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What is Self-Care Week and how can it encourage us to look after ourselves better? MindWell team member Gillian shares wellbeing tips and resources to help make self-care part of our daily lives.

November has arrived and with Self-Care Week just around the corner, now is the perfect time to think about what self-care means to you. For me, self-care means focusing on my wellbeing.

Sometimes it’s written as wellbeing, sometimes well being or well-being. It means the same. The Cambridge online dictionary says it’s the “state of feeling healthy and happy”.

What does wellbeing and self-care mean to you?

Being well, healthy and happy means different things to different people. Some find self-care easy, while others struggle to prioritise their wellbeing.

Take a moment to think about the self-care activities you may already do – and those you want to do. Why not write a list or make a note on your phone? You could even journal or draw your thoughts, or talk it over with a friend or loved one.

Try to identify what feels good and what you do (or choose not to do) that contributes towards your wellbeing, overall health and happiness.

How can MindWell help?

The theme for Self-Care Week this year is ‘mind and body’, a reminder that that looking after both our mental and physical health is vital for overall wellbeing. Our wellbeing section on MindWell has lots of ideas for taking care of your body and mind, including:

  • sleeping well
  • exercise
  • eating well
  • mindfulness
  • connecting with nature
  • creativity
  • relaxation
  • using self-help tools and techniques
  • planning time for self-care

Do any of those categories spark ideas for your wellbeing list? Remember to include wellbeing at work, volunteering or during your time in college or university.

However you choose to create your self-care list, try to highlight the activities that are vital for your health and happiness, such as drinking enough water, getting a good night’s sleep or talking to friends and family. You can call these your ‘wellbeing essentials’.

How I embrace wellbeing

On my wellbeing list, I’ve broken down activities into smaller self-care categories, such as mind, body, practical and social. My essential activities are in bold, so I remember to include them every day, whenever possible.

When I’m not feeling good, I know it’s time to look at the plan and see what I might be missing. Have I been getting enough sleep this week? Did I take a moment to step outside and get some fresh air? My list can also remind me to make time to talk to a friend, book a GP appointment or plan some days off work.

For example, my ‘mind’ section includes self-compassion as an essential in bold alongside:

  • using affirmations or positive statements
  • mindfulness
  • being grateful
  • using self-help tools
  • writing in my journal
  • reminding myself of all the things I’ve done recently
  • looking for nice/good things each day
  • meditating
  • seeking support/someone to talk to

I may not do all of these every day, but I know they have a positive effect and help in some way. So, if I’m missing them out completely… well, then it’s time to prioritise self-care time!

Recently, I’ve added a few items to my categories that I should avoid, such as rushing for no reason, taking on too much at once, or agreeing to things I genuinely don’t want to do. Keeping these reminders handy, whether digitally or visually, has really helped me build healthy habits and take better care of my mind and body.

One of my favourite MindWell resources is the sensory comfort kit we created earlier this year. Using my different senses to help me feel calmer and more relaxed is really good for my wellbeing.

Is it important to add self-care to your everyday life?

It can feel like the world is full of sadness, worry and stress right now, but planning time for self-care for our mind and body can help us feel resilient and stay as well as possible. Plus, with a little planning, we can look after ourselves in ways that don’t cost lots of money.

Being well isn’t just important for you; it positively impacts your family, studies, worklife, and those around you. Prioritising self-care is therefore essential for everyone.

Whatever you put on your wellbeing list, make sure you include ‘having fun’, doing things you enjoy or being silly with your loved ones, whether they’re your kids, pets, or friends. Spending time doing the things you love, whether it’s watching your favourite films or TV shows, singing and dancing to pop classics, or splashing through puddles in your wellies is time spent giving your mind and body a boost. Definitely important for self-care!

So, to sum up: self-care is not a luxury; it’s essential. Take time for yourself during Self-Care Week and beyond. It doesn’t have to be anything extreme or cost a lot of money; just do what makes you happy. Your wellbeing matters, and it’s a gift to yourself and those around you. Enjoy the little things and remember to have fun. Here’s to a week of self-love and wellbeing, and may it be the beginning of a happier, healthier you.

Explore MindWell’s wellbeing section, for self-care ideas, ways to look after your physical health and lots more.

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