What all of these things have in common is that they're things that you can do for yourself. Taking care of yourself means doing the things you do for others, for yourself- and it's easier said than done. Making time for yourself, however little, is the best thing you can do to look after you and recharge your batteries. If you still struggle to put aside your concerns for others even just for a moment, like I do, then think of this: You can't pour from an empty cup. Whilst taking care of yourself is selfish (which is not a dirty word, by the way), it is also selfless in that it enables you to show up and care for the ones you love, in the best possible way.
- Take a second with each sip to savour the taste of your morning (or afternoon!) cup of tea or coffee. Think about what it actually tastes of - not just the caffeine you're getting from it!
- Look out of a window/across the room for 20 seconds, for every 20 minutes of screen time. Give your eyes a break, take in your surroundings, and reset yourself for another productive burst.
- Get 5 minutes of fresh air. Step outside your door, look up at the sky, look around you. Take a deep breath.
- Pay yourself a compliment. Tell yourself something you like about yourself, either in the mirror or by writing it down. It doesn't have to be something physical- it could be something you're proud of achieving or overcoming.
- Mute your phone notifications for 1 hour- even just for one app. If you know that you get sucked into the scroll dungeon of Instagram the most, then turn off notifications or even delete the app for as long as you can manage.
- Write a to-do list, then halve it. If you're feeling overwhelmed, write down everything you have on your plate. Then write a new list, but this time with only the things you know you can finish today- keep the other half for tomorrow.
- Do a happy dance. Stick on your favourite song and just jump/shake it out for the duration, either on your own or grab someone around you to join in.
- List 3 things that you're grateful for right now, and stick it next to where you spend most of your day. Don't think too hard- it can be as simple as 'being able to breathe in and out'.
- Take 5 minutes to write down anything and everything that is worrying you right now and getting in your way. Read it out loud, if you can, then tear it up and throw it in the bin- and with that action, let it all go.
- Make yourself a snack or a meal. Even if you're short on time, taking 2 minutes to cut up an apple will give you time to be alone with your thoughts, and you'll enjoy the effort you put into making something just for you.
And finally, regardless of if you do any or none of these things, thank yourself for anything you do to look after yourself. Even just by reading this, you've recognised you could be taking care of yourself more, and that in itself is something to be proud of.