Around this time of year, the social calendars fill up, the work schedules become more hectic as we try to cram projects and meet deadlines before breaking up for the Christmas break – however long that might be - and physically or mentally we are running laps until we collapse into bed. It’s a lot. For many of us, it is second nature to put our work or family and friends’ needs far above our own. And what are the results? We become stressed, exhausted, ill and deflated at a time of year that is synonymous with joy!
As a nutritional therapist working in Manchester and Cheshire, I find that it is essential to take a holistic approach to health and happiness. It is so important to take time for ourselves. With that in mind, I want to share some really easy self-care tips which can be done during your working day and at home to help you find your piece of peace.
Self-Care Activity 1: Take a Break, Move and Stretch
In an article by Forbes contributor Noma Nazish, the problem with workplace stress and anxiety is outlined. Often we become so bogged down in ever-increasing piles of work that we can’t see wood for trees. It is crucial that when we recognise this, we get up from our desk, take a 5 minute break, make a cup of tea or nip outside for some fresh air; the time away from the computer screen or papers will help to clear the mind for productive work.
Self-Care Activity 2: Watch a Cute or Funny Video
When it all gets too much, any one of the viral videos featuring cute baby animals, or hilarious mishaps provides some light and delightful respite from stress. The positive effects these videos have on our approach to work and wellbeing is proven time and again. To learn more, take a look at this feature from BBC Radio 4 – it very conveniently features fluffy baby animals.
Self-Care Activity 3: Save Some Time for Physical Activity
For depression and anxiety, health professionals will most often suggest exercise for their patients – and there is good reason for this. Whether it’s an hour at the gym, a yoga class, or a brisk 30 minute walk, we can immediately benefit from a burst of physical activity. It isn’t only for the health of our bodies and the sense of achievement that we can enjoy during and after exercise. I imagine that endorphins, dopamine and serotonin aren’t new words to your ears. Naturally released whilst we exercise, these chemicals make us feel great and more relaxed.
Self-Care Activity 4: A No-Screen Hour Before Bed
Scrolling through our phones, watching television and online shopping are three of the most unhelpful things we can do for a good night’s sleep – yet so many of us fall into this habit. Without doubt, sleeping well is essential to be able to concentrate, remain level-headed and stay healthy amongst the madness of the festive season. The blue light from these screens blocks the body’s sleep-inducing hormones. Stopping screen time an hour before bed will be a huge bonus for your self-care this Christmastime. If you find you need to use your phone or laptop before bed, consider changing the screen brightness to a yellow “night mode”. Alternatively, why not try out a blue light protection screen, like these from Ocushield? In the meantime, you can find more helpful sleep tips here.
Self-Care Activity 5: No-Tech Activities
Following on from the point above, time away from screens – particularly if we spend all day looking at one – is really important and a fantastic way to do some self-care. The possibilities are endless for no-tech time. You could take a bath with some relaxing music and essential oils. How about reading the book that has been on your list all these years? If you have children, why not try a board game? Finding quality alone time, or time with the family away from technology will immediately reduce stress and give you the opportunity to enjoy the simple life.
Self-Care Activity 6: Support Your Body with Good Nutrition
When we are trying to juggle, well, everything, we often end up falling short on our nutrition. It might be that the kids come first, there’s too much work to do to take lunch, you don’t have time to cook, or you slept through your alarm; whatever it is, let me be the one to say that falling short on healthy, nutritious food is a cardinal sin when it comes to self-care. Nutritional meals and healthy snacks provide us with the physical and mental energy to survive the day – and the bustle of the season. It certainly doesn’t mean hours spent in the kitchen, in fact, you can find a great selection of my own delicious and nutritious recipes for easy and healthy meals and snacks here.
There you have it; 6 simple self-care activities which will support you at work and at home during this magical and hectic time of year. To learn more about how nutrition can truly transform your health, not just this Christmas but for all the years to come, get in touch today.