I don’t really do New Year Resolutions as such but this year I promised myself I’d be more selfish in 2017. I, like many women, tend to put myself bottom of the to-do list behind the kids, The Other Half, work commitments, the dog, the house… With such busy lives it’s no wonder our own needs get shoved to the bottom of the pile. But what effect is this neglectful behaviour really having on us?
The combination of work deadlines, family responsibilities & parenting guilt make for a stressful mix. According to Healthline, stress can bring on symptoms such as irritability, depression & anxiety. Sound familiar? How about headaches and difficulty sleeping? Yeah, me too.
And the lack of sleep brings with it it’s own problems. As well as the general tiredness & difficulty concentrating, the NHS reports many physical issues brought on by not getting your 8 hours of shuteye every night. A poor immune system, low sex drive, weight gain, type 2 diabetes, fibromyalgia and fertility issues can all be linked to sleep deprivation.
So what can we do about it? Well, here’s a few things that I’m doing to reduce the stress and increase my wellbeing…
1. Say No
Whether it’s extra work responsibilities, a social engagement or baking for the PTA; if you’re struggling to find the time or the energy then just say no. Your physical & mental health are more important than impressing the school mums with your Pinterest-worthy cupcakes.
We’ve all heard the saying tidy house, tidy mind and in my experience there is certainly some truth in it. Set aside some time to de-clutter and get organised. It doesn’t have to be a full-on spring clean; just something as simple as clearing out your handbag or tidying up your workspace can make life a little simpler.
3. Ditch the Guilt
Feeling guilty about missing the school play? Feeding the kids fishfingers for the third time this week? Or maybe you’re feeling guilty about saying no, thanks to step one?
Forget it. In the grand scheme of things it really doesn’t matter. Guilt is exhausting and the negative feelings increase your stress hormones. In the words of Elsa, just let it go.
4.Sleep is Key
Sleep is essential to the upkeep of your health so from now on you need to prioritise your shuteye. Steps 1-3 should be helping with this by calming the mind but you also need to listen to your body & go to bed when you’re tired. Fresh sheets, a soak in the bath and swapping your devices for a good book should help you relax and switch off at bedtime.
5.Food is Fuel
Now that you’ve made a start on replenishing your sleep deficit it’s time to pay attention to what you’re fuelling your body with. If you put crappy fuel in to your car you’ll get crappy results, and your body is no different. Eat the best diet you can and your body will reward you with more energy & a clearer mind so you can be more efficient during the day.
I feel so much better since I introduced these 5 simple steps to self-care and I really hope it will inspire you to kickstart your wellbeing, too. How can you look after everyone else if you’re not looking after yourself?
What are your tips for de-stressing and getting a decent night sleep? I’d love to hear about them in the comments, or head over to my Facebook page for a chat.