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Self-care simply means taking care of yourself.  Or as we often phrase it at your counselling service ‘being kind to yourself’.

Life can get very busy and a lot of the time it is hard to find the time to focus on yourself and to make yourself a priority.  Domestic chores, social/work events, hectic schedules and financial pressures can all take over.  In addition to this people tend to be a lot better at being there for others and putting others before themselves.

Here is a list of ten suggestions that can help you to improve your self care –

1. Make some time in your week for ‘me time’.  Examples of this include reading, watching your favourite program, listening to music or going for a walk.  Whatever you choose is personal to you. But make it happen.

2. Ensure that you have a balanced diet.  This means eating everything in moderation and eating regularly.  It also means not over indulging in things like alcohol.

3. Make sure you try and get enough sleep every night and that you unwind before going to bed. The more your sleep pattern is regular , the better you will feel.

4. Exercise is an important part of self care. This can involve things like yoga / Pilates or swimming.  Or for some people it can mean going for a run or down to the gym.  You are more likely to feel grounded, calmer and de stressed if you exercise. As long as it isn’t done to excess.

5.  Other ways of taking care of yourself can include the wide range of holistic therapies. Things like massage, acupuncture and reflexology can also play an important part in the calming and stilling of the mind, as well as the body.

6. Another key aspect of self-care is not taking on too much.  People can often say yes to everything and then feel very stressed.  If you can find a way to choose what you would like to do and say no to things, then you will feel a lot less overwhelmed.

7. Talking is also a very important part of self-care.  If you ensure that you are talking to friends and family and not keeping everything bottled, then you will feel less alone and isolated.

8. Writing in a diary / journal can also be a positive outlet- allowing you to process and reflect on your feelings.  This is an excellent way to take time out for yourself and to look at what is happening in your life.

9. Writing lists of the things that need doing can also really help.  This way you can look at what you have to do and recognise that it doesn’t all need doing right away. This way you will feel less overwhelmed and can take things one step at a time.

10. If you still feel that things are getting on top of you and that everything feels too much.  Then don’t be afraid to try some counselling.  It can really help at very stressful times in your life. It is also a very valuable part of taking care of yourself