Failing to take a break and set aside some ‘me time’ can leave us feeling overloaded and anxious.
According to the Mental Health Foundation’s 2018 study, 74 per cent of people have become overwhelmed with feelings of stress over the last year. Long working hours, a busy lifestyle and worries about issues like relationships and money can lead to us neglecting ourselves and feeling burnt out.
This week (Nov 11 to 18) is Self Care Week, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of looking after your mental health by taking part in positive activities like exercise, healthy eating, relaxation and mindfulness.
At La-Z-Boy, we think taking time to relax and unwind after a hectic day is key to feeling happy and lowering stress levels.
Here is our guide to making space for more me time in your life:
It’s easy to make everything else more of a priority than looking after yourself. But self care is vital for both your physical and mental health and if you become ill, it will be even harder to tackle the tasks you do view as important. Change the way you look at relaxing or taking part in activities you enjoy. Instead of feeling guilty and focusing on the other things you should be doing, view it as essential life maintenance to keep yourself on an even keel and recharge your batteries. Build some me time into your daily routine and don’t feel you need to justify it or apologise for it.
Set aside time at least once a week to do an activity purely because you enjoy it. This could be taking up a new hobby, starting a course for fun or you may want to revisit an activity you used to do when you were young. It doesn’t have to be anything ambitious, you could simply go for a walk, take a long bath or spend the afternoon binge-watching your favourite TV series. The key is to give yourself a block of time every week where you forget about work and family commitments, turn off your phone and do something you love that is just for you.
A common reason people give for not practising self care is simply not having enough time in the day. Try setting your alarm clock an hour earlier and spend this extra time on yourself. You may just want to have a cup of tea and read a magazine in peace or do some exercise. Researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that women who described themselves as early risers were less likely to become depressed. This doesn’t mean you should scrimp on your sleep though – aim to go to bed earlier too and allow yourself a decent amount of time for a good night’s sleep.
Saying no when others ask us to do something can be a challenge and we can often end up committing ourselves to things we’d rather not do out of a sense of duty. Politely saying no to other people can free up valuable time to look after yourself. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t help others but weigh up what you can realistically manage and try not to take on too many commitments.