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3 Steps to Improve Your Self-Care and Wellbeing

Self-care is an ongoing journey, not a static moment. There are times in life when we forget to focus on it or we get distracted by the ‘busy’ stuff of life. Having awareness and taking small steps to get back on track makes a huge difference to our quality of life. It’s just like exercise. The more of a routine we have, the easier it becomes. Self-care helps us cope when life is challenging by improving brain function, physical health, and contributing to positive shifts in mood and good mental health.

Most of us know that self-care has extensive wellbeing benefits, so why then is it such a challenge to prioritise?

Perhaps the problem is that we view self-care as an aspirational goal that is reserved for leftover time as opposed to a survival imperative that needs attention and deliberate planning.

Here are 3 things we can do to prioritise self-care in our lives that will prevent and help manage feelings of overwhelm when things get tough.

1. Make an effort to notice things you are already doing for self-care.

Put a lens on your self-care successes and recognise that you are already taking steps to care for yourself, and then congratulate yourself. We spend a lot of time thinking about what we can do better and blaming ourselves for not doing enough.

Here are some examples of things you may already be doing:

  • Taking breaks (even if small)

  • Listening to music

  • Exercising and moving your body

  • Appreciating your garden and the environment

  • Taking time out from others

  • Working on a hobby like crafts, bird watching or cooking

  • Reading books, magazines and newspapers

  • Chatting to friends or relatives

  • Grooming - getting your haircut or having a manicure

  • Medical maintenance (medical and dental check-ups)

2. Build resilience

If you find that you have not yet found your self-care balance here are some ideas to consider. To make your changes sustainable, include things that you like doing which will easily slot into your current lifestyle. Self care shouldn’t feel like a chore.

TIP: - Add one new thing at a time to test its sustainability and remember self-care is an imperative

Simple self-care resilience building ideas
  • Do something creative - paint, play an instrument, learn pottery, create mosaics

  • Connect with others - join a club, share a meal, connect with an online community

  • Move around a little - dance, do yoga, take the dog for a walk

  • Listen to music that brightens your day - your favourite all time band

  • Find a new interest or learn something new - take a short course or join an interest group

  • Find purpose and meaning - volunteer with a local organisation

  • Take time for moments of self gratitude - do affirmations, focus on your strengths

  • Take time for moment of gratitude of others - write a gratitude letter, tell someone why you love them

  • Find time for meditation, relaxation and grounding exercises

  • Spend some time with a pet

3. Create a self-care emergency tool kit

Sometimes, no matter how much we prepare or build up resilience, there are some life moment that trigger intense feelings of overwhelm. In these instances, your brain will need help to regulate feelings and behaviours.

Everyone is different and will therefore need unique strategies and tools to aid regulation. Designing your toolkit should ideally be done in moments of calm so that the techniques are considered and work for you. Importantly, try to have fun when designing your own emergency self-care toolkit.

Easy self care-emergency tool kit ideas
  • Objects that you can touch to self soothe - e.g. a stress ball, a smooth pebble, a fidget toy

  • Music that helps you unwind and relax - create a playlist that helps you

  • Meditation, relaxation or mindfulness techniques that have worked for you before

  • Scents or smells that are calming - essential oils, candles, incense

  • A journal or notebook to write down your thoughts and feelings

  • Books, poems or other writings that soothe you

  • Mindfulness colouring books to help you focus your attention

  • A favourite childhood memory (photo or prompt)

  • A weighted blanket to create a sense of security

  • Make a cup of herbal tea or a soothing hot drink

Taking the time to include self-care in your life is a strong defence during overwhelming life


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