Prioritise your mental health

12 October 2020 | Health

With over 35 million posts tagged #selfcare on Instagram, it’s clear that we’re more aware than ever of the trend to take time out for wellbeing.

But how many of us actually put “self-care” into practice?

“Self-care isn’t just about treating or pampering ourselves on the odd Sunday when we have some spare time – it’s finding what we need from a mental and emotional perspective to show up as our best selves in our daily lives. And it plays an important role in combatting stress and anxiety,” says Marjolize Scholtz, FNB Wellness Specialist.

She points out that when lockdown hit, many were forced to slow down, but it also brought on a unique set of stressors.

“Some of us may even feel like we’re working harder than ever– and burnout is a real thing. It is a state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion caused by prolonged periods of stress – and has been labelled as an actual syndrome by the World Health Organisation, which will officially come into effect as of January 2022. Remember, burnout isn’t something that happens suddenly – it creeps in over time, which is why practising self-care is so important,” Scholtz explained.

To mark World Mental Health Day which was on Saturday 10 October, Scholtz shared some pointers on how to practice self-care. She emphasised that self-care is something that looks different for everyone and provided five tips that could work for individuals.

1.Plan it. Self-care is not something you just stumble upon. At first it might not be easy to know what works for you, so try a few different things to discover, what will take the edge off.

2.Prioritise it. You’re making an active choice to do something that’s good for your mental health, so give it the priority it needs. Schedule it into your week, like you would an important meeting.

3.Be conscious. During your self-care sessions, be conscious of how you feel, what you perceive, and note how you feel afterwards.

4.Make small changes to your daily life. Introduce self-care into your daily routine through healthy habits. Most people can improve their bedtime routine, or perhaps you want to make your diet more nourishing to give you more energy.

5.Let go of things that do not serve you. Make a list of things that do not add value to your life, or sap your energy. If you know that checking your emails at night will leave you stressed and disrupt your sleep, place a time cap on mails and social media. Also, rethink your social interactions. Instead of meeting your buddy for a drink, plan a hike or walk that you know will leave you feeling invigorated.

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