Living a healthy lifestyle isn't solely about just exercising or eating a balanced diet. True wellness comes when a combination of healthy habits all feed into your overall lifestyle.
Self-care is one of the most important things we can focus on, especially as this can significantly impact all aspects of your day-to-day life.
Self-care habits can take some time and effort to work, but once you find an effective method to suit your lifestyle, they can become second nature in your normal routine.
Whether you have goals to improve your mental health, conquer some long-term ambitions, or just generally feel healthier; here are some self-care ideas and habits to help you develop and stick to your own self-care plan.
1. Exercise and its links to mental health
It's to no one's surprise that exercise is one of the easiest and most efficient self-care activities that you can add to your daily routine.
Although exercise can help you achieve certain weight or performance goals, we wanted to focus on the benefits this practice can have on your mental health [i].
Some sources suggest this can be linked to improved mental wellbeing and aiding emotional health, too, through how it can release cortisol (a stress fighter), feel-good hormones and enhance better sleep [i] [iv].
How much exercise should you do?
Well, different sources suggest different (yet similar) answers.
For instance, NHS England recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity for the average adult per week [ii], whereas this report from the Mayo Clinic suggests that the average adult should do 30 minutes per day [iii].
A good rule to try to abide by is to try to fit in some sort of exercise each and every day. If you’re not currently into fitness, aim to start with 5 minutes of exercise as this can be very easy to commit to mentally, even if this is a quick walk. Nine times out of ten, once the activity of physical self-care has started in the form of exercise, you are likely to extend this habit beyond the 5-minute period anyway.
It's a very clever way to break down mental barriers to stop those new self-care habits or tasks from appearing daunting.
If you are struggling to motivate yourself to commit to exercising daily, then the author James Clear outlined a great idea (that actually works) called 'Habit Stacking' [v]. The idea is to basically combine certain self-care habits and actions together to enable others.
For instance, let's say you struggle to motivate yourself to exercise, but you really love to listen to audiobooks. Perhaps you can combine the two together so you will only listen to your audiobooks whilst exercising or on your daily walk to get some fresh air.
All of a sudden, this well-being habit that you saw as boring can become one you now look forward to. It's also important to point out that this idea of 'Habit Stack' can work on any self-care ideas, including those that fall in the physical or emotional self-care categories.
Another tip from James Clear to help make this self-care habit stick is to try not to miss two consecutive days in a row. We all have periods during our lives that make certain habits impossible to achieve, but committing to yourself that you can't miss two consecutive days, can help to stop these well-being habits from completely falling out of your life.
2. Journaling and its positive energy
Mental self-care includes journaling, too, with this being another useful habit for you to add to your self-care plan.
This practice can be important in highlighting positives and focusing on the present moment. Dr Julie Smith's book 'Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?', suggested that this practice of positive affirmation can train your brain to react more positively to situations, as well as also potentially aiding mental health by focusing on positive situations in your daily life that could ordinarily go unmissed.
The book suggests that by focusing on positive thinking, you can train your brain to spot and appreciate positivity in your life more often.
Journaling can take the form of a physical self-care habit or a digital one, and it also doesn't need to be long;5 minutes a day can be all that is required.
If you are struggling to get this habit to stick, then try downloading a digital journaling app (there are plenty of different options out there), and enable notifications to remind you to journal once a day to achieve this habit in your mental self-care routine.
Using this method, combined with a commitment to journal for 1 minute per day (again using the same methodology we mentioned above to make this task easier to commit to), you can help make a journaling habit stick.
3. Getting a good night's sleep
We have mentioned above how sleep can be affected by exercise; however, there is plenty more we can do to improve overall sleep quality and length. You may be asking how sleep can be classed as one of our self-care ideas, especially as this is something we all inevitably do.
As sleep plays into a variety of aspects of our lives and how we feel physically, our mental health and supporting healthy brain function [vi], making sure we get good quality and a sufficient quantity of sleep is important. Therefore developing self-care habits around your sleep health could be very beneficial.
Try reducing blue light exposure (from phones, TVs and laptops) over an hour before you go to sleep.
Blue light exposure can suppress the release of melatonin in the body, which naturally makes us sleep [viii], so it's important to reduce our exposure to it before going to bed, so our body is naturally ready for sleep.
It’s also important to make sure you are getting the recommended amount of sleep per night (which depends on your age and can be found here).
If you would like to read a full blog post on the benefits of sleep and the best self-care practices to improve sleep quality, then click the link here.
4. Supporting daily wellness with Nourished
One of the best ways to implement self-care is to make sure your body is being supported with all the bespoke nutrients and vitamins it needs. At Nourished, we have the perfect solution to supporting a healthy diet and lifestyle with our super-nutrient gummies.
Whether you are looking for ways to improve energy levels, aid athletic performance, enhance your self-care routine or support symptoms from health conditions such as the menopause; then we have a custom solution for you.
At Nourished, we use innovative 3D food printers to create truly personalised nutrient gummies. Thanks to our intelligent algorithmic quiz, you are able to take our short online consultation and receive a bespoke recommendation of 7 scientifically-backed ingredients, all inside a single convenient gummy stack.
You can even create your own stack directly from our 'Lab'. With over 35 ingredients, 9 delicious flavours and 2 coatings to choose from, there are millions of potential stack combinations.
Our once-a-day gummies are freshly 3D-printed and delivered directly to your door. If you would like to learn more about why we 3D print out gummies, then you can read more on the link here. To learn more about what stack is suited to your lifestyle, self-care goals and body, then you can take the Nourished quiz now.
Additional self-care ideas to aid overall wellness
Ultimately, self-care ideas can come in all shapes and sizes. What may be great practices for some may not be for others, as these are determined by your goals, lifestyle and how much time you have. We feel like the above are some powerful ways to get you started, however, if you are looking for some more inspiration, here are some additional ideas:
5. Aim to drink the recommended 6-8 cups of water per day [vii]
6. Go for a walk before starting work each day
7. Follow your ideal skin/healthcare routine before bed
8. Learn a new language (perhaps using some of the methodology above where you aim for 5 mins per day)
9. Put some money away to save for a dream travel trip
10. Make a dent in your reading list
11. Spend time with friends and family each week
12. Have a digital or social media detox once per week
13. Try something new you have always wanted to try
Want to learn more about Nourished and how to practice self-care?
To find out more about the self-care practices, research and studies mentioned in this article then click the links listed below or visit the website research page here. You can also read another one of the Nourished blogs on the link here:
- [i] https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-health-benefits/
- [ii] https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-guidelines/physical-activity-guidelines-for-adults-aged-19-to-64/
- [iii] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/expert-answers/exercise/faq-20057916
- [iv] https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/physical-activity-and-your-mental-health/about-physical-activity/
- [v] https://jamesclear.com/habit-stacking
- [vi] https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/sleep/why-sleep-important
- [vii] https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/food-guidelines-and-food-labels/the-eatwell-guide/
- [viii] https://www.sleepfoundation.org/bedroom-environment/blue-light