For most of you, it's been half term, and I get that although there is a break in the homeschooling, there is no break from the kids and lockdowns—a challenge in itself at the minute. My incredible Neal's Yard team have been getting together at 9am each morning for a little self-care love, permitting us to take a break. So I thought it would be a good idea to share 6 Self-Care Secrets for health and happiness.
Making one small change in your day can lead to big results, so even if you can only find 10 minutes, it's worth investing a little time in yourself.
1. Lose yourself
What is the ley to living a long and happy life? Well, according to Maggie Pigott, Author of How to Age Joyfully, the answer lies in finding your creative flow. She says this is when a person is physically or mentally challenged while doing something they enjoy, like painting, or dancing. Once you are 'in the zone', you lose a sense of self and time, increasing your productivity and learning.
So get your favourite tune on, dance around your kitchen like nobody is watching, or do some creative rock painting with the kids. Just make it fun, and you'll find your creative flow in no time.
2. Put yourself first
Most of us find this really hard. Think about it: when was the last time you put yourself first? We have so many commitments to family, work, and friends that it can be tough creating space for ourselves. But finding time for yourself doesn't have to be another chore. It could be choosing the film you want to watch, or just taking half an hour to have a relaxing bath or read a book.
Whatever it is you would like to do, make sure you find some time to do it. You'll be amazed at how energised this can make you feel, and a whole lot younger too.
3. Take a deep breath
Studies show that 20 minutes of yoga breathing can lift your mood and even improve your memory.
Try this box breathing technique: Close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose while counting to four slowly. Hold your breath inside while counting slowly to four. Try not to clamp your mouth or nose shut. Begin to exhale for 4 seconds slowly. Repeat steps 1 to 3 at least three times.
4. Get your hands dirty
It's time to start thinking of your body like a finely tuned engine. If you don't use good quality fuel, you will not operate at your most efficient levels. Eating various vegetables provides essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, such as antioxidants and fibre, which our body needs to run properly.
And one study by Michigan State University found that adults who garden were more likely to eat their veggies than those who didn't. Plus, other studies show that green-fingered people are generally happier and healthier. So go on outside, get digging and fall in love with your vegetable patch.
5. Treat your feet
It's easy to take our feet for granted. We use them every day, but how often do you really look after them? As much as I am missing my reflexology treatments right now, all you need is a few minutes a day on foot care to make a difference.
Use a pumice stone in the shower to reduce the hard skin and cracked heels and then add some moisturiser before putting your socks on. Recently, I have been using the Bee Lovely Body Butter. It's creamier texture, and nourishing shea butter is perfect for dry heels, while the smell of organic honey and uplifting oranges lifts the spirits.
6. Practice Gratitude
Self-care is so much more than bubble baths, and it all begins with being thankful. Take a moment to stare up at the night sky, and give thanks for all you have. Say a prayer, keep a journal, meditate, or just talk to the stars – whatever works for you.
We may not be able to book our dream holiday or celebrate birthdays with a nice meal, but it reminds us to think about all the positive things we do have in our lives and provides a sense of purpose. Having a daily gratitude practice can have a significant impact on your mental health. When gratitude is the hardest to find, is when we need it the most – and isn't that what self-care is all about?
Self-Care is Self-Love