How much time do you spend every day on yourself?
Amidst “the motions” of life it's important to remember to take a pause and reflect on what you are doing to help improve your mental health. Self-care is one of the most important acts of self-preservation to prevent anxiety and burn-out, and it doesn't have to be complicated! Simple acts carried out to inject meaningful interruptions into your work or household demands can have an incredible therapeutic effect – a 15 minute walk in the mornings before work, a 10 minute stretching session to channel some zen in between zoom calls, daily journalling, or even just carrying out your skincare routine every night!
You might be asking yourself, what does self-care even mean? According to Life of Mind, “Self-care refers to activities that preserve and maintain one’s physical, emotional and mental health. It is an ongoing commitment to look after yourself through helpful behaviours that protect your health during periods of stress.” To summarise, this means that self-care is simply caring for yourself! Meaning you need to do what is best for you to help you feel good physically, mentally, and emotionally. By noticing things that are negatively affecting you (aka mindfulness), you can proactively make positive changes to your lifestyle that will reduce stress and bring balance to your mental well-being. And they don’t have to be big adjustments!
In recent years, there’s been gathering interest by researchers into the disciplinary benefits of routine (or as surmised by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ‘the dull routine of existence”). It turns out, that routine can have significant psychological benefits. In its simplest form, this can be mental exercise, as explained by clinical psychologist Dr. Steve Orma, “you need to consistently check in with yourself about what you’re worrying about, then address it. Just as we create routines with exercise for our physical bodies, we should do the same for our mental health. One way to do this is scheduling ‘thinking time’ to think through any problems or worries weighing on you instead of letting them build up.”
Make time for what matters to you! Because when you’re settled in yourself and not “fraying” from the constant pull of life and its demands, you’re in a better position to support others in your life. Self-care is not selfish; the age-old truth is that by helping yourself, you are helping others.
Self-care looks different to everyone; while for some if might be journalling every night, for some it may be as simple as having a 15 minute hot bath every day instead of a 4 minute “dive and run” shower, and for others it might include a morning chamomile tea in a fancy teacup and 10 minutes of a jigsaw puzzle! Ultimately... whatever floats your boat. The first step is recognizing that TLC should not be a luxury afforded only to the rich, or to those whose kids have left home, or those that have retired – it's a must for everyone to be their optimum selves – at work, at home, in relationships, and in themselves.
A blog written by Lifework's stated, “Self-care is especially important for individuals with chronic conditions. It is a key method for improving health outcomes, especially through long-term behavioural changes such as diet management and stress relief.” If you are looking for signs in your own self that you are neglecting self-care, try to be conscious of when you are being negative to yourself or projecting the same on others, or when you are lacking in confidence or optimism. Just by pausing and recognising a pattern gives you the ammunition to start an intervention process of self-care that can have a lasting impact.
For our team at Koéna – we would be very poor brand ambassadors if we didn’t say that skincare routines were top on our lists of self-care priorities! But beyond the brand, and our love of what we bring to the world every day – we all value daily skincare as an essential part of caring for our bodies, and stealing five minutes of uninterrupted bliss!
Sometimes the smallest things make the biggest difference, and with something as simple as washing your face and applying moisturiser daily, you can see the impact it has both on your skin and on your mental wellbeing.
It can be hard to form new habits and break old ones, but the payoff is so worth it! Be creative, think outside of the box, how can you interrupt your life with new routines? How can you inject some much-deserved self-care? Bring balance back to your life!