5 Top Self Care Tips to Remember this Christmas!

Mental well-being refers to “feeling good about yourself and the world around you”. In order to achieve and maintain good well-being, there are steps of self-care we can implement. These steps of self-care are often discussed in relation to 5 key areas.

In this blog, I will discuss the key 5 areas and how we can ensure we are looking after ourselves and others over Christmas!

1. Connect

Having strong social relationships are crucial to maintaining good mental well-being.  There is evidence to suggest that being around others with a strong mental well-being can improve your own! Yes – positive thoughts and feelings are contagious!! You never know who is having a hard time and the little things such as a simple “how are you?” could make a world of difference!

Spending time to reconnect with loved ones and making efforts to connect with new people encourages a feeling of support and reassurance, which we all need at some time or another. Building relationships promotes a sense of belonging and self-worth; a community of people we can rely on and share our life experiences with.  

What to do this Christmas?
  • Switch off the electronics and spend time with your loved ones
  • Make time to meet up with those friends you haven’t seen in a while
  • Have a chat with someone new
  • Instead of texting that person, give them a call & really listen to how they are!

2. Be Active

What we do with our bodies can have a very powerful effect on our mind. Exercise causes the brain to releases strong chemicals, known as endorphins. Endorphins help to improve mood and are associated with feelings of positivity and happiness. Exercise is a great way to relieve the body of tension and encourages the mind to focus on something other than the stressors in everyday life.

It is important to find a physical activity that you enjoy and can easily fit into your everyday life. Avoid setting an unrealistic target. For example, going to the gym 5 times a week. If you’re not a gym bunny, it may be difficult to maintain.

Instead this Christmas you could try:
  • Going for an evening stroll.
  • Cycling.
  • Walk to the shop rather than jumping in the car.
  • Ditch the escalators & take the stairs!
  • Find that spark again – cast your mind back and find activities you used to enjoy and plan how you could incorporate these back into your life!

3. Learn, learn, learn!

Learning is not something which is restricted to our childhood. Infact, evidence indicates that learning new skills in adulthood is linked to increased life satisfaction and optimism.  As we learn a new skill, our confidence begins to grow and as a result self-esteem is boosted! Additionally, if we learn alongside others, e.g. attend a new class, our social network continues to grow which continues to promote a healthy mental well-being.

Christmas is a very busy period and it can be hard to find time to attend a “formal” course! You could try:
  • Taking a family trip to a museum and learn new things together.
  • Reading a new book.
  • Watching a documentary.
  • Christmas gatherings are the perfect time to chat to relatives and share stories and build on each others knowledge and interests.
  • Reflect on what you have previously found interesting, can you expand on this and learn more?

4. Giving

When we complete kind tasks, physiological changes occur in the brain which improves mood and promotes feelings of happiness.

Individuals who engage regularly in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy. Taking part in a meaningful activity contributes to self-esteem growth and comptenance. Moreover, volunteering and helping those less fortunate can give really help us to put our own problems into perspective and could change the way we view our personal situations.

Remember: acts of kindness do not need to be a grand gesture, sometimes just holding a door open for someone when their hands full is enough! Small acts of kindness can also impact the community in a positive way! If you do something nice for someone, they may feel inspired to do the same.

Ideas of Giving over Christmas:
  • Donate your clothes, toys and book to local charities.
  • Make a visit to a local food bank.
  • Volunteer.
  • Lend a hand to a stranger who has one too many bags.
  • Pass on that day saver ticket you no longer need!
  • Share a smile :-)

I’m sure you have all heard of the Elf on the Shelf, but this Christmas I have seen more and more homes receiving visits from the ‘Kindness Elves’. The Kindness Elves visit children and encourage them to do kind and helpful tasks everyday, such as: sharing with others, donating toys, making Christmas boxes and so much more!    

I love this idea and think it’s a wonderful Christmas tradition which teaches the little ones about the importance of giving to others whilst getting the rest of the family involved too!

5. Being Present

It is so easy to become caught up checking our phones, emails and tie ourselves up in knots thinking about what’s already happened or what could happen in the future!

Over Christmas, take time to be present in the moment. Becoming more aware and in tune with your body and feelings is more commonly known as ‘mindfulness’. Practising mindfulness can alter your perspective and provides you with strategies to help you deal with challenges when they arise.

Remember: self care is not selfish! When we take the time to look after ourselves, we will grow in confidence and happiness and will be better equipped to help out others too! Have a wonderful Christmas & New Year!

Emily Woodhouse

Specialist Speech and Language Therapist

Recently graduated from Newcastle University, Emily is passionate about working with pupils with SEN, especially PMLD. She also strives to raise the profile of lesser known SLCN conditions.

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