Every month in my newsletter, I let my readers into some of my favourite self-care and wellbeing tips. Through various features, I’ve also gathered advice from others, some of whom are real-life experts in the health and wellbeing sector.
This week, I’ve been looking back on the wealth of tips I’ve gathered through my newsletter, and I thought I’d share my Top 10 favourites with you. Some of these tips are techniques I practice myself, whilst others are tips from my featured guests.
Tip #1 – Take a break
It’s important not to underestimate what a change of scenery can do for you. You don’t have to jet off on an expensive exotic break to a far-flung destination. It could be an overnight stay close to where you live, or if you have a tent, why not pitch up in your back garden? The point is, taking a break isn’t just about time off work. It’s about getting away from the housework, life admin, and the daily grind! Taking a break for any length of time can help you to recharge. A recharged you will make a difference to you AND those around you.
Tip #2 – Gill Thackray – Develop a growth mindset.
“When I started out, I had low self-esteem and a real lack of belief in myself. Someone offered me freelance work, and with a month’s rent in the bank, I had no other choice than to say yes. I used to wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. I didn’t think I could do it and secretly wondered what was wrong with them for asking me. If I hadn’t been made redundant, I would probably still be in a job that completely crushed my soul.
The universe gave me an enormous kick in the right direction, but it doesn’t need to be that drastic. Explore your old stories, any tired and worn-out mental habits and limiting beliefs around what you’re capable of. We all have times when imposter syndrome hits us and we’re convinced we’re not good enough or smart enough. That’s normal. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks you’re capable of. Only you can find out. Be your own cheerleader.
Developing a growth mindset will help you to reframe those beliefs, manage failure and achieve your goals. I’m still learning, still a work in progress, but at least now I’ve got a toolkit to help me.”
To find out more about Gill, click here.
Tip #3 – Look after your body
One of my goals last year was to walk an average of 10,000 steps per day. This was all well and good until my body started to hate me for it. My legs were so sore that my boyfriend had to get his sports massage gun on me to revive my tired muscles. I hadn’t realised the toll something as simple as walking could take on my body. If I was going to keep going, I needed to start looking after my feet and legs. Introducing footbaths and leg elevation after my walks changed the game. It gave my limbs a chance to rest and recover after each walk, which I’m going to have to put back into practice this year as I train for the National Three Peaks Challenge!
Tip #4 – Noopur Johri – Don’t underestimate the power of rest, meditation and feeling good!
They are simple yet very effective ways to enhance one’s wellbeing. As the saying goes, ‘Energy flows where Attention goes’. Therefore, the more we focus our attention on quieting our busy minds and exploring ways of feeling good, the more we will align to a happy and satisfied life.
Click here to find out more about Noopur’s wellbeing store.
Tip #5 – Take a cold shower
Last year, I found myself engrossed in Freeze The Fear with Wim Hof on the BBC. Early in the series, Wim introduced a group of celebrities to a cold water shower. The benefits of cold water have long been spoken about, but there seems to be more and more proof that it helps our mental health as well as our physical health. Starting with a warm shower, Wim recommends turning the water to cold for 15 seconds per day gradually working up to 1-2 minutes per day.
Whilst I managed to get up to 2 minutes per day during the summer months, I have struggled to maintain this throughout the winter. I do, however, still spend 60 seconds underneath a cold blast of water at the end of each shower. Cold water showers have left my skin feeling fantastic, I feel less sluggish throughout the day, and it gives me an instant morning bounce I’d rarely experienced before. It also allows me to focus on my breath first thing in the morning. It’s important to breathe through the cold rather than hold your breath! The best thing about this technique is that you don’t need to find any extra time in your day for it. I lather up in the shower and then let the cold water wash it off!
There will, of course, be some people this isn’t suitable for. If you have any existing health conditions, please check with your doctor before trying this. And if you do give it a go, make sure you increase the time gradually to avoid sending your body into shock.
Tip #6 – Abi Browning – Hug someone or something you love
Hugging something can shift you into having a positive and powerful day. Even if everything gets a bit hectic or frustrating, I know that finding something to hug will centre me and remind me of what is important.
Although Abi recommends hugging someone you love, a pet or a plant, I can also vouch for how effective hugging trees can be!
Click here to give Abi a follow on Instagram.
Tip #7 – Take a Nap!
Who knew that taking a nap could be so beneficial? I love an afternoon nap, but there have been so many times when I’ve woken up feeling worse than when I dozed off. However, last year, I found a solution to that post-nap grogginess!
Before I take a planned nap I set my alarm on my phone to go off 20 minutes later. All you really need is a power nap, and 20 minutes is just enough time to give your body and mind a refresh. As much as sometimes I feel like I could sleep for longer, I don’t. I force myself to wake up and then get up and carry on with my day. Not only does napping help me feel more rested, I no longer feel the grogginess of ‘overnapping’.
Tip #8 – Magdalena Lekowska – Find a connection to nature that works for you – and only you!
