Self-care means different things to us all, but what most of us have in common is that we’re not doing enough of it.
A study by body care brand Sanctuary Spa found that 94% of UK women have benefitted from taking time out for themselves over the last six months, but even with that knowledge are struggling to give self-care enough attention.
On average, women are finding just 17 minutes each day when the ideal average time is near to an hour, as found by the research.
While neglecting self-care can be of detriment to wellbeing, too much of it can as well – so there’s a balance to strike.
But we’re often time-poor, so self-care is more likely to be neglected than over-indulged in.
Clinical psychologist Dr Julie tells Metro.co.uk: ‘For those who don’t have big blocks of time to spare it’s all about the small in-between moments.
‘The 15 minutes between meetings when you might otherwise check your emails. Or the 10 minutes waiting for a train when you scroll through social media.
‘Instead of using those moments to add stress to the brain, use those moments to step back from stress and rest the mind.
‘Walk outside, fix your gaze on the horizon ahead, take deeper, longer breaths and allow the mind to drift. Release the narrow focus.
‘Even small moments like this can give you a little recharge that allows you to lean back into stress with more energy and vitality.’
She adds that the small moments ‘add up’, and says if you aren’t convinced to consider how shockingly long your average screen time report seems each week – all of that comes from small moments which stacked up overtime.
So self-care doesn’t have to be a long bath or evening alone if that simply isn’t possible.
It’s much more of a functional necessity and is less glamorous than the Instagram wellness scene would have you believe.
Dr Julie asks you to consider where you have ‘dead time’, turning it into proactive moments.
If you’re still struggling to think about how self-care can be implemented into your routine, she shares her toolkit ‘for people with no time’.
- Reset every hour: Your brain cannot focus optimally for more than 90 minutes so every hour stand up and walk around. Run up the stairs or outside if you can. Just a minute or two helps.
- Change your breathing to calm anxiety or stress: Take deeper breaths and try to make the outbreath longer and more vigorous than the inbreath to calm the mind through the body.
- Try relaxation exercises: You might try non-sleep deep rest (NSDR), which can help you to feel revived without taking a whole day off.
- Realise what you actually enjoy: Something you enjoy is more likely to happen than something you dislike so pick something that you can look forward to each day. So if yoga fills you with dread, pick another way to find self-care.
- Make use of apps and videos online: Follow a 10-minute guided meditation online. You’ll be amazed at the difference just 10 minutes can make to the rest of your day.
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