine, says, “Deep breathing turns on the vagus nerve enough that it acts as a brake on the stress response…which in turn powers up the parasympathetic nervous system.”
Deep breathing can not only quell your stress – it can prevent it from kicking in in the first place.1
- Take passive care of yourself
We might approach self-care with enthusiasm at first, but what about when we lose steam?
If that’s the case, that’s no problem, but you want to ensure that you’re taking care of yourself even when you might not feel like doing so.
This is where vitamins and supplements come in. To be clear, this isn’t a case of reaching for the cheapest multivitamin you can find in the shop. Instead, treat the process of finding out what your body needs with real consideration.
This could be a good-quality probiotic with the right strains for your gut health or skin concerns,2 a B12 supplement if you struggle with fatigue, or a vitamin D supplement for the winter months.
- Give everything a place
The link between positive mental health and a tidy environment is strong: a tidy home is found to reduce stress,3 improve focus4 and give us a sense of calm.5
So if you’re someone who struggles to feel settled or has anxiety issues, make sure that your surroundings aren’t exacerbating the issues.
Give everything in your home a place. The result isn’t just visually pleasing – it’s also essential for your sense of flow. Having to fumble in the morning for things because you don’t know where they are will only ever fluster you. If you find you have more items than you have reasonable places to put them, it may be time to consider getting rid of a few things – or reorganising your space.
1. What Deep Breathing Does to Your Body | thecut.com
2. The effects of selected probiotic strains on the development of eczema | Wiley Online Library
3. Cleaning and Mental Health: Benefits and How to Get Motivated (psycom.net)
4. How Cleanliness Can Affect Your Mental Health (thecleaningcollective.co.uk)
5. How Mental Health and Cleaning Are Connected (verywellmind.com)