6 Self-care Habits for a Healthy Lifestyle
Advice from our counselling psychologist Adele Lottering.
The past year has been a rollercoaster ride for me, personally as and in my professional capacity. I would like to share my journey and highlight the importance of self-reflection and self-care. This is something that we were all confronted with during the lockdown period.
We were all challenged with a sense of collective grief, mourning the loss of normality. Other mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, sleeping problems, burnout and stress are now more common than ever.
I have seen a rise in patients exposed to trauma and death, unemployment, financial constraints, and other psychosocial stressors. The lapse in one of our most basic needs – the need for social connections – caused feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
We have seen a rise in relational problems and higher divorce rates. Unmanaged stress and psychological problems have a direct effect on our immune systems and physical health, leaving us vulnerable to other physical and health-related conditions.
The pandemic contributed to a change in our structure and routine, and the fear. The uncertainty and unpredictable nature of this pandemic are also affecting peoples’ health.
People are so focused on their physical symptoms and the possibility of contracting Covid-19 that they ignore and neglect their emotional and psychological wellbeing. I strongly believe that when we take care of our emotional needs and equip ourselves with better self-care skills, we indirectly take care of those around us.
Why is self reflection important?
In this time of “forced stillness” I made time for self-reflection. Self-reflection was something that most of us suppressed with a busy and stressful lifestyle. During lockdown we were forced to share our space with our loved ones and this either contributed to relational growth or separation in our relationships.
Self-reflection enables us to analyse, process, reflect and evaluate our progress in life. It helps us to apply previous experiences in future. Self-reflection taught me to compare myself less with others, to show more love and care to myself, and to accept my imperfections and insecurities. It is in self-reflection time that we should realise that we are good enough and that we are doing enough.
Ask yourself these self-reflection questions:
- What did you learn from yourself?
- Did you learn from your partner and loved ones?
- What concerns and issues from the past resurfaced during the lockdown period?
- Which aspects of your life still need to be addressed and require change?
- What do you still want to achieve in future?
- What are you most proud of and what have you accomplished in this time?
Self-reflection time should be prioritised and not neglected.
A few valuable tips I often give my patients:
- Take regular breaks from social media and technology and start putting your thoughts into perspective.
- It is important – now more than ever – to follow a more active, healthy, and balanced lifestyle.
- Avoid excessive alcohol and substance abuse.
- Acquire more practical and healthier coping mechanisms for stress, like progressive muscle and breathing exercises, as well as physical exercise.
- Spend more time in nature.
- Make time for friends and family, hobbies and recreational activities, and spiritual reflection.
What does this mean for you?
Self-reflection and self-care make us more resilient in a time such as this. In this time I realised that a fundamental shift in our mindset is necessary. Small things we used to worry about pre-pandemic are insignificant now. The importance of self-reflection and self-care is something we care about.
Challenges and obstacles are actual signs of accomplishments, and growth becomes evident when we push beyond the level of discomfort. It is time to realise how resourceful and resilient we are. Value the important things in your life, focus on that which you have control over and remember to make time for more self-reflection and self-care.
At Thrivosity we believe in taking care of your body and mind. Let us know how you are taking care of yours.