How many of us have had a conversation similar to this?
Person A - ‘How have you been?’
Person B - ‘Busy!’
Life today can be very hectic. Days are filled with, what seem like, never ending demands and expectations. It can feel impossible to keep up with your work, family, social life, exercise and the list goes on. With all these competing demands for your time, it can feel hard to prioritise your mental health and well-being. Time for yourself often slips to the bottom of the list. Self-care can turn into something you can only do when you have time. It is important to take some time for yourself as this can help your concentration, motivation, mood, energy, ability to sleep and overall mental health.
In psychology, when discussing self-care, we speak to clients about scheduling in pleasant events. This may sound bizarre, but it can be a helpful and concrete strategy in setting aside time for yourself. I encourage people to schedule in one activity a day that makes them feel happy. This might be as small as buying yourself a new flavour of tea and allowing yourself 20 minutes to sit and enjoy it, or staying in the shower an extra 2 minutes. It may also be taking yourself out for a walk, or reaching out to a friend to go for dinner. It is important that when setting aside this time for yourself you allow yourself to be truly present, not distracted by that ‘to do’ list, so that you can get the full benefit of that activity you enjoy.
It may be hard to remember what exactly it is that you like to do, so I encourage people to write a list of everything you like to do, and everything you used to like to do, big or small. This way, when you’re setting aside time you don’t need to think of what you will do, you can pick something from your list! I also encourage people to try and challenge themselves to do something different each day for a week. This way you don’t get bored and are reminded of all the different things you like to do. Also, TV absolutely counts as a pleasant event!
As we begin this new year, and mentally plan all the things we need to do, perhaps it’s time to start scheduling in some ‘self-care’ time.
At Piece by Piece Therapies, we are passionate about all things mental health and psychology. We want to support people to feel healthy and confident. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact us or book in an appointment!