Top Tips for Taking Care of Yourself

When life is challenging and work is hectic, we can get so caught up we don’t stop to think about what our bodies and minds really need. Most of us could probably do with treating ourselves a bit better.

So for Wellbeing Week 2019, we’ve come up with ten ways to love yourself a little more from now on, no matter how busy you are.

1. Eat, Drink, Sleep, Repeat

Get these basics right first. You only get out of your body what you put in. So try to eat a good diet, don’t skip meals, drink plenty of water and try to get around eight hours of sleep a night. Your body and mind need these things to keep you at your peak – so give them a hand.

2. Wake up gently

Bounding out of bed as soon as your alarm goes off, knowing you have to get out of the house as quickly as possible is not the best way to start your day. If you can, set your alarm a little earlier and give yourself the chance to wake up slowly – maybe even after hitting snooze. If that’s hard, try going to bed a little earlier! When you do get up, take a minute to stretch out and loosen up your muscles before you start running around.

3. Slow down

What’s your hurry? Stop rushing everywhere. Unless you genuinely have a need to be somewhere right now, stop worrying about having to wait in a queue, or getting caught in traffic. Getting agitated about it won’t make it go any faster, but it will make you more stressed. Try to chill out a little and be more patient. Stop and smell the roses. You’ll feel better for it.

4. Get some exercise

Activity is obviously good for your physical health, but it’s also good for your mental health. Exercise clears your body of stress hormones that build up in your system. They can make you feel tired and stiff, as well as making it difficult to concentrate – so try to get out for a walk, run, cycle or swim if you can make the time.

5. Laugh

Lots of studies have shown that laughter is good for your physical and mental health. [1] So if you’re feeling low, watch a good sitcom or a funny movie, see a stand-up comedian or even listen to a comedy podcast. Do something that makes you laugh until you cry – your face might hurt, but the rest of you will feel great.

6. Rock out

Listen to your favourite music, sing along and even dance, if you can. It’s a great way to let off steam and put you in a good mood. And the dancing is good exercise, too! If you’re stuck in traffic (see point 3), crank up some great tunes and sing at the top of your voice – what else are you going to do while you wait?

7. Take a break

You can only work intensely for so long before your mind becomes fatigued. Taking a little break helps keep you mentally fresh. Often, it’s during a break from thinking about a problem that the solution presents itself. It’s also good for your eyes to take them off a screen and look at something further away at least once every 20 minutes.

Giving yourself breaks helps keep your energy up, so you can be more productive when you are working. In fact, there’s even science that says power naps are a great way to boost performance in the afternoon…[2]

8. Make lists

At the end of the day, make a to-do list for tomorrow, so you’re not trying to keep everything in your head. Once it’s written down somewhere, you can forget about it, because you’re not going to forget about it! Use your phone or computer calendar to set reminders for things as soon as they come up, if you can. Basically, use the tools you have to remove the stress of trying to keep too much in your head. The security of knowing you’ve got everything under control will be reassuring and relaxing.

9. Put yourself in someone else’s shoes

Many people expect more of themselves than they would expect of anyone else, and berate themselves when they inevitably come up short.

So think about what you’d say to someone else in your exact situation. If your best friend was trying to achieve everything you’re trying to do under the same circumstances, and was beating themself up for failing, what would you say to them? Would you agree that they’re just not trying hard enough, or would you tell them they’re doing OK, all things considered? A
recent study showed that always ‘going the extra mile’ is not actually a good thing. [3]

10. Stop the ‘shoulds’

One of the biggest things that drags people down is the difference between where they are and where they think they should be.

The next time you think to yourself “I should…”, stop and ask yourself “according to whom?” Often, the only person putting this expectation on you is you – so stop fretting about not meeting an arbitrary (and often ridiculous) standard you’ve internalised – you’re probably just setting yourself up to fail.

11. Treat yourself

All right, it’s number 11 out of 10, but that’s deliberate, because it’s OK to do something just because you want to, sometimes. Lie on the sofa and watch a box set, buy a tub of ice cream, have a bubble bath or order a takeaway for dinner, just because it makes you happy. Don’t feel guilty about indulging and being selfish now and again – it’s good for your mental health, and we all need to relax in order to be at our best the rest of the time!

[1] Dr. Cynthia Thalk, ‘Why Laughing Is Good for Your Health’ (14 January 2014). Available at: (14 January 2014).

[2] George Dvorsky, ‘The Science Behind Power Naps, and Why They’re So Damn Good for You’ (26 September 2013). Available at: (26 September 2013).

[3] Stephen Deery, Nicholas Kinnie, Bruce Rayton & Janet Walsh, ‘Always Going the Extra Mile at Work? Stop, It’s Not Helping You’ (30 January 2017). Available at: (30 January 2017).