How to look after yourself better

By Jenny Cole - 04:40:00

First things first, we can all look after ourselves better. I had a little bit of a rocky start to this year, I had some health problems (all of which are being worked on and some are completely under control now) arise and it really taught me how to look after myself better. Looking after yourself seems like such a simple thing to do but in reality it can be tough to do, and at first I didn't really know where to start. I had this image in my head that I did look after myself pretty good but after a little eye-opening experience I realised that I hadn't been in the slightest.

1. Set hours in which you don't work
This one is particularly important for students or those who work from home, personally in revision season I don't work after 9pm so I can have some time to myself, whereas on normal weekdays its 8pm. I also set out hours in which I'll have family time or spend time with my friends. This really motivates me to get my work done and finished so I can have the time to relax and wind down. There sacred to me and they never change.

2. Meditation
Even jut meditating for 5-10 minutes a day can put you in a really good mood and get you ready for the day or even help you get ready for bed. I personally use Headspace (which is amazing and I highly recommend it!) but there are a lot of meditation tips and tricks an tutorials online and on YouTube. Early morning meditation increases my mood and self-awareness whereas meditating at night helps me wind down for bed and relax. Meditating can make you more positive, energetic and happy.

3. Getting enough sleep
This one I struggled with at first. I use Fitbit to help me track my sleep and it helped me to see exactly how much sleep I'm getting at night, and what type of sleep it is (Light, REM, Deep and how much time I spent awake etc.). Meditating really helped me increase how much sleep I'm getting and I've been in a better mood because of it.  More sleep equates to more happiness, better health and improved decision-making and it helps you to detox and recharge.

4. Journaling
Life can be very overwhelming sometimes and I find it helps to get everything your thinking about onto paper. I jot down absolutely anything and everything, from how I feel to to-do lists or ideas I have. It's also really cool to look back on and remember things that happened, it being a good little keepsake.

5. Yoga.
What kind of tips on how to look after yourself better, would this be if it didn't incorporate exercise? I've become a lot more active and I've turned to working out every other day which I never thought would happen. Yoga is one of the easiest ways to reset your mind and body, you can find numerous tutorials on YouTube or an apps such as Nike Training Club.

6. Happiness.
Smile. Smile more. Just do it.

7. Dance like no one's watching.
One of the first things I do when I get home is dance around my room. It helps me de-stress and improves my mood and helps me get out any energy that's going to stop me from doing my work. It can also improve body image, lead to a better outlook and is associated with a lower risk of dementia.

8. Read More.
Reading has been proven to keep the mind sharp as it ages and reading fiction books can increase creativity and a more open mind. It can also increase sleep and make us more empathetic.

9. Laugh.
Ever heard of the phrase 'laughter is the best medicine'? Laughing benefits our mental and physical health, especially when combined with exercise. It can improve our quality of life and help us connect with those we laugh with and help our relationships. I recommend watching Friends.

10. Declutter your life and room.
Did you know that clutter can stress you out? I find it therapeutic to sort through things and get my life organised. Decluttering and organising things can make us more productive, cheerful and calmer.

11. Exercise in general.
We all knew this one was coming after yoga. Exercise is amazing and my new best friend. I love it. It decreases so many things and makes you so much healthier. It's a pretty good mood lift. Exercise goes a long way to reducing stress. Just a small walk will energize you and motivate you for the day ahead.

12. Get off your phone.
In this day and age we use our phones for near enough everything, we always seem to be looking at a screen of some sort, whether that be a tablet, our computer, TV, or our phone. We're living in a virtual world and forgetting what's most important in our lives. Taking a break from social media and our screens can helps us recharge and give our brain the downtime it needs to work at an optimal level.

13. Self-care, self-care, self-care.
We don't tend to set aside times for ourselves in our busy schedules. We tend to forget that we need to look after ourselves too and not just those around us. You can read about my self-care routine here.

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