MindWell team member Gillian explores ways to look after our wellbeing and bring self-care into every day.

The head and shoulders of a smiling pink person with question marks floating near their head

Do you ever find yourself dealing with a headache or stiff muscles? Or feel tired and think ‘more caffeine!’. Aches, creaky joints, tiredness, sore eyes or some physical grumble we can’t quite put our finger on… we all get them from time to time. I know I do.

Sometimes there’s a physical reason why I feel like this – a strain if I’ve lifted a heavy box, a dodgy tum when I’ve eaten something that didn’t agree with me, a sniffle when the tree pollens levels are high in Spring.

And sometimes I don’t know why my body doesn’t feel its best.

One action that helps me is checking in with myself. In mindfulness or meditation it might be called a body scan, when we take a moment to notice each part of our body, scanning ourselves from head to toe (or toe to head).

I usually ask myself:

  • Is there any pain?
  • Am I holding any tension in my shoulders, neck or jaw?
  • Am I squinting or frowning?
  • How am I sitting or standing?
  • Do I feel tired?
  • Am I hungry or thirsty?

I don’t have to take action right then. Sometimes it’s just helpful to notice where and how I feel discomfort. I can check in again later in the day to see if it’s changed.

But sometimes there are little things I can do to help myself, such as get a drink of water, stretch my shoulders and arms, self-massage my head and face or walk around the house or garden for a few minutes. Sometimes I think about making wider changes, such as creating a better night time routine to help me sleep well or getting more fresh air and taking time outside to help me feel energised.

I think my body is usually pretty good at telling me when I’m lacking in something or doing too much of something else. How about you? Why not try checking in with yourself today?

If you need somewhere to start, our MindWell resources can help. Why not try being mindful or going for a mindful walk? You could also read about finding ways to relax or try some exercise at home.

For information about things like tension headaches, pain and stiffness, don’t forget that the NHS website has lots of information, including how to help yourself and when to seek medical advice.