In this world of endless opportunities and constant developments, the pressure is on to make the most of your time, be the best you can be and push the boundaries of your own abilities. We are all guilty of having a never-ending mental to-do list that covers everything from ‘hang up the washing’ to ‘invent something to change the world’. One thing that is all too often left off the list is self-care; those little day to day tricks that keep us sane, motivated and ultimately, happy. When you’re chasing a deadline or preparing for a new job, those little elements of self-care no longer seem important and are pushed to the bottom of the priorities list or even forgotten entirely. But it is precisely those moments that boost self-esteem and lower stress levels, leaving you better prepared for whatever life throws at you. Making yourself a priority – putting your oxygen mask on before helping others – isn’t selfish; it is self-preservation and will make life just a little easier to deal with each day.
- Supercharge your morning – Aside from those lucky enough to be morning people, the rest of us need a little help first thing in the morning. Preparing for the next day in little ways, such as laying out your clothes and packing your bag, can make life a great deal easier, ensuring that your morning gets off to the best possible start. For those who really struggle to get out of bed in the morning, planning something really enjoyable or exciting can make all the difference. It could be just a small change to the morning routine, like taking a few moments to relax over a cappuccino instead of instant coffee, or getting lost in a really good book for 15 minutes. Getting up slightly earlier to give yourself time to relax and mentally prepare for the day can be far more beneficial than those extra minutes in bed.
- The power of productivity – Productivity can either make or break someone’s day. Setting small, achievable tasks can be an empowering and motivating way to power through your day. That feeling of productivity boosts self-esteem and feeling positive about your workload is a much more effective method than feeling guilty or overwhelmed. Just focus on the next half hour or answering an email and the day will seem much more manageable.
- Don’t let procrastination defeat you – There is nothing more demoralising than getting caught up in a procrastination cycle. You don’t get the work done, you waste time and end up feeling bad about yourself for not succeeding. If you tackle those little jobs that come up throughout the day as you discover them, you keep your mind free to work on more important things. The more tasks you put off for another time, the more stress you put on yourself, whereas if you stay in the moment and resolve any minor problems when you come across them, you reduce stress and increase productivity, which in turn increases your self-esteem.
- Avoid multi-tasking – Trying to tackle everything at once can make you feel like a superhero, but in most cases you are actually increasing your stress levels and losing quality. Focusing on one project at a time has been shown to improve memory, increase productivity and quality as your full attention is placed on the job at hand.
- Prioritize sleep – A good night’s sleep can be found on every self-care list out there, yet it is often the first thing to slip from our list of priorities when things get tough. At times having a full night of deep sleep can seem like an impossible task as stress causes lack of sleep which only adds to the stress, and so the cycle can continue. Prioritising sleep and preparing for it on a regular basis is an essential part of anyone’s self-care routine. Make it a highlight of your day by incorporating elements specific to your needs and tastes. The bedroom should be a comfortable haven, away from any stress in your life, offering a place to relax, unwind and drift off for a full night’s sleep.
- Make time for your passion – The working day can feel like it takes over your life, but if your working week is 40 hours and you sleep on average 8 hours a night, that still leaves 72 hours a week to do with as you please. Even if you factor in 2 hours for the daily commute, you still have over 1/3rd of your time left. Make the most of it by focusing on something that you are passionate about, stimulating your mind and living your life in a way that you can be proud of.
- Talking to yourself – We all have an internal voice that comments on little elements of our day and typically we let it say its piece without really observing it. That voice can have a huge effect on our wellbeing and it is a surprisingly easy thing to change for the better. Listen to that voice more carefully and stop it when you hear something negative. Talk to yourself in the same way that you would talk to a friend. If you make a mistake and hear “idiot”, for example, rephrase the response in a more understanding way. This self-compassion not only improves self-esteem but also promotes mindfulness as you become more aware of why you are making mistakes and how you can improve things. After a little time being kind to yourself becomes second nature.
- 10 minute time-out – Every day, no matter what you have on, save a little time for yourself. It could be as little as 10 minutes or as much as you want, but allow yourself the time to switch off from all the stresses of the day, relax completely and listen to how you feel. Try yoga, meditation, or simply sit alone and listen to music for a few minutes. Over time this habit will increase your awareness of your own wellbeing and reduce stress levels, allowing you to cope with everything around you a little better.
If you feel that a career in counselling, psychotherapy or hypnotherapy is for you, please visit Chrysalis Courses for more information.