Bridge to Health Blog
Bridge to Health Blog

Self care: learning to look after yourself

Written by Deborah Kerr   Posted in:Counselling / Psychotherapy   January 15, 2016

Self care: learning to look after yourself
We all should look after our well-being the way we look after the well-being of our children, friends, partner and loved ones. Self-care is important because it makes us more resilient and happy individuals who are more than capable of showing love and affection to others. Self-care also helps us fight stress and reduce its impact on our health and well-being. But you might ask ‘how might I practise self-care? How do I ensure that I am taking care of myself properly?

Challenge your mind

Take up a new challenge. Research shows that the more we challenge our mental prowess, the wiser we become. Try a new hobby, drive to a new place, solve some mental problems, draw, learn a new skill or read something new – all these are great ways to take good care of your mental health.
 

Learn to accept and manage your emotions

Dealing with emotions can be really challenging especially when you are coping with stress. So how do you take care of your emotional health? The first thing can do is to accept that it is not every day that we feel good. We are all subject to negative emotions. What matters more is how you handle them. Denying negative emotions (often by the familiar mantra ‘think positive’) can give you temporary relief but it could also lead to worse outcomes. When you are feeling down – accept it! You can try writing them down – it helps you clarify your emotions and understand the real cause of your problems. Cry when you need to. Talk to a friend or see a counsellor. Look for healthier outlets such as yoga or meditation, practise gratitude and be confident that you will be able to get through the tough times.
 

Take care of your physical health

Dealing with stress is harder when you are physically unfit. Self-care does not only include your mental and emotional health, but also your physical well-being. Incorporating good habits like yoga, meditation and exercise in hour daily life can greatly boost your health. Proper nutrition and quality rest should also be included.
 

Your spiritual health

Knowing your core values, those that really matter to you, is crucial to practising self-care. Some great tips to look after your spiritual health include attending church activities, meditating, praying, writing a journal, spending time with nature and practising compassion.
 

Connecting with others

Connecting with others is one way to practise self-care. As social beings, we have this innate need for social connectedness and sense of belongingness. During difficult times, it can greatly help to go out for a lunch date with a friend, join a support group, and spend more quality time with your family. Being part of a social circle reminds us that we are not alone.
 

Engage in pleasurable activities

Watch a move, garden, play with your pets, go somewhere relaxing, get a massage, indulge in an hour-long bath or take yourself out to eat. Engaging in pleasurable activities is a great way to take care of yourself when you are feeling stressed. Just make sure that such activity is not harming your mental, emotional and physical health.
 

Be mindful

Focus on the present. Focus on what’s around you at the moment; the smells, sights, sounds, touch. This will keep your mind off from worrying. Practising mindfulness has plenty of benefits to your health and well-being and is a simple yet very powerful self-care strategy. 
 
Take care!

To find out more about Deborah Kerr, psychotherapeutic counsellor, please visit her website: www.deborahkerrcounselling.co.uk


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