9 ways to practice self care

Originally published on The Running Bug

Stressed out, overwhelmed, struggling to cope? If you’re starting to feel like the world is spinning out of control and you want to get off, now is the time to take a step back, breathe deeply and practice some self-care. Not sure where to start? Follow our 9 steps to self-care and learn how to love yourself.

9. Make time for yourself

It sounds like an obvious one, but it’s all too easy to forgo your own needs in favour of work, family and life admin. Make some time for yourself each week to do something that you love.

From running, to knitting to reading a book, just one hour a week of ‘me time’ will attribute to warm feelings of self-love and in turn make it easier for you to give love to those around you.

8. Get cooking

Aside from the obvious health benefits of eating home cooked food, preparing a nice meal is an important aspect of self-care and will make you feel like you’re looking after yourself.

Cooking is also an ideal time to practice mindfulness, as you need to concentrate on the job at hand. So play your favourite tunes, put some time aside to experiment in the kitchen and then sit down to enjoy the fruits of your labour. For culinary inspiration head over to our recipe section

7. Practice mindfulness

The hot new hipster buzzword, mindfulness is about more than mere meditation and can enrich your life on a day-to-day basis. In short, anxiety and stress stems from worrying about the past or fretting about the future. Mindfulness involves focusing fully on the present moment and enjoying the simple pleasures of the here and now.

Social media and the TV may be full of bad news, but if you take a moment to breathe deeply and look at the world around you, you might just find it’s a beautiful place. If you’re not sure where to start, download headspace.com

6. Embrace the morning

In the winter months it’s tempting to snatch as much sleep as you can, but embracing the early mornings will work wonders for your mood and in turn your sense of self. Set your alarm 30 minutes early to enjoy a relaxing cup of coffee or head out for a bracing run.

Morning exercise will boost your mood for the day ahead and it can also make you feel accomplished, organised, satisfied, relaxed and much more positive about life. Read more about the benefits of morning running

5. Get outside

While we always advocate a good run to heal all ails, just being outside can be enough to de-stress the mind. Walking won’t provide the same intensity as running, but you will still benefit from the fresh air, sunlight and natural surroundings.

Spending time around trees has been linked to stress reduction, so hit the park, breathe deeply and let Mother Nature work her magic.

4. Digital detox

Social media can be stressful at the best of times. If the current online climate is starting to get to you and you’re struggling to cope, switch off all the appliances in your life. Even 60 minutes off-line will calm your nerves, decrease your cortisol levels and make your mood more manageable.

Like most of life’s stresses, social media causes us to panic about things we cannot control. Centering yourself and focusing on the here and now as opposed to stresses in the big wide world will work wonders for your anxiety.

3. Phone a friend

If you’re suffering from anxiety and feeling overwhelmed, you may be tempted to isolate yourself to get through the tough time alone. But employing the support of friends and family is not only beneficial to your mood; being around loved ones can actually help reduce your stress levels.

Having a laugh with friends or being close to those you care about will also take the edge off and stop you worrying about things you cannot control. Here’s why running buddies are the best

2. Write a gratitude list

Write down all the things you are grateful for today. This can be anything from your tasty lunch, to your partner, to a stranger offering you a seat on the tube. By actively stating what you are grateful for it will shift your mindset from stressed or anxious to focussing on the positives, and in turn add to important feelings of self-love.

1. Go for a soul run

If you’re deep in marathon training or focusing on improving your speed, even running can start to feel stressful at times. Switch off your phone, leave your gadgets behind and head for the nearest patch of green. Run at your happy pace, taking time to enjoy the natural world around you, and ignore any time or distance constraints.

Adding the odd soul run into your running routine will not damage your training schedule and will work wonders for your peace of mind and your sense of self-care. Enjoy yourself, you deserve it.