This past week has been a stressful one. I'm a naturally anxious person, and a few things have been compounding that lately to the point where I've forgotten to eat meals, been riddled with headaches, and unable to concentrate on the simplest of tasks.
This weekend, I decided that I need to focus on self-care. I've not checked emails, have generally stayed away from social media and have instead have listened to my body.
What does self care look like for me? It's doing the things I love, yet seldom take the time to do. It's eating healthy meals at the table (rather than in front of a screen) and being physically active.
Here are five ways to practice self-care and an example of each I've done this weekend. Admittedly, none of these are revelatory, but they always help me to reduce my anxiety and improve my mental state.
| Step Away from the Screen |
It's too easy to go from looking at a monitor at work, to going home and watching Netflix, and heading to bed, which really means scrolling through Instagram.
I find that looking at other people's highlight reel on Instagram can only serve to make me feel worse about myself. A favorite blogger might be traipsing around Italy, meanwhile I'm sitting on the couch in sweatpants.
It's important to sometimes put the phone/computer/tablet down. Take a break from emails, the news, and social media. This weekend, instead, I picked up a new book (The Secret Lives of Colour) and it's felt entirely refreshing to take in some printed text.
| Get in a Workout |
Nothing clears my mind and wipes away my anxiety like a good workout. It almost feels like my stress exits my body through the sweat. I never want to go to the gym, but I always feel so good afterwards - physically and mentally.
This weekend, I visited one of my favorite gyms, 1Rebel, for a morning spin class. The music, the dark lighting, and the tough workout cleared my head and made me feel more refreshed than I'd felt all week. Finished with a chocolate, peanut butter, vegan protein smoothie, it was a perfect Saturday morning.
| Eat Whole Foods (at the table) |
Anyone else find that they eat on the couch, in front of a screen more times than not? I have a terrible habit of having dinner this way most weeknights. And a few times this week, I've simply just not eaten a proper meal at all (hello chocolate for lunch).
Friday evening, I stocked up on a few healthy staples - avocado, whole grain bread, greens - and made an effort to prepare myself nice meals that nourish, rather than just quick ones that usually don't.
This meant avocado toast for breakfast (when normally I'd have a breakfast bar) and fixing my favorite salad for a couple of meals - a simple one that's just butter lettuce, parmesan shavings, pistachios and a drizzle of walnut oil.
Eaten at the table (not the desk or the couch) makes the meal feel special and helps me to be present and actually savor the food and the moment.
| Get Some Fresh Air |
Typically my day is spent indoors - whether it's in my apartment, the office, or a tube station. And when I'm outside, it's usually walking between those and surrounded by smog.
It's feels suffocating at times, as growing up I was always surrounded by greenery, and vacations were typically camping trips in the mountains. I find that being outside in nature, just like a workout, helps to clear my mind.
If I'm in a rut, sometimes just a walk in a park can bring me much-needed clarity and fresh air just feels, well...refreshing.
This weekend, I decided to go out to seek some air. It was a rainy day, but the rain just made the trip outside all the more refreshing. I walked through a park in a suburb of London and took the time to snap photos of blooms that looked even better with a few dewdrops. And I certainly made a point to breath in the clean(er) air.
| Do Something You Love |
Many times, I put my needs last. I tend to prioritize others - whether it's my cats or work or something else - before myself. I've traveled enough where I should really know to 'secure my own mask before assisting others' but sometimes I forget that being my best is what's best for others.
On Saturday, after my spin class, I decided to do what I normally wouldn't - get off the tube a few stops early and do a spot of shopping at my favorite store - it's not something I typically let myself do (it's a hectic spot that others don't tend to enjoy and it involves spending money, which I'm trying to do less of), but it can be a real treat.
I bypassed the clothes in favor of a new book (above) and a candle, and took a scenic bus ride home (rather than hopping back underground).
Here's to an upcoming week that's now feeling a bit more manageable.
Until next time,