Many of us lead busy lifestyles and it is easy to just keep going and forget to take time out for ourselves. It is important to have time to yourself and use this time to reflect on the day or just purely relax. Just taking 5 minutes out of the day to do this can help improve low mood and reduce any anxieties you may have.
We have listed a few ideas we have tried below;
Keep a journal
Keeping note of your mood and things that have happened during the day can help you reflect on your thoughts, feelings and actions. This can help you to notice trends that improve your mood, or those that may lower your mood. As well as this, you might even discover new things which you enjoy and find an interest in. This can help you to plan activities which you enjoy in the future but also talk about any negative experiences and how you dealt with them.
As well as reflecting on the past, it is good to look to the future and note down anything you are stressed about or your ‘To Do List’. For us we found this really helped with any deadline stresses as you can visually see what needs to be completed and a plan for tackling the obstacles ahead.
Take slow, deep breaths
We like to do this one cosy under a blanket, in a comfortable position like on your sofa or in bed! Take slow deep breaths in through your nose counting to 5, (You may find it useful to imagine your lungs are a balloon and you are filling up the balloon with air before releasing the balloon along with your troubles) and exhale through your mouth for 5 counts. Focus on your breathing and your counting and if your mind wanders slowly try to bring your concentration back to your breathing, but don’t fight with your thought. We try to practice this every morning or evening, to keep any anxieties or negative thoughts at bay.
Practice mindful meditation
Mindful meditation can come in many different forms and this one will be different for everyone! Some prefer simple breathing techniques, like the one above, others might take part in yoga and others use guided meditation apps. All of these are helpful, and it might be nice to try each of them, mixing them up every now and again.
Different yoga videos can be found on YouTube for you to try this at home, we also recommend a few apps available on your iPhone or Android for guided meditation – Insight Timer, Calm or Headspace.
Colour, write or read
In the technology focused world we live in, full of social media and instant messaging, it is good to take time out from this and put your phone/device in another room whilst you enjoy some colouring, writing or reading.
You can find colouring books for all ages – mindful ones, flowers and patterns (and even colour in swear words.) Grab your pencil case and just listen to the sound of your pencil brushing across the page as the picture comes to life with colour.
In point number 1, we explain how writing a journal might help you relax, we have recently purchased the Mrs Hinch Activity Journal – this is a great journal for relaxation! As well as this, getting your head stuck into a good reading book can be relaxing before bed or just of an evening. You don’t need to buy books; we love going to the library to read all different genre books and picking up two books at a time means if you aren’t getting into one you have a backup!
Have a warm bubble bath
Doing something for yourself is a massive part of self-help. You don’t have to spend £100 on the latest pair of trainers or handbag to ‘treat yourself’. Simply running yourself a warm bubble bath with your favourite scents and candles can give you that ‘me time’ you need. We love coming home from work and relaxing in the bath before getting your PJ’s on!