Nurturing emotional and physical wellbeing during hard times
In today's world, many of us grapple with stress, anxiety, and overwhelm. This is compounded by the almost constant barrage of bad news shared by the media and online.
It's crucial to prioritise our emotional and physical well-being, ensuring that in hard times this doesn't get relegated to the bottom of the list because we are time-poor or simply feeling too drained.
Here are some ways to look after yourself and bring you some calm.
Tips to nurture your emotional and physical well-being
**Breathe for balance**
To alleviate stress and regain composure during emotional turbulence, practice the art of conscious breathing. One easy technique is to breathe in for four counts and out for six counts. You only need to do four rounds to start feeling the benefits.
**Meditation for emotional equilibrium**
Meditation is a time-tested tool for emotional stability. By embracing meditation, you gain insight into your emotions and thought patterns. This self-awareness empowers you to manage negative feelings, anxiety, and depression. Try mindfulness or loving-kindness meditation for emotional resilience. There are many free practices you can try on YouTube or the Insight app.
**Yoga for physical wellness**
Getting on your yoga mat and engaging in a regular yoga practice strengthens your body, releases tension, connects you back to your center, and helps reset your nervous system. Of course, it doesn't have to be on a mat. I start my day with a few poses in my bed before I roll into the shower. PJ yoga works too.
It can be tempting to reach for the chocolate when things are tough. I'll be the first to say that sometimes curling up and munching on your favorite bar, or perhaps a big bowl of ice cream, is the best thing to nurture your soul. But make sure you also pay attention to your diet and nurture yourself with nutrient-rich foods too. It helps to boost your immune system, which is needed to support you when you are facing tough times.
**Read your body**
Tune into your body's signals. Physical fatigue may signal emotional exhaustion, while emotional distress can manifest physically. Listen to what your body is trying to tell you with these cues and find ways to respond appropriately.
Well-being isn't a solo endeavor. Cultivating a robust support network is essential during tough times. Connect with like-minded individuals and loved ones to nurture a sense of belonging and comfort.
**Adaptability and self-compassion**
Challenging times call for adaptability and self-compassion. Don't be afraid to adjust your routines to suit your emotional state. Remember, self-care is highly personalized, and what you need can change from day to day. Right now, I don't need to add to my 'activity list,' but I do need to find times when I can simply stop and do NOTHING, even if it is for 10 minutes.
**Seek professional help when needed**
There are situations where professional assistance is important and needed. Don't hesitate to consult mental health experts or medical professionals if your emotional and physical well-being is at risk.
Make self-care happen
Here are three practical ways to make self-care happen, even when you feel you don't have time, there are more important priorities or you are just overwhelmed.
**Schedule self-care sessions in your diary**
Just as you schedule work meetings and appointments, block off specific time slots for self-care in your calendar. Treat these slots with the same level of commitment. Whether it's 15 minutes of meditation, a 30-minute yoga session, or an hour of reading, having dedicated time ensures you won't overlook self-care amidst a busy day.
**Break self-care into small steps**
If time is an issue, break your self-care into smaller, manageable activities. Instead of an hour-long workout, aim for three 10-minute movement sessions throughout the day. This could be dancing to your favorite song in the lounge, a walk down the street, or a slow flow on your yoga mat. It doesn't have to be complicated; keeping it simple can often be the key. You can also incorporate mindfulness into daily tasks, like taking a few minutes for deep breathing or practicing gratitude during your commute.
**Prioritise and delegate**
To make room for self-care, evaluate your daily tasks and responsibilities. Identify activities that can be delegated or eliminated. Delegating tasks to family members or colleagues can free up time for self-care without compromising your productivity. Prioritise what truly matters, and let go of less essential commitments.
Remember that self-care is not selfish; it's an investment in your overall health and resilience. By making it a priority and integrating it into your busy life through scheduling, breaking it into smaller steps, and efficient time management, you can ensure that self-care remains a consistent part of your routine.
When I am feeling guilty, time-poor, or overwhelmed with what feels like yet another thing to do, I remember this quote.
'Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you want to become.' - James Clear, Atomic Habits.
I love it so much I have it on my phone's screensaver to remind me of it.
I hope these ideas help you find practices and techniques that work for you and they bring you a little more calm and peace.