Whether it is walking in the park, swimming in the lake, photographing leaves or ferns, lying on the beach, hiking in the mountains etc. Make it yours and stick with it – magic will start to happen.
Don’t wait until the next time you start to feel the world weigh heavy on your shoulders, get outside today, and find your connection with nature.
Click here to give Magdalena a follow on Instagram.
Tip #9 – Distraction
During a 12-week block of Psychotherapy last year, my therapist taught me about how powerful distraction techniques can be to calm anxiety. To give some context, one of the problems I’d been encountering was getting stuck in a vicious cycle of health anxiety. Whenever I felt pain or a twinge, my brain told me it was something sinister. Yet, when distracted, I felt fine.
The following technique has helped me countless times since. Every time I feel myself getting anxious and my adrenaline starts to surge, I focus on the following distraction technique:
- Breathe in for the count of four, breathe out for the count of six
- Focus attention on the breath and breathe into the tummy
- Focus on the sensation in the body of the lungs filling and emptying
Give it a try next time you feel anxious, and let me know if it works for you!
Tip #10 – Tyrone Cassius – Train your body the way you want to use it.
We don’t all do the same things so we don’t need to train exactly the same. A rugby player will not train the same as a gymnast and a security guard will not train the same as an office worker. This is because they are using their bodies in different ways so they need to train them to match the load they will be put under each day. Think about how you use your body and strengthen it accordingly, making it specific to you!
Click here to find out more about Tyrone’s Health and Wellbeing business, Specifeye.
Here are a few extra tips as a thank-you for reading this far!
I hadn’t realised how much I needed to laugh until I received a voice note from a friend, and she made me properly laugh out loud. It was a good belly laugh too. And it made me feel euphoric. I couldn’t even tell you what made me laugh, but knowing my friend was there for me at that moment was a great feeling. Similarly, I got lured into watching some Reels on Instagram the other night, and I was properly howling out loud at them. Coincidence or not, I slept like a baby that night!
I don’t often have the TV on during the day when I’m working, but I sometimes pop it on over lunchtime. Instead of watching dreary, depressing lunchtime chat shows, I jump over to E4 and have a chuckle at old episodes of The Big Bang Theory, which instantly lightens my mood.
I found this technique by complete accident, but it’s now firmly in my wellbeing toolkit. As I sat at my desk one morning, I started to apply some hand cream, and before I knew it, I was rubbing my thumb, with some pressure, over the palm of my hand, and I could feel my recent anxiety, along with a load of knots, just melting away. My hands take a battering at the best of times, so spending just a few minutes giving myself a hand massage not only took away some of my anxieties but also made my hands feel pretty awesome!
Click here to find out how you can give yourself a hand massage.
Ok, this one might sound a little bit ‘out there’, but I promise you it works. Self-hugging is a technique my therapist taught me, and I’ve used it a few times since, with incredible effects. Sometimes we just need a bloody big hug. But we can’t always expect our loved ones, plants or pets, to be with us when this feeling comes over us.
So next time you need a hug, why not give yourself one? It might feel a bit strange to begin with, but so far, it hasn’t let me down. Whether I’ve felt compelled to hug myself for getting through a situation or as a way of soothing my anxiety, it always makes me feel better.
Click here to find out how to hug yourself.
After going on a wellbeing retreat in the Autumn, I couldn’t wait to give flaxseeds a try. The ladies on the retreat were raving about them. I’ve long suffered from gut problems and bloating, and everyone on the retreat thought flaxseeds might be the answer to all my problems. And they weren’t wrong! Adding just one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds to my oats every morning has made me more regular than ever! I also have considerably less bloating which is amazing considering how long I have suffered with this. Over the last few years, I’ve also suffered badly from persistent urine infections. However, since I started to take a daily dose of flax, I’ve only had one infection (touchwood)! Our bowels have way more influence on our overall health than we actually think!
14 Hour Fasting
Intermittent Fasting was something else we spoke about at the wellbeing retreat last year, and it was something I had read about quite a bit. Although not always easy or practical to fast for 14 hours, I tend to experience much less bloating and stomach gurgling at bedtime when I fast. I fast overnight, so most nights, I don’t eat anything after 8:30pm/9pm, and then I have a late breakfast at around 10:30/11am the following morning. As I work from home, I can manage the late breakfast ok, although if I have dinner later than 9pm, I find it quite tricky to get passed 11am without eating.
To find out more about Intermittent Fasting, click here.
Add to your Daily Routine
This list is by no means exhaustive, but they are some of the wellbeing techniques I rely on to get me through the day, especially when life feels a little bit tough. However, by incorporating even one or two of these techniques into your daily routine, you’ll be banking up plenty of self-care points for when those trickier times rear their ugly head.
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One Comment Add yours
The best “tips” for well-being I find are in the Bible. Particularly, the Psalms and Proverbs in the Old Testament and Romans and Philippians in the New Testament offer as great ideas as the ones your present here. Intermingled throughout the other books in The Book (actually a mini-library) are other hints at how to live a fulfilled and blessed life (e.g. “You will keep that person in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3)