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Six simple ways to bring self-care into your daily life

Beyond Blue defines mental health as a state of well-being where individuals can cope with the normal stresses of life and contribute to their community. There have been a lot of additional stresses in the past two and a half years, so it’s no surprise that the latest ABS statistics show that one in five people (21.4 per cent) experienced a mental disorder in 2020-21, with anxiety the most prevalent concern, followed by depression.

We all know it’s important to look after our mental health, but sometimes, in the rush and busyness of life, we forget or find it hard to make time.

Whether it’s moving more or eating well, here are six simple ways, provided by Paul McCann from Endeavour College of Natural Health, to insert some self-care into daily life and take better care of ourselves and those around us.

Check-in with yourself

The first step in any kind of care routine is to recognise what you need. This requires a mindful approach to checking in with ourselves and reconnecting to see where we’re at. There are many distractions in our busy lives, and we’re often running on autopilot to juggle all our responsibilities. So, take a moment, stop everything, put the devices down and take some deep breaths. Quiet the mind and ask yourself what you really need right now. Check-in with how you’ve been feeling over the last couple of days – is there a running theme like being tired, irritable, or maybe pushing yourself too hard? If so, what could be the antidote – do you need to rest, or maybe there’s an underlying emotion that is asking for your attention?

First, take the time to recognise, and the next step is even more important – to accept without judgement and then act on it.

Get moving!

Movement, in whatever form works for you, is a celebration of your body and all it is capable of – however free or limited it may be. Many people look at movement or exercise as a chore, something they know they ‘should’ be doing, rather than something they want to do. Our bodies are capable of so much more than we think. We just need to get out of our own way – or out of our heads – and do what our bodies are built for – movement!

What small way could you start moving? Research has shown us that even walking 30 mins a day can have massive positive impacts on both our mental and physical health. So start with 10 or 15 minutes and work your way up. Small gains are the focus.

What’s on your plate?

We need nutritious food to sustain us and help us thrive. In our busy lives, it’s often the one area that can be overlooked for the sake of ease and timing. Good nutrition has such a massive impact on our long-term health that it’s worth investing more time and attention. Once again, a mindful approach is so helpful here. The act of eating is nurturing but can sometimes be driven by emotional factors. Take a moment to reflect on your current eating habits. Are there habits you’ve formed, like having more coffee, or sugar, or certain foods or times of the day or night that your eating is driven by some motivating or emotional factor? The key is not to judge yourself but to recognise and act on it in a positive and supportive way that is best for your wellbeing.

If learning more about nutrition interests you, why not explore Endeavour College’s Bachelor of Health Science (Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine)?

Sleep hygiene

How amazing do you feel after a good sleep? Sleep quality supports our health and wellbeing in many ways. ‘Sleep hygiene refers to our habits, behaviours and environmental factors that can be adjusted to improve sleep. The quality of your sleep will affect many of the other self-care behaviours so it’s an important area. Regularity in sleeping patterns helps your body adjust to a healthy sleep/wake rhythm. An uncluttered bedroom that’s free of electronic devices lets your subconscious mind know that the bedroom is primarily for sleeping. Calming colours, fresh air, and clean bed linen all support a good night’s sleep.

Feed your spirit

Feed your spirit in whatever form works for you that is nurturing, restorative and impactful on your sense of wellbeing. Small amounts practised regularly are better than none at all, so take small steps to begin any new routine. The 5% principle is so helpful here. Making just a 5% change in some way will add up over time. All self-care is healthiest when it includes a focus on giving and supporting others. It’s like we must first turn inwards to feed our own body and spirits, to give more fully to those around us – whether that be family, friends, work or social connections.

Get help when you need it

Mental health is at the centre of everything – our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing.  We know that taking care of our mental health is important, but something that’s just as important is knowing when to get some help. If you’re feeling down or struggling with your mental health, don’t bottle it up – reach out to someone you’re comfortable talking to whether it’s a friend, a professional or any of the resources available online, in person via email, or phone, including Beyond Blue, Lifeline and Headspace. You are not alone – there are people who want to listen to you and try to help.

Paul McCann

Paul McCann

Paul McCann, from Endeavour College of Natural Health, is a qualified Myotherapist, Remedial Massage Therapist, and Meditation and Mindfulness Teacher who shares meditation sessions on the Insight Timer app (the #1 app for sleep, anxiety and stress).

Endeavour College of Natural Health is the largest private Higher Education provider of natural medicine courses in the Southern Hemisphere. They provide Bachelor of Health Science degrees in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine, Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Therapies, Diplomas and Undergraduate Certificates, and a suite of Short Courses.

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Six simple ways to bring self-care into your daily life