Your mental health is more important than academic or professional success, but sometimes it feels like you're judged on the latter. If you prioritise taking care of your inner self - your thoughts and feelings - you won't regret it. Life becomes easier that way.
Here are some tips to help you look after yourself and your own wellbeing.
1. Take time out for fun physical exercise, blissful relaxation and seeing people who lift you up.
2. Use technology mindfully - do more of what makes you smile and less of what makes you feel deflated or self-critical. It's good to discern because you'll feel better when you make the right choices. Don't feel bad about unfollowing!
3. Enjoy a good bedtime routine to enhance sleep - turn off screens one hour before and allow enough hours for 8 hours of sleep. Maybe add some pampering - my favourite of the moment is Molton Brown's Rose Body Oil after a bath, or a Clarin's toner before bed. They smell so fresh and feel like such a treat.
4. Try an app like Breathe, Calm or Insight Timer and use it regularly to give your mind a break from constant stimulation and to increase awareness of your own habitual thought patterns. I like to add in breaks during the day, for example, if you have to wait a few minutes for someone or something, just sit and breathe rather than reach for your phone or squeeze in another task. Humans were not designed for this modern busyness.
5. Absorb yourself in an activity - play an instrument, sing in the shower or the car, dance around the kitchen (we've all done it) do some art, walk though the woods and get some fresh air, knit, cook or bake, stroke a cat, cuddle, listen to music with 100% of your attention.
How do you know when your own stress levels are spiralling? Perhaps you become a more impatient driver, or you get irritated by other people more easily. Maybe you turn in, go silent, stop talking to your friends and family. If that's the case, give yourself a dose of what makes you feel good. Laughter is a great mood-lifter, so make yourself watch a clip of something really funny. James Cordern's carpool always makes me laugh and smile.
Or maybe you're feeling low or depressed. Your energy is sluggish and you're lacking motivation. Try a meditation (see the apps above), or a mantra, for example repeating "the storm will pass" whenever a negative thought pops up in your mind's window. Go outside and get walking in the woods or to the top of a hill and open your eyes to the beauty of simple things. If it carries on for more than a couple of weeks, it is time to seek help.
Be your own best friend and take care of your wellbeing. You’re worth it!
Claygate Yoga Clinic offers consultations and 6 week programmes in Sleep, Mental Health and Wellness, Women's Health Fresh Start, and Teen Yoga Therapy. Nicky offers a FREE Discovery Call so that you can find out more.