BY LEAH RICHARDSON
So, it has got to that time of year where morale is at an all-time low and self-care is seriously neglected. So why is it that during winter we neglect ourselves the most? We do we stop taking time out of our day to journal? Or paint our nails? Or even to run ourselves a bath? Why do we continuously strip ourselves of the things that we love the most? Why? Because for many of us we lead busy lives, right? It is sometimes incredibly hard to take a simple 30 minutes out of our day to run ourselves a bath when we could be in and out of the shower in 10. We assume that we are saving ourselves those vital extra 20 minutes that could be better spent elsewhere? Wrong. By not allowing ourselves time to wind down and have “me” time, we are ultimately contributing to self-neglect.
Now, hold on, all is not lost here, we still have time to make amends. Starting with making time for ourselves, and when I say, “make time”, this can be anything from spending the afternoon de-cluttering your bedroom/work space to taking a brisk walk and being at “one” with nature…
So here are 10 ways that you can start to look after yourself more!
- Declutter your life
This can be in the form of decluttering junk from your desktops, throwing away old clothes that you have no use for anymore and even cutting off toxic friendships/relationships! Getting rid of unnecessary objects or people from your life makes room for new objects and new friendships/relationships that might serve you better.
2. Saying “No”
I think one of the main problems at university is that many of you just agree to go to events that you don’t actually want to go to. Many of you have only just settled in so you’re still trying to “find your feet” plus you’re lumbered with the struggles of moving away from home. Some of you may want to impress your peers and be well-liked, this is fine, but you should feel comfortable enough to say no to things without worrying about what the other people may think of you for not going.
3. Meditate, Meditate, Meditate!!!
All that meditation involves is taking time out to sit in complete stillness and practice your breathing techniques. It works perfectly when you’re stressing out about university deadlines because you can take time away from studying and focus all of your energy on de-stressing and creating a positive working environment.
4. Unwind & take “me” time
What would be the point in practicing self-care routines if you didn’t take the crucial time out to tend to yourself and unwind with your favourite rom-com? University can be an incredibly stressful environment with looming deadlines at the end of every corner, sometimes it can feel like they are never ending but just try to remember that everyone else is in the same boat as you are. You shouldn’t work yourself up about things that in a few years will no longer be important.
5. Social media detox
Switching off from social media is also a vital part of “self-care”, this can be anything from simply turning your phone off for an hour to going complete cold turkey and deleting Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat for a few days. So, I propose that we all give our phones a good old rest for a few days and limit our time on social media, then after these few days ask yourselves these questions “How do I feel?” “Do I feel good? Do I feel happier?” if you answered yes to all the above then my social media detox plan worked!
6. Read more
We could all benefit from reading more this month, whether that is a small poetry book to a 500-page novel. It doesn’t matter whatever it is, everyone has different abilities and works at different paces so just do what is best for you.
7. Eat cleaner
This goes hand in hand with self-care, but in this case I mean looking after your body, monitoring what you put in it and exercising regularly.
8. Sleep, Sleep, Sleep!
Who’s guilty of not getting enough sleep at night and has to take naps during the day? Come on, own up. We all do it, who says to themselves “This is the last episode that I will watch on Netflix” and how many of us are actually telling the truth? See.
At university it is a lot harder to get a good 7-8 hours sleep at night, maybe you’re up late doing an assignment that is due tomorrow that you should have started months ago? Or maybe you’re out partying with your housemates until 6am? Either way you need to allocate yourself more time to sleep. Napping in the afternoon is a temporary solution but definitely not a permanent one, switching off from social media can also help with sleeping more!
8. Compliment yourself
Self-care routines would be nothing without gratitude, love and patience. You need to understand that this is a process and you should take it day by day rather than week by week. Do you look nice today? Have you tried out a new hairstyle that looks cute? Then tell yourself. Just as you would tell a friend that they look “nice”, do the same to yourself. Complimenting yourself more will build on your inner self-esteem and confidence, it can even impact on how our day goes because if we are not feeling secure and confident in ourselves then we cannot take on the day with such ease.
9. Be more grateful
Show gratitude more and be grateful for what you have right now. Sometimes it is easy to overlook things and dismiss just how lucky we actually are